4 Steps to run a successful business while working full-time
Starting a business is an exciting time, but it can also be daunting and challenging.
It requires investing time, effort and money but most importantly it requires to make a number of key decisions.
One of the hardest early-stage decisions you will have to face is whether to leave your full-time job so you can focus on running your own business or to juggle both.
This is a decision I had to make myself.
When I look at my fellow entrepreneurs, many have left a secure job to pursue the flexibility of working for themselves, putting freedom before financial security.
Some have succeeded and are now running a successful business; some are struggling to make ends meet and they are now taking on any sort of jobs or clients.
They are working more than they used to when in a full-time job and they are earning much less.
They can’t afford to take time off or go on holiday.
Some of them have fallen into this situation because of peer pressure and the illusion that in order to be a successful entrepreneur they had to leave their full-time job. Others have simply failed to analyze their circumstances and plan accordingly.
You see, you don’t have to leave your full-time job to be a successful entrepreneur.
Starting and scaling a business requires money — and NO, you can’t build a business on freebies and trial products!
Starting a business with little or no money is extremely risky, and you may end up jeopardizing yours and your family’s financial well-being.
Moreover, not all ideas will turn into an overnight successful business opportunity — it took Steve Jobs two decades to become an overnight dot-com billionaire, and in many cases, businesses do not turn a profit initially or the owner may not be able to afford to pay himself a salary.
So, having a steady income while getting started allows you to have some financial security while validating your business idea.
And, instead of stressing about how to pay your mortgage or rent you can focus on planning your go to market strategy, and testing and trialing your product and services.
If you are wondering whether you should leave your full-time job to start your own business, ask yourself:
- What is in your life right now are you willing and can afford to give up
- What will be the impact of your decision?
- How much is it going to cost you and what will you get in return?
If right now you are not willing or can’t afford to give up anything, that’s fine. However, starting a business while keeping a full-time job requires to be laser-focus, so it’s key to have a plan.
Here are 4 proven steps to running a business while working full-time
1. Define the WHAT, WHY and WHEN
- What do you wish to achieve in your pursuit of doing what you love?
- Why do you want to leave your job to do what you love?
- When will you be ready to do what you love full time?
Set a specific and realistic goal and deadline. Setting goals puts you in the driver’s seat that empowers you to change your life and take your business to the next level. However, you will lose the motivation if you set unachievable and unrealistic goals and eventually you will give up.
2. Make a plan for the next 6 months
If you want to move closer to your goal is key that you know what you’re going to do next so you don’t lose focus and waste time, money and effort on things that are not taking you closer to where you want to be. Write down everything that needs to happen, and clearly define roles, responsibilities, and deadlines. I use Trello and Monday.com to stay organized, keep track of my to-do list, and plan and share tasks that I’m outsourcing.
Running a business while working full-time means that you have to focus only on what delivers the highest impact and you have to look for opportunities to outsource every task that requires specialist expertise (Eg. bookkeeping or web development). Obviously, you don’t want someone else deciding your goals, planning your strategy, or telling you what your product or service should be. You just need to be doing only what you do best. My favorite freelancing websites are Upwork.com, Freelancer.com, Fiverr.com, Peopleperhour.com.
4. Monitor your progress
It’s key that you monitor whether you are on track with your business plan and that you make adjustments as you work through it.
Remember that running a business while working a full-time job is undoubtedly more difficult, but it’s doable.
However, if you don’t have a clear business plan and strategy you will never be able to take your business goals above and beyond a little extra cash.
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