Starting A Business With A Full Time Job
Why juggling two jobs can give your business the perfect start.
After a demanding day at work, for some of you, crunching numbers and pushing pens, the last thing anyone wants to do is go home and do it all again, so it is understandable that many prospective entrepreneurs think twice about starting a business with a full time job.
In fact, there are many advantages to burning the candles at both ends – here are the top 10:
If you are starting a business with a full time job, you will retain a guaranteed income – and reduce the risks associated with starting a business with a full time job.
For Jason Quey, an entrepreneur who launched his first footwear and clothing business at age 22. Quey has been working as a freelance marketer, keeping his side business.
Setting up a business is a time when you are testing your emotional strength, faith and patient.
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A day job also gives you extra time to set up your project. Rather than rushing your vision into the public domain, you can make sure you have clients lined up, suppliers and partners in place, and a top-notch website.
Tristram Mayhew, who started building Go Ape while working for General Electric, says:
“In our case, we came up with the idea in August 2002 and didn’t leave our jobs until 12th January. We found that people often don’t come back to you for two or three weeks; for us, the insurance took two or three months. So you can’t rush it through in a matter of a few weeks.”
Tristram adds that, by keeping cash coming in from your existing job, “you may not have to resort to an investor or take loans, or at least minimise that.
“It’s incredibly important to maximise your equity shareholding. When you start out, it’s the most expensive time to sell equity because everyone investing will say it’s very risky, so the equity is almost valueless.
“You might find you give away half your business for something which seems a lot of money at the time – £100k, £50k, £20k – but if it does succeed, you may come to regret it.” When faced with the risk of losing control of your business, those few weeks of all-hours torture might suddenly seem worthwhile.
Anyone starting out in business at some point, question whether they have the desire to see their vision through. However, once you have spent a few weeks balancing two jobs, you will know for sure whether you are sufficiently committed.
Tristram an entrepreneur says such a gruelling schedule “will test your passion for your business idea. Most people’s experience of starting their own business is working all hours. If you don’t like the idea of starting a business with a full time job, maybe it’s not the thing for you.”
If you’re setting up a business on your own, things can get very lonely if you’re working by yourself all day.
Hannah McNamara says that one of the benefits she gained from working in a chair shop was “sanity”, adding that “starting a business with a full time job from scratch can be very lonely, so having people around you can help you stay focused, and can even give you new ideas.”
In most cases, your employment contract will forbid you from poaching your existing firm’s clients and customers straightaway. However, you may be able to use the contacts later.
Jacob advises any prospective entrepreneur to “make sure that you are using all of your existing work contacts effectively. Many people’s first customers are the ones they worked with in their old job.”
Rather than viewing your existing job as a distraction from your new venture, you can use your salaried role to improve skills which will help you in your start-up.
According to Grace, “before working in a shop, I didn’t have much experience of selling directly. In the shop, I had to listen to people selling and come up with a solution, rather than coming up with the hard sell. It really helped my listening skills.”
As an entrepreneur, good time management is key, and combining a full-time job with your new venture is a great way to learn true time management skills, in a real-life environment. If you can balance the demands of the two businesses, and switch between salaried employee and self-employed decision-maker, you should be well-equipped to handle life as an entrepreneur.
Grace says that when she was working two jobs, “I found the time I spent on my business was much focused time. If you have only got a few hours a day, you make sure those hours matter, and you are actually doing something productive.”
When you are balancing two jobs, you have to think outside the box to maximise time and money. This can only lead to creative solutions, as Grace says:
“I put sales clothing design player on the bus to the chair shop, rather than reading a novel or listening to music. I practised it at the chair shop, and was able to employ the things I learned in my business.”
As you have the safety net of the salaried job, you will know you are starting the business because you want to, not because you have to.
Andrew says: “It’s important psychologically to be making a positive choice to start your own business. I was about to start a new job in London and it was important for me to be able to say ‘no I don’t want that, I want to start my own business’.”