Are you thinking about starting your own business, but not quite ready to give up that steady paycheck? You don't have to. It's easier than it's ever been to start a business while still keeping your full-time job. Here are seven tips for success.
- Start small to test the waters. Try starting part-time on a small scale. It's more realistic than launching a full-time business, and will also give you a chance to make sure you really like being your own boss before you tell your current boss "So long."
- Enlist a partner. Consider pairing up with someone else to share the work. You'll get twice as much done in the same amount of time. Look for a business partner whose skills and experience complement your own. Make sure to draw up a partnership agreement before you start.
- Choose the right kind of business. Some businesses lend themselves better to part-time operation than others. You’ll boost your chances of success if you select a concept that works with your free hours. For instance, you really can't start a part-time retail store, because the store would need to be open during traditional retail hours. However, you can start an e-commerce business while still keeping your day job. Just build a website to do the selling for you, and handle the fulfillment and shipping part after-hours and on weekends.
- Tap into technology. Mobile technology makes it easy to communicate with prospects and customers anytime, anywhere. You can respond to customers' emails or phone calls during your breaks or on your lunch hour, and use mobile apps to create and send invoices and do your business banking. (Just make sure you don’t work on your business during work hours.)
- Get your loved ones’ support. Starting a business while holding down a job will take up pretty much every spare minute of your time, so it's important to get your family on board before you take the plunge. Talk to your significant other and your children, if you have them, to make sure they understand how much time will be required. Who knows: You might even be able to enlist them to help in the business.
- Be careful not to violate any non-compete agreements. Depending on your job, you may have signed a non-compete agreement with your employer when you were hired. This can prohibit you from starting a competitive business within a certain geographic area, soliciting clients of your employer, or using methods or concepts developed while you worked for them to start a business. Violating a non-compete agreement can put you in legal hot water.
- Manage your money wisely. Put your business earnings back into the business. Cut your personal expenses to the bone and squirrel away as much of your salary as you can. As the business grows, you’ll reach a point where it’s almost impossible to balance the business with your job. If you’ve put aside enough money, that’s the moment you’ll be able to quit your job and become a full-time entrepreneur.