5 Ways to Start a Company Without Quitting Your Day Job
Stability, Benefits and Support
If you share the American dream of running your own business some day, chances are you have given some thought to the challenges that await you. Since most of us are not independently wealthy or have a trust fund to fall back on—and knowing that it takes time to get a business off the ground and into profit mode—we need to have a reliable income stream. Thousands of people every year start their own business while continuing to work a full-time job. A regular paycheck and guaranteed benefits such as health care not only provide financial stability, but also give you enough peace of mind to devote positive energy toward your entrepreneurial goals.
Boundaries and Time Management
Very few companies prohibit their employees from having a business on the side, provided you will not be a direct competitor. So long as you continue to work just as hard in your full-time position, there is no reason not to make the first move in what may prove to be your best-ever business decision—to become your own boss. Managing the time you devote to that start-up is crucial, especially if you have other commitments to look after, such as raising a family. Some companies expect you to tell them when you begin to run a side business, while others make no such demand on their workers. Your employee handbook is usually a good place to find any such restrictions or requirements.
Here are some excellent time-management tips:
· Plan ahead to devote a specific number of hours every week to your new venture, but be realistic about the amount of time you have to spare.
· If possible, set aside the same time period every week—such as, every M–W–F evening and all day Saturday.
· Make sure your family and friends know your “start-up time” is non-negotiable—that is, they should respect your need to stay focused on building your business without distraction.
· If you have a business partner, try to spend as much time together as possible—as two minds focused on the same solution is always better than one.
Pour Your Profits Back Into the Business
Since you are keeping your full-time job, and one presumes it has been enough to provide some level of financial stability, it is important to plow whatever profit you gain from your new venture back into the business. Whether those funds go toward additional advertising and marketing material, new equipment, more efficient software, or even business trips to attend trade shows and meet with potential clients, the money you make as a budding entrepreneur should remain separate from your full-time wages. There are tax advantages to running your own business—for example, you can directly offset earnings against most expenses—so having access to a good accounting system or a smart bookkeeper makes perfect business sense.
When Is It Time to Leave?
Generally speaking, the primary reason people start a part-time business is that they hope it will grow into something permanent and self-sustaining. While it makes sense to keep your full-time job as long as possible, there will likely be a time when your new business requires more attention than you can give by working at it just a few hours a week. Some companies may allow you to scale back your hours for an equivalent reduction in pay—work 20 hours a week instead of 40 for half the salary—so it may make sense to broach this subject with your boss, especially if he or she already knows you are running your own .
The time to make this move is when your start-up is generating around half your average annual income. From that point forward, the extra time you are able to devote to this new business should result in a significant boost in revenue. Anywhere from six to twelve months later, once you are making the same money you earned as a full-time employee, it will likely be time to cut the umbilical cord once and for all. Bid your old job a cordial farewell and put 100 percent of your time and effort into your own business. You will have earned it!