Thursday, September 8, 2016

How to cope when you’re on double duty: Starting a business while working full time

When you decide to start a business, you usually aren’t sitting in the lap of luxury with unlimited free time, resources, and countless windows of opportunity. Instead, most new business owners are confronted with their business ideas amidst the stereotypical “9 to 5”.  Further, some start-up ideas do not materialize beyond the conception phase due to the intimidating challenge of juggling a new business while working full time. Despite this disposition, entrepreneurs have been and continue to nurture successful businesses in this way. So, what’s the big secret? The truth is really no secret at all. Managing a start-up while working a full time job does not have to make you a victim of entrepreneurial defeat. Our small guide below is designed to help you thrive and succeed at this balancing act.

Time Management

When you dedicate an average of eight hours per day to a full time job, it is inevitable that time is going to be one of your greatest competitors for success. Once you recognize and accept this fact, you will be well on your way. Part of effective time management is planning. Assess your current schedule and determine how much of your time is “wasted”.  For example, if you watch three hours of television after work, consider at least two out of those three hours disposable. Further, evaluate how you spend your weekends. The weekends consist of two full “non-work” days, how do you use them? 

Once you have mapped out your current weekly schedule, create a new one inserting small-business/start-up time in all your disposable time slots. Creating a schedule and planning how you will use your time will help you track your progress and give you a big picture on how you are allocating your time in favour of growing a lucrative business. You can also incorporate lists to ensure that each day you are completing a specific task. If you are fortunate enough to work at a company that has liberal policies on working other jobs simultaneously, take advantage of that time without jeopardizing your present employment. Alternatively, if your job opposes integration of this kind, capitalize on your lunch breaks. This does not mean that you should skip lunch however, but take time to eat and time to work. If you manage your time correctly you will still be able to do the more relaxing activities you enjoy.

Licensing and Registration

Obtain all the necessary license and registration at the start of your business. It is particularly important to engage in this process at the beginning stages of your start-up because in some jurisdictions it can be time-consuming. Additionally, you may need sufficient time to obtain necessary documents and tackle unforeseeable circumstances that can or may hinder your project. The last thing you need during this process is a setback.  That is not to say they will not happen, but you have a great chance of minimizing them by acting sooner rather than later.

Money Management

Most start-ups and small businesses are individually funded (out-of-pocket). Make a budget and monitor the distribution of funds. Determine what percentage, if any, of your full-time salary can be redirected into your business.  Further, ensure that your business expenses do not compromise your personal expenses. If you are really pressed for funding you may have to make smart but effective lifestyle changes. For example, bring a lunch and limit the amount of coffee purchases you make in a day or week. Go to the movies once a month and substitute your frequent social outings for a night in. Reassign those funds to your business. These changes are not about ridding your life of its social pride, but rather, cutting out what it beyond necessary objectively.

Don’t think too big, too quickly

Starting a business can be exciting, but do not allow that excitement to cloud your judgment.  Take your time and understand your business. Do not waste time worrying about office space and spending frivolously on products and services that are not fundamental to your start-up. Take meetings at coffee shops if you have to. Schedule phone and Skype calls where necessary. If you become too caught up in materializing your ideal business at the beginning of the process, you run the risk of losing money and, worse, losing your business.

Finally, enjoy the process. It is easy to get caught up in what is sometimes a dense world of business. Do not lose sight of yourself and your vision. Take regular breaks just like any other job and laugh a little. You will make mistakes, but do not fret on them for too long. Cry if you have to and get back in position remembering that failure is a natural progression of success.