5 Tips for Starting a Small Business While Keeping Your Day Job
Congratulations! You’ve finally decided to make the move toward starting your own small business. Although it isn’t an easy process, it’s worth the bumpy start if it’s what you really want to do. Branching out and discovering your passions through your work may end up being the most satisfying and rewarding career choice you will ever make.
In order to put food on the table, pay your mortgage and manage all other day-to-day expenses you’ll need to cover, you’ll probably need to keep your day job for a while until you get your new business up and running. The most important things you’ll need to be aware of during your transition from your full-time job are making the time and handling your income.
Don’t stress out. And definitely don’t let the fear of failing stop you from following your passion. Your BBB has a plan to get you organized and prepared for what’s ahead, including tips on juggling your current full-time job with your new business.
Have a business plan: Before the process can begin, make sure you know everything you want and need this business to be. Establish the audience you’re marketing to, the personal twist that makes your business differ from the competition, what you will offer and how much you’ll charge. This is the constitution of your business; the framework in which you will make all other decisions off of. Believe in it and edit it to perfection, then you can start getting your hands dirty.
Write a list. You’ll want to be organized. Keeping track of everything and sorting your thoughts will cut your stress level in half. Write neatly, use one giant journal but make separate categories, and leave plenty of room for new ideas. A few lists you’ll want to always have on you and continue to add to are:
1. Your schedule. Everything you need to do that day along with all the things you wanted to get done the day before but didn’t get the chance. Take it to the next level: organize your planner into categories such as work-related tasks, new-business-related tasks and outside responsibilities (picking up your kids from soccer practice, your grocery list, laundry, etc.).
2. Supplies. No matter what your small business is, you’re going to need to invest in some supplies to get started. Is it your own jewelry store? You’ll need a workshop, tools and equipment, sketchbooks and packaging. Is it a bakery? You’ll need a kitchen with an oven and a sink; a never-ending supply of ingredients, baking sheets and other necessities.
3. Connections and advertising. Once you have your product, you’ll need to get the word out to attract customers. Make a list of who you already know, who you want to know, and how you can meet with them or get them involved in your new business. Make a list of both current and potential contacts you’d like to include in this venture.
4. Spread the news! While you’re at it, create social media pages for your business, tell all your friends, your new contacts, and anyone who will listen. Host a launching event, make business cards and get your name out there. Make a list of any and all ideas that will help show off your new business.
Make a budget and stick to it. Keep track of your spendings and your savings for each pay period. That includes your spending when it comes to starting your new business, not just your monthly dues. Look at your source of income, how frequently you get paid, and everything you need to divvy-up your checks for. Make a list of:
1. Normal, non-work expenses: groceries, mortgage, bills, taxes, gas money, kids activities/daycare/school, you name it.
2. New business expenses: supplies, workspace, business insurance/accreditation, permits/licenses, and once again, taxes.
Cut back on your hours if needed. You’ll know when too much is too much. Don’t work yourself to death. If you have a good relationship with your boss and there are already part-time employees at your work, there’s no harm in having a conversation about reducing your hours.
If another employee you know is thinking about going part-time, you could suggest a job share, but make sure you can work close with this person and that they are reliable for taking responsibility for their duties. And good news: if you reduce your hours from the normal 40 hours a week, regulations state that you’ll still be covered by your work’s insurance policy as long as you work up to 30 hours a week.
Make sure you know what you’re going to pitch before you talk to your boss. Go into the conversation with a knowledge of:
1. Whether this is temporary or permanent
2. How you plan on getting the extra work done
3. Why you deserve it
4. A Plan B if necessary
Keep your family in the loop and your eye on the prize. Explain to your family what this new business will mean for them. Maybe you’ll need your partner to step in more with making meals, cleaning, and taking care of the kids for a while. Maybe you’ll need to cut down some expenses and skip that family vacation you were thinking of taking. Or maybe you’ll need to arrange a carpool for driving your kids to school and extracurricular activities. Keep your loved ones involved and informed to keep stress at a minimum.
You’ll be using whatever down-time you have to your advantage. The majority of down-time you have, however little that may be, will have to be dedicated to your business. Keep yourself motivated and your energy level high. Print out some motivational quotes you can put by your workplace, get a Keurig for constant coffee emergencies, take care of your body and mind by eating right and learning some self-relaxation techniques.
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