How to Start a Business While Being an Employee
Are you tired of your day job? Do you need change? Would you like not to have a boss for once? Maybe you have been thinking about starting your own business.
Today there are more and more small companies, and it does seem that anyone can do it. So can you!
Quitting a job in order to start your own company can be a very risky endeavor.
Despite the fact that without obligations at your job, you can dedicate a larger amount of time to your new founded company, the financial uncertainty may be hazardous to your personal life as well as to your business.
It may be worth considering the idea of putting off quitting your current job until your side business gains some momentum.
If you choose not to quit your job and also to start a company, you will need some tips for sure.
So here are several guidelines you may want to follow.
Step 1. KEEP YOUR BUSINESS STRICTLY SEPARATED FROM YOUR JOB
Your job is one thing and your private business is another thing. It is best to keep them separated from one another.
This applies to several aspects of the possible connections.
First, do not take any material, not even small office supplies like a box of stapler pins or a stack of printing paper.
These belong to your current company and your action may be construed as theft by a mean eye.
Second, avoid writing emails related to your personal business from a computer at the company where you still work – even the network is the property of the company and should only be used for the purposes of that company.
Believe it or not, only logging in your side business email may be seen as misusing the company property.
Last, it is not a good idea to talk about your side business with your colleagues during working hours.
One wrong word may spread quickly and you might end up being labeled as self-promoting and disloyal to your employer.
You may realize that there should be a line, a limit between the two.
The line should not be blurred, especially at the sole beginning when you are still inexperienced with running a business.
Step 2. MAKE SURE TO START LEGALLY AND HONESTLY
Before starting a business, it would be a good idea to have a talk with a lawyer and an accountant.
The reason would be finding out what licenses and documents you need in order to set up a business properly.
Also, you should go through the contract you have with your current employer in detail (with an expert, ideally) and make sure you are not breaking any rules regarding your current position.
Your own business will not thrive if you have legal problems, right?
Also, it is a good idea to start a side business which is not related to the area of work of your current company.
However, if it is, you should be extra careful not to mix those two, as it would be possible for your boss to accuse you of using the company for your personal business.
One more piece of advice that fits here is to be honest with your boss about your side business.
In that way, you will clear the air and leave less space for potential issues with your employer.
Also, if your business is not competitive with the company, it is not impossible to manage to make your current boss a collaboration partner or a client.
Step 3. CONDUCT AN EXTENSIVE RESEARCH
As with any serious work, thorough research is essential for any desired success.
If you want to start a business, you should make sure to learn about running it as much as possible.
This includes the legal aspect, the accounting section, basically everything you need to know in order to be the head of a fully developed (even though small) company.
Even if you manage to outsource these from the very beginning, you should have at least the basic knowledge so as to understand how they work.
Another important research would be related to the field your business will work in.
You ought to test the market and to see if there will be a demand for what you want to offer.
No matter how good an idea is, if the public does not accept it, your business may go under in a very short time.
There are several ways in which you may undertake this research.
One is to conduct customer interviews and find out whether they would buy the goods or services you plan to offer.
This requires a lot of work, but you would get the ideas firsthand and have the opportunity to ask any follow-up questions that comes to your mind.
Another way to do this is a survey.
With it, you can reach a great number of people, which may be an excellent indicator of whether your product is sellable or not. It shows a bigger picture than the interview method.
You may also try out a prototype and see how it would work in practice. In this case, you would make a version of your product, set a lower price and see how customers react to it.
You will be able to understand which group of people are the most interested and make the product more attractive to them.
Step 4. PREPARE MENTALLY AND FINANCIALLY FOR THE UPCOMING STRAINS
Starting a business is not an easy endeavor even if you do not have a regular job.
When you do have a job, it will take, you would probably think, an infinite amount of energy to deal with both.
However, if you wish to succeed, you will have to hang in there!
And it will not last forever.
It is not rare that problems arise on the way.
You will have to use all your capacity, patience, and persuasiveness, everything you have in order to deal with them. Make sure that you are ready for this.
For example, you can prepare some relaxation techniques to use along the way.
