If you’re starting a business, but don’t have the support of a venture capitalist (VC), or a wealthy uncle waiting in the wings to take your company on, chances are you’ll need to work a 9-5 job, while growing your business on the side. But how do you juggle a full- time job and your responsibilities at home while successfully incubating and growing a small business? What ‘superpowers’ might you need at your disposal to pull this off? And can it be done?
The good news is that you aren’t alone in this challenge; there are many entrepreneurs across the globe trying to get their startups off the ground, while still supporting a family, making ends meet and honouring their other commitments. They’re also scratching their heads and searching online for things like, ‘tips for starting your own business for the full time employed’ or ‘how to juggle a full time career and a new business venture’.
This blog takes a look at what ducks you’ll need to have in a row to ensure that your dream of running your own startup becomes a full-time reality.
Decide upfront how much time you need to focus on growing your startup
Robert Aldous provides entrepreneurs like yourself with some sound advice on the subject of appropriate time management while starting your own business. He shared in a Startups interview that when he began his company on the side in 2014, he quickly learned to make a clear distinction between his paid work hours and the time he spent investing in his own business. He stopped trying to juggle two hats at once and chose only to focus on developing his own business outside of his regular work hours. Lunch breaks at work weren’t spent chasing up prospective clients, sending emails or worrying about things he needed to do to see business growth.
In the same way, when starting your own business, you’ll need to carve out a certain amount of time each day, before or after work, to focus on your startup. Make sure that family and friends are on board and understand why you need to make this extra effort. It’s not only you who’ll need to be prepared for the sacrifices and challenges ahead and you’ll need their ongoing support.
Don’t quit your job until it’s the right time
The advice from other startup professionals is unanimous: unless you’ve won the lottery or secured some solid funding from a VC, no matter how tempted you may be to go full time, a premature exit from a secure monthly income could be a fatal one for both your fledgling business and your pocket.
So, when is it the right time after starting your own business to hand in your resignation? An Entrepreneur’s blog points out that established startups need to have products and services that are ‘market fit’ before they should even consider expanding. According to this Forbes article: “A successful startup scales its growth on the basis of proven, steady and paying customers (especially where residual/subscription income is involved). Steady acquisition is also a very good sign, as opposed to high and low fits and starts”.
In the same way, your new business will need to have enough traction with a regular customer base before you can cut ties with your employer. Right off the bat, you need to set yourself business goals – or metrics – that will define when it’ll be safe for you to pick up your business full time. Realistically, this should be when your startup’s revenue is exceeding its expenses and your customer retention is high. You also need to have enough users downloading your app, or buying your product, to safely predict more growth to come. Having adequate savings in the bank to tide you over for your first few months of flying solo is also highly recommended.
Focus on marketing your business online from the get-go
One non-negotiable for every startup is a website for showcasing your unique solutions and services. You’ll need to have this site up and running as soon as you can. This website can be as simple or as elaborate as you like, as long as it includes information about the basics of who you are, what you do or sell, where you can be found and how you can be contacted. Also, be sure to include landing pages and forms for capturing the contact information of potential customers and leads. In this way, you can follow up with potential customers directly and begin to build a trusted relationship with them.
A website that comes with eCommerce functionality – i.e. one that allows online visitors to place orders and pay for their products online, and tracks this all for you in real time – is also very useful. Sage Online Tools, for example, has developed a site builder that allows startups to develop customised websites that their customers can then use to purchase their products and solutions online.
See how easy designing your own website really is by registering for a free trial of our website builder tool today.