There are few challenges in the business arena more difficult than managing your small business. However, completing that task alone is a relative breeze compared to doing so while simultaneously working a full-time job. It might seem crazy that someone would actually attempt to handle both responsibilities, but this situation is actually quite common.
Carol Humphreys, director of Muskingum County Business, told the Zanesville Times Recorder that roughly two-thirds of all small business owners work second jobs during their companies’ early days. Of course, the primary reason for this added work is that entrepreneurs need to supplement their personal incomes until their enterprises become financially solvent. However, this lifestyle isn’t for the faint of heart.
“They only have so many hours in the day to get things rolling. It’s pretty strenuous on their energy just to keep everything under control,” Humphreys said.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the responsibilities of your regular job and operating a business,but managing both tasks is what you must do to keep yourself from falling into deep debt. Here are a few tips that can help you balance your roles as an employee and a small business owner.
Separate the two
With so few hours in the day, it can be tempting to work on your small business while at yourregular job. For instance, you might not see the harm in calling a vendor when you have a spare moment or two, but your employer may take issue with that. Your supervisor would probably be unhappy if you start shirking work responsibilities to tend to your side project. The problem would be exacerbated if you used the company’s resources to get your organization off the ground.
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CareerBuilder notes that you shouldn’t jeopardize your full-time job to bolster your own enterprise. Simply, you need to set clear boundaries so that the two never overlap. The news source recommends setting strict hours for your small business and adhering to them as much as possible.
Additionally, you should ensure that you can handle the workload without stretching yourself too thin. If your performance suffers because you have too much on your plate, you’ll likely lose yourjob. While it may seem great to have additional time to focus on your business, you don’t want to lose a steady paycheck until you can replace that income.
The situation can be rough when you go it alone. There may be certain matters that you must tend to during traditional business hours, which is when you’ll likely be at your regular job. You have three options in this scenario: risk the ire of your employer, miss an opportunity or find assistance.
According to the National Federation of Independent Business, having help is crucial to ensuring the success of your small business while you’re still working full-time. You can either hire an employee or find a partner who can tend to important matters when you’re unavailable. If you choose the latter option, search for an entrepreneur who has experience with opening new businesses.
Hiring an employee may actually the better long-term solution because you’ll already have the beginnings of a great staff. Search for applicants who are strong self-starters and would make great leaders once you bring in more workers.
When you’re fully employed, there isn’t much time to start marketing your business. As a result, it can be difficult to generate leads and begin turning a profit. Graham Fisher, founder and director of Inspiring Imagery, used his time wisely by networking as much as possible.
“Joining your local Chamber of Commerce is always a good way to get your name out there and start finding out about local networking events that are available to you,” Fisher told The Guardian.
Join as many groups and events as you can, especially if you’re operating in a small market. For instance, you can target customers in specific towns by participating in local celebrations and events. Alternatively, you could try cause-marketing by sponsoring a local charity to endear yourself to the community.
Don’t use your full-time job to find clients, particularly if your startup is in the same industry as your current employer. You shouldn’t poach customers by exploiting personal relationships with your contacts. Additionally, this may be illegal if you signed a non-compete clause with youremployer. However, if you’re moving into a new sector, you can mention that you would appreciate the support of your former clients.
The Houston Chronicle recommends testing your business by starting on a limited basis. Work nights and weekends to see if there’s a demand for your products or services before fully committing to the project. For a retail outlet, you can put your company through a trial by bringing a stand to a local marketplace.
Testing the waters is important because it’ll show you if your small business can survive in the long term. While performing the due diligence and market research is necessary, hands-on experience will help give you a clearer picture of your company’s full potential.
This method also helps you decide if can manage a full-time job while owning a small business. You’ll learn how to manage your time so you’ll be prepared for future challenges to avoid potential bumps in the road as your career as an entrepreneur progresses.
Make the transition
Hopefully, your business will allow you to be self-employed sooner rather than later, meaning that you’ll have to transition out of your job. That said, there probably won’t be a clear indication when you should make the change. John Jantsch, author of “Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide,” believes that every entrepreneur should look for specific signs.
“If you’ve just landed your first big opportunity, that could be an effective milestone too,” Jantsch told The Wall Street Journal.
Carefully monitor your progress to gauge when would be the correct time to leave your job and focus on your small business.
Being a small business owner is difficult, especially when you’re simultaneously working a full-time job. How did you balance the two?