There are ways for you to calm down that take only a couple of minutes and there are others that take a longer time.
Choose those which suit you best, and take it easy.
Also, you must be aware that starting a business requires a lot of financial means, so before you start that work, you should equip yourself with as much money as you can.
Even though you may want to save as much money as possible at the very beginning, think about it again.
This is the moment when you need to show your worth, to stand out in a crowd of other start-ups (and often well-established businesses, too).
The only way you can do this is by placing a high-quality product on the market. And you cannot do this while pinching pennies.
Put aside as much money as possible; luckily you already have a job and a source of income, so this is an advantage for you.
Step 5. START SMALL
Of course, you want your start-up to become a big business.
However, it would be a good idea to start small. There are two reasons for that.
The first reason is that you need a lot of customers in order to go big.
A new company needs time for marketing, for getting through to people, for gathering customers. You should not rush it. Just let the process happen at its own pace.
When you see that your customers are satisfied, think about enlarging your business a bit. Then a little bit more. Steady growth is safe growth.
And who knows, maybe your product proves to be a huge success quickly and your ‘steady’ is not very slow!
Another reason for starting small is your regular job.
As you have to respect your working hours, you do not have all the time of this world to dedicate to your side business. A big company requires a lot of time from its owner.
It would be very hard for you to run a big business and have a regular job at the same time.
In that case, or rather, when that happens, it will be time for you to quit your job. But we will discuss that later on.
Step 6. OUTSOURCE
There are many things to do when you start a business, but you are probably not good at all of them.
So how about doing some portion of the work yourself and outsourcing the rest?
Being a person with a regular job, you do not have a lot of time on your hands.
You would not want to waste that time doing things you are not knowledgeable enough about.
Think about how much you would have to learn about accounting and law if you wanted to write the contracts and do other administrative work yourself.
Or how much learning you would need to do if you wanted to design your own website.
Fortunately, there are experts in these (and other) fields whom you can outsource these tasks to so that you can focus on what you are best at – the product itself!
It is you who should choose the goal of your company, the products or services you want to offer.
Give yourself space for this and let others do the rest of the work.
Step 7. FIND A BUSINESS PARTNER
Starting a business is a serious deal, and it is good to have someone whom you can rely on and who can share the workload with you.
It is not easy for one person to manage everything, especially if that person is not experienced in running a business.
When you have a day job, there may be a situation that your side business requires you, i.e. the owner to be in a certain place at a certain time, and you are at work and cannot leave.
This is a moment when it is great if you have a partner who can take your place.
Also, there are many decisions to be made, many options to choose from, and two minds think better than one.
With a partner, you will be able to discuss new ideas and solve problems.
You will deal with emotional strain together with someone who understands you.
This is a big advantage of a partnership.
Of course, you should choose someone reliable, someone whom you can trust, not just anyone. And of course, equal positions are a must in order for a partnership to work.
Step 8. MAKE BUSINESS CONNECTIONS
This is an essential part of the business. Without connections, your company cannot thrive and become successful.
Mingle as much as you can, attend conferences related to your area of work, meet people, and stay in touch.
Some of them may collaborate with you, some may become your clients; you may become someone’s client and get discounts.
Someone may know someone who needs the product that you are offering – referring is a great benefit of a wide circle of acquaintances and friends.
There are numerous ways in which connecting with people from the same and from different fields can bring benefits to your start-up.
The fact is that you have a job. Use that.
When you can (without compromising your position at your current employee) to make contacts and use them for your business. Of course, outside the working hours.
Also, networking allows you to keep a circle of advisors who will be there for you to help you when you encounter a problem or a doubt.
You have to admit that this is very valuable for someone with a small business, especially if they do not have enough knowledge of how to do run it properly.
Step 9. DEDICATE TIME TO YOUR BUSINESS
As we have mentioned several times before, running a company, be it a big or a small one, requires quite a lot of time.
If you decide to take this step, bear that in mind.
Being employed, you will have even less time on your hands.
But do not be discouraged, it is doable. If it were not, there would not be as many companies in the world as there are!
You will have time before or after work, nights, weekends; well, holidays as well, if need be. Make that time count. Use it in the best way you can.
