Let’s talk about why it’s sometimes favorable to keep your full time job and start your business on the side because It’s not right for everyone to up and leave their full-time job to chase after an idea that may or may not work. Also, I want to go into some of the potential downside of growing your business.
What is one of the biggest rules that people in the investment world talk about?
Diversifying your portfolio, right? So basically you split your investments amongst different stocks or different companies or different mutual funds or ETF’s, whatever you’re investing in. So that if one investment goes bad or a company goes bankrupt or their stock falls for some reason, your money is not effected as much because that one disruption is only a small part of your investments.
So let’s relate that to where you might be right now. You may have an 8-5 or 9-5 job right now. You’re comfortable. You don’t have to think too much about your next pay check. You go to work for someone else, you get your check and that is your only source of income. You pay your expenses and you spend time with your family and friends.
Everything sounds perfect.
But what happens if that company goes out of business tomorrow? What changes in your life? What happens to you if the company you work for decides to make job cuts in order to cut expenses for themselves? Where would your next paycheck come from?
If you get fired tomorrow and you have no clue of how you will get income, then you have essentially invested all of your eggs into one basket. You have not diversified your portfolio of investments.
So let’s go ahead and jump right in to what I mentioned we would get into, and that is, why it can be favorable to start a business on the side as opposed to quitting your job in order to go 100% into being an entrepreneur.
1) Steady income. This can be very important for helping you to fund the beginning of your side hustle. It can allow you to not take on investors too early on in your startup which is always a good thing.
2) Health insurance for you and your family. Especially important in the beginning stages of your business when you likely don’t have a lot of revenue coming in and you are still trying to build your customer base.
3) If your business does not take off the way that you wanted it to, you have that safety blanket there. You are not forced into a situation of “this has to work or I’ll be out on the streets”. Because desperation is not a place where you want to sell to your audience from. Now, this is not to say that you should run your business and expect it to fail. However, with a large percentage of small businesses that go out of business within the first few years of existence; it doesn’t hurt to keep your full-time job until you feel most comfortable leaving. It gives you time to take a little time away from the side hustle and just go re-evaluate your content, your target audience, your delivery to that audience (aka your copywriting, your emails, your sales pitch). It even gives you time to re-evaluate yourself. Are you starting from a place that has limiting beliefs that may be subconsciously holding you back? If you don’t take the time to see if they are there, then you run the risk of hurting your business before you even get started.
4) Having a full-time job and starting a business on the side can be beneficial from a perspective of, you can take your time with the content. This is not to say go slow by any means, but you don’t have to rush content. Especially if you’re in an area of content delivery such as a blog, podcast, author, online course creator, etc. You have time to write material, let it sit for a couple days and maybe weeks, and then go back and read back through it to make sure it looks as you want it. It’s a way of going back to your material with fresh eyes sometime after you have written it.
Now, if you end up getting serious about starting a business on the side, realize that yes, it will add to your current work load. You will have more things that need to be done not only to maintain your full-time job, but now to build your business. You have to be good with time management.
One thing that I originally thought that I wouldn’t struggle with is this very fact because I am such a logical thinker and planner, that I just knew that I could separate my mind to focus on one job at a time without practice. Oh, how wrong I was. Initially when I started a new project, I would plan something along the lines of "when I’m at work I’ll just do my 9-5 work and when I get home, I’ll work on the side business." But that wasn’t what happened. What I found was that, my mind was thinking of new ideas and strategies for the side business even when I was at my 9-5 job so I was getting distracted from being at my full productivity level at work. And that is something that you definitely don’t want because that can eventually effect your money if you start slacking at your 9-5. What I had to make sure that I do is set daily and weekly goals. So I meet with my supervisor every week to go over progress and such so at the beginning of every week I plan out what it is that I want to accomplish that week to show my supervisor at the end of the week. Then I go a step further and break that goal down into what I need to accomplish each day to make that happen.
Sometimes when I am really struck with inspiration, I’ll type up ideas for my side projects on a lunch break or use that lunch break to work on my website or copywriting. But it really comes down to using your time effectively and making sure that when you are doing the tasks of your 9-5, you are mentally present and focused and when you work on your side business, you have to also be mentally present and focused. If you are trying to do one, but focused on the other, then your work quality will reflect that.
