If you want to start your own business, but are not ready to quit your day job just yet, you can join an emerging group of fledgling entrepreneurs: the 5-9ers.
The 5-9ers are people who are ready to embrace their entrepreneurial calling, but aren’t quite ready to quit their day jobs and leave the nest. They work before work, after work and on weekends to make their dreams come true.
The life of a 5-9er is not easy, but it is definitely doable. Here are five tips for would-be entrepreneurs to juggle a full-time job and part-time entrepreneurship.
1. Find the best time (and place) to work.
Typically, you are not allowed to work on your business during company hours (or using company resources). This means you need to create a strategy for the best way to use your time (think, lunch breaks, etc.).
Rather than forcing yourself into a schedule, take time to experiment with the hours that work best for you. For instance, you might find you are most creative early in the morning or late at night. In some cases, you will dedicate your energy to your day job during the week. This would leave your weekends free to create a part-time business. Whatever you decide, ensure that you’re working the best (and most productive) hours for you.
2. Set daily goals.
Set small, measurable goals. This is a great way to keep your business goals and progress in perspective. Since you cannot dedicate all of your time to it, at this point, small goals will help you focus on important tasks.
Daily goals also have the added benefit of boosting your morale. When you feel like you are accomplishing something, it is easier to do it day after day. You will find that you will begin to crave that accomplishment, even after a tough day at work.
3. Disconnect from your 9-5.
Arriving home and immediately getting to work in your home office, for many people, is a great way to run your business into the ground.
Instead of trying to change gears instantly, give yourself time to disconnect from your day. Disconnecting has several benefits.
First, it allows you to take some time for yourself. This “me” time is essential for concentration, productivity, happiness and your overall health and wellness. Turn off your phone or any other electronic distractions. You can use this time for personal growth or to connect with your family, exercise or meet with friends.
The second benefit of disconnecting is being able to your startup with a fresh pair of eyes. Leaving the day’s problems behind allows you to give your side business the attention it deserves. Regardless of what you do, or when you work, you owe it to yourself and your new venture to ensure you schedule some time for yourself.
4. Respect your employment contract.
Even though you are working on starting a business, remember to honor your employment contract. This means committing to your job while they are still paying you.
Now, with the rise of online business, there is certainly a lot of money you can make using your companys’ Internet. Indeed, many successful SEO companies started this way. But this is a bad idea. You’ll run the risk of getting fired.
You should continue to be a great employee, even when you’re starting a side business. This means you should show up on time, leave on time and not use your employer’s time (or computer) to work on your own venture.
If you’re working on a venture that coincides with the skills you use at your day job, you must ensure you are contractually able to do so. Some firms will include non-compete clauses in their employment contracts. This means that if you are using the services you give to the company for your own business, you might be in trouble.
Another potential issue lies in intellectual property. Some employment contracts might allow your employer to claim ownership of your startup because you are their employee. If this is the case, review your employment contract, speak to your HR manager and legal department to gather more information. When you do this, you will ensure that your employer remains your ally and does not become your enemy.
5. Make an escape plan.
Burning the candle at both ends does not work long-term. Eventually, you’ll want to possibly scale your business someday (or even take it full-time).
When you’re ready to quit your day job, it is often the hardest part of starting a business because it requires a leap of faith. But to make it to this point, you need a plan.
To get started, create a timeline of financial and business goals so you can safely jump ship. Assess and reassess your plan regularly. Then, when you reach your targets, get ready to resign.
Working full-time and running a business is undeniably difficult, but you can do it with both courage and patience. Use these tips and you will find yourself walking boldly down the path of entrepreneurship in no time.
This article has been edited and condensed.