Plan your goals and your next steps. Communicate with other businesspeople and experts, learn about your field of work. There is a lot to be done.
It is true that the sole start is the hardest and that you will have to sacrifice something.
Hopefully, that will only be in the short run, until the things speed up and you learn the ropes of the business.
Just hang in there and do not quit when the going gets tough.
If you find yourself overwhelmed and exhausted, either take an afternoon off or try to focus on only one goal.
Pay your attention to one step at a time and you will recover quickly and, once again, become ready to take on more.
Step 10. LEARN ABOUT RUNNING A BUSINESS AND ABOUT YOUR FIELD OF WORK
Even though you may outsource some of the work, it is still an advantage to know at least a bit of what your employees or freelancers are doing for you.
For example, if you decide to hire a person, you need to have at least the basic knowledge about employee contracts, because you might want to know what the options you can offer the candidate are.
Also, it is essential for you to have a wide knowledge of the field of work of your company.
We suppose that you would choose such a field with which you are already familiar.
However, only having some knowledge is not good enough.
You should follow trends, read about the latest inventions and discoveries, and attend conferences.
In this way, you can advance your business and offer your clients modern and up-to-date products and services.
Step 11. SET GOALS AND STEPS TOWARDS THEM
One of the basic things to do when starting a business is to make a good plan.
This plan should be clear and systematic so that you can understand clearly what your far-reaching and short-term goals are.
First of all, it is important to choose what you want to achieve and when you want it to be done.
It goes without saying that both the objectives and the deadlines need to be realistic and attainable.
Without them, you would probably just go around in circles and concrete achievements would be rare.
It is good to start with small, daily goals. Choose what you want to accomplish each day and stick to it.
Next are weekly goals, those which are not achievable in a day.
Finishing these small tasks will give you the motivation to be productive every day. Also, you will get many things done without noticing it.
The next are monthly goals, and they present a somewhat bigger picture of your company’s work.
Here you can set goals like – getting your commercial to be broadcast on a certain number of TV and radio stations, or organizing a promotion at a big mall.
Of course, you should also set multi-monthly or yearly goals, which are the big picture of what you want your company to achieve.
Step 12. DO NOT LOSE FOCUS ON GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Your physical and mental wellbeing is not unimportant, you must agree! So take care of yourself.
Eat well, sleep enough, take rests, exercise, and spend time with friends and family. If you do not feel well about yourself, you will not be a good businessman.
Your wellbeing is your most valuable asset which you can bring to your business.
It is true that at the sole beginning, in the first year or two, you will not have much time for yourself, especially considering that you have a day job to attend, but after the first wave and focusing solely on your own business, make sure you do things that are food for you.
A happy boss is a good boss!
Also, thinking too much about one thing may, after some time, make it difficult to see things clearly.
Do not let this happen to you. Clear your head occasionally, enjoy your life, and when you come back to work, it will be much easier to focus.
It would be very bad to lose focus when things are going well, don’t you think?
Step 13. QUIT YOUR JOB AT THE RIGHT TIME
The last thing you need to do when starting a business while being an employee is letting go of your job and jumping into your own startup full time.
A scary thought, is it not?
First of all, it is not a good idea to quit your job before starting a company.
Yes, this is something that requires time and you would have more time on your hands if you didn’t work.
However, think about the financial side.
Without the cash flow from your job, you would have bigger issues.
In the beginning, when you still have to figure out how to run the company successfully and until things fall into place, you would want to keep your earnings coming from another place.
Now, the tricky thing here is to choose the timing.
When is the right time for this step?
Well, when you see that you are getting good at running your business.
This means that you can deliver the goods or services you offer, that the demand is satisfying, and the customers are happy.
You will probably not gain as much as you did while you were employed, but that will surely change once you dedicate all your time to your business.
After reading these tips and taking into consideration the efforts you need to take in order to start your business, we hope that you have a clearer picture of what you need to have in mind.
If you have decided to give it a try, we wish you the best of luck!
“Effective leaders need to be flexible, and must adapt themselves according to the situation.” Paul …