You’ve probably heard the advice to not quit your day job while you’re pursuing your dream. In reality, that’s not bad advice, though it is often said to discourage you from trying. Building your business on the side while working full-time ensures you can pay the bills while still pursuing your dream. Although this can be hard to do, it’s far from impossible when you know how to go about it and avoid fatal mistakes. Here are a few tips on how to start a side business while keeping a full time job.
Make a Commitment
Create a list of all of your commitments, both in terms of time and money. Now, identify which expenses you can cut, since this gives you more money to invest in the business. Identify which time commitments you can cut so that you have more time to work on your business. If you’re not willing to make sacrifices like these, you’ll have to just stick with your day job.
Create a Business Plan
You obviously have to have an idea. You need to have a plan for making, marketing and distributing your product. You must know your competitive advantage, whether that’s a novel product, a better value proposition, lower cost or higher quality. You should end up with a general business plan outlining how you’ll make and deliver the product, process orders and serve customers.
But that’s not all. You also need a timeline and goals. You should have a roadmap to your launch date for the product or service covering details from financing your inventory purchase to getting the website and online advertising going. Be careful to set realistic goals. It is better to go slow and succeed than have unrealistic or immeasurable goals and fail.
Get objective feedback. Run product tests in small groups consisting of people who don’t know you, so that you can modify the design before you’ve sunk money into your first thousand units. Talk to others working in the industry to determine if your prices, supplier quotes and sales estimates are reasonable. It’d be better to learn and make changes now than build something that’s unmarketable. After a few rounds, you should have a workable product or solid business model.
While a job may help you pay the bills while testing your business plan or growing your business, cash constraints may prevent you from being able to invest more money in your business to expand it. The good news is that regular income can be an asset when trying to secure financing. Services like LoanPigUSA, for instance, can connect you with a variety of payday lenders. Your credit is irrelevant, because the debt is secured by your paycheck. If that sounds like a good option, you can sign up for a free trial for a payday or short term loan.
Hit Critical Mass Before You Quit
Critical mass is the point when the income from the business matches your cost of living, though the ideal is to meet or exceed your current income. Don’t make the mistake of quitting your day job when your side business is earning “side income”. First, the small business may not be able to generate a full-time income. Second, you lose the ability to borrow based on your day job’s income, and you certainly lose the ability to self-fund. Wait until the business is able to support you before you quit the job to work on the business full-time.
Starting a side business while working is challenging, but it is the safest and surest approach. If you’re successful, you’ll be able to quit your day job and transition smoothly into your new role as an entrepreneur.