I was listening to Patrick McGinnis speak, who is the author of the book 10% entrepreneur: Live your startup dream without leaving your day job, which was released in April 2016, and he was approaching this topic from an investors standpoint. What he was basically saying is that you can take 10% of your income and invest that into small up and coming businesses that you find, kind of like a micro-lending type of situation. Where you provide a small amount of funding and in exchange they would give you some portion of equity. You could do something like that for multiple companies depending on your financial situation of course, but that would be a way to build a side hustle of potential passive income streams. That is just another idea that I wanted to throw out there because it sounded interesting and people are already out there doing it even though it is not something that I am particularly doing.
If you know me, then you know that I am primarily investing in myself and my own creative ideas and ventures, but at least I am still diversifying my investment amongst various projects. But whatever you decide to do, it will take research into whatever your investment will be. Don’t just blindly throw money at something without truly knowing how something works or what you’re getting yourself into.
So I have kind of already touched on some of the downside that can come with starting a business on the side as far as making sure you don’t blur the lines between your new venture and your full time job or even your family. You don’t want to take too much time away from say your spouse because you are too focused on the business because that will have a negative impact on your personal relationship. And vice versa, you don’t want to put too much focus into your personal relationships and hurt your side business. Balance is key and setting a schedule is recommended.
So another downside of starting a business on the side is that you will likely begin to get more email from customers, followers, listeners, whatever. As you start to grow in popularity with your audience, they will likely start to message you more and more. This is one of those good problems to have because it shows that they know that you’re there for them, that they feel comfortable with you, all sort of things. But if you spend too much of your time answering every single email, then it could get overwhelming and take you away from doing the value adding activities for your business. In the beginning stages of your side business, you will likely be getting less email from your audience and as a result, it could be beneficial to answer every email directly and start making that connection between your audience and your brand. But as you grow and you have tens of thousands or millions of followers, something as simple as email can get overwhelming. In those cases, I would recommend either getting a virtual assistant to help you go through emails and only respond to the ones that need responding; alternatively, I would recommend setting up a frequently asked questions page on your site or even a top 10 questions list. This could filter out a lot of the questions that you get and have them answered right on your website.
Another downside is that as you grow your side business and start bringing in new followers and customers from your audience, you open yourself up to public criticism. Now some people might not feel comfortable with this because they are not used to being in the spotlight, but if you really intend to grow, then you need brand recognition and the best way to do that is to put yourself and the brand out there. Some people are actually scared internally of this and have a subconscious limiting belief associated with something like this and it leads them to get in their own way and either talk themselves out of reaching out to a big audience or self-sabotaging in some way just so they don’t have to deal with being put under the microscope by a public audience. In a situation like this, I would encourage you to go check out episode 7 of my podcast that deals with self-limiting beliefs. When you’re actually in the process of serving others through the content or product or service that you provide, you are okay with audience criticism and feedback of your product and brand. That actually is a valuable thing to have. Take the comments as potential things to work on. You may think that your product or service does one thing, but maybe your audience thinks something different; take that opportunity to re-evaluate why they might say the things that they say (positive or negative). It’s a way to make your product, service, and brand even better in the future.
You don’t want to burn yourself out. Then your business becomes more of a chore and you likely won’t want to do it as much anymore. Especially if you’re in a realm of some type of content creation like I am. It could definitely present pressure for you to generate new and valuable content. But listen to your audience, let their feedback guide the type of content that you are creating. Ultimately, your content is being used to serve them and their situation anyway so let them make your job a bit easier and just have fun doing it. Try to relax whenever you can. And whenever possible, try to batch process your content.
For instance, I can sit down in a two-hour block of time and crank out about four podcast episodes if I know what topics I want to discuss in advance. The file hosting service that I use does not allow me to publish too much content per month anyway so that makes it easier to just release an episode every week or every two weeks. So in that two-hour span of time, I may have just recorded all of the episodes that I intend to publish in one month.
Basically, plan ahead and always make sure you’re having fun with whatever you’re doing because if you’re not having fun, then your audience will notice and it won’t be much fun for them either.
I hope that someone out there found this post helpful. If you have anything to share with the community that I may have missed or that you think would be helpful to add, I would love for you to leave a comment.