How To Venture Into A Startup While Keeping Your Full-Time Job
It has become a common desire of many start their own business and become their own boss. The amount of people who actually manage to do so however, is actually quite low. This may be due to several factors including a commitment to a current job. Perhaps leaving your well paying, secure job to pursue your passion via startup is not an option. You have bills, debt and a mortgage to pay, a family to support or even just a lack of motivation. These factors (aside from the lack of motivation, good luck with that one) can be overcome! Venturing into a startup while working a day job is not ideal, however it is do-able. Here’s some tips on how you can keep that full time job to fund your business venture or sustain your living expenses until your startup takes off.
1. Devote time to your startup and make it part of your routine
Just because you’re not quitting your day job doesn’t mean your new side gig can be brushed off to the side. Remind yourself that this new business venture will eventually become your new full-timer, therefore it should be a priority and weaved into your routine in anyway possible.
When you take into consideration what your average working week looks like, you’re going to spend roughly 40 hours fulfilling your requirements at your current job. Factor in sleep and daily exercise, you’re not left with a whole lot of time. Successful entrepreneurs spend their time wisely, and this is why you should too. Dedicate a minimum amount of your spare time to your startup and actually stick to it; consistency is key. Even if it’s 30 minutes every morning on your commute to work, it’ll be easier to tackle the work in small increments. If given the option to head out on the weekend or tackle the several hours of work you have waiting for you on your day off, which would you honestly choose?
2. Set yourself goals and actually take them seriously.
In the startup world it’s easy to lose direction, get overwhelmed and end up at a dead end. Don’t let yourself fall into the notion that this side-gig is in fact a hobby, you’ll just lose the determination to get anywhere. Progress is almost guaranteed by setting deadlines. After all it is easier to know where you’re heading and reach milestones if you actually know what they are.
In order to stick to your goals, they must be realistic. Set detailed long-term and short-term goals that suit the time you’ve dedicated to the project (re-visit point 1). These can be monetary or date driven. ie. you’ll quit your job after X months, when you’ve saved X amount or your new venture has made X in revenue, or all 3.
3. Get a co-founder on board
Working full-time and investing the remainder of your energy into a startup can be discouraging at times. When you’ve hit a brick wall and begin to question everything, motivation goes out the window pretty quickly. This is why getting a co-founder on board is a great idea and can actually increase your chances at success.
A co-founder is someone who will share your passion for the company, as well as the workload. Not only will productivity spike, but the mutual motivation will be just what you need when you feel like giving up. And trust me, there will be many times that you feel like giving up. Thankfully your trusty co-founder will (hopefully) be in positive spirits and pull you out of your slump. Just as you will with them when the time arises. Choose this person wisely however, preferably someone with a skill set that compliments yours. Find the Wozniak to your Jobs, or vice-versa.
4. Hire or outsource work that isn’t a priority
Speaking of Jobs and Wozniak, do you really think they were doing repetitive admin tasks? The answer is no. You don’t have a lot of spare time, and the spare time you do have should be used wisely. Hiring someone to do these tasks is cheaper, faster and more effective than hiring someone to do the duties of a CEO. This will also give you an opportunity to learn or perfect new skills you need to help your business thrive.
5. Never work on your startup while on the job
Even if you don’t particularly want to be working your full-time gig, you need it. Therefore, don’t do anything that may screw it up. Working on your project during company time, especially if they’re of a similar nature may get you fired or even sued. Best to avoid that, don’t you think? This may seem like an obvious point, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t take the logistics into consideration.
It is also worth mentioning consulting your lawyer to ensure there’s no risks, especially if you’re under any non-compete clauses, assignment of invention clauses, or non-disclosure agreements. This way you can ensure your previous employer has no grounds to come after you when you’re startup has made millions and yank it all out of your clenching hands. Just to be safer than sorry, avoid using company resources such as the work computer, software, seeking the advice of other employees or even doodling on the notebooks!
6. Remain positive and remind yourself why you’re doing this
The first step is acceptance. This period of the work/startup juggling will be the best of times and the worst. When times get tough try to remind yourself why you started. Try to picture the days of your startups success and how you will feel when your work is something you’re truly passionate about.
Avoid thinking of your current full-time job as a burden or inconvenience. The truth is you need it now more than ever. No matter how much you think it may be true, no you wouldn’t be making more progress if you didn’t have to work full-time. Your job is the only reason you still have food on the table and can invest in yourself. When you’ve missed the Saturday BBQ and drinks for the 5th time in a row, remember that this is all temporary and will not last forever. There’ll be plenty of drinking opportunities when you’ve retired early and have several yachts.