How To Start Your Own Business While Working For Someone Else

Many people think the only way they can launch their own business is to immediately ditch their day job and go off on their own. But there is another way to pursue your entrepreneurial dream – and keep bringing in money, too!

If you are considering launching a small business but are not sure how to do so because you do not have a lot of money, going into business while still working for someone else can be a viable choice.

When I launched my company, I did it from the comfortable vantage point of working for someone else. That allowed me the flexibility of having predictable income generation while in start-up phase.

Launching a business while working full-time for someone else requires organization and the ability to focus. That’s because you will most likely be doing two full-time jobs – the work at the “day job” and work for your new baby, your company.

When I began preparing for and then running my company, work days often stretched well into the night. I would work a full nine or ten-hour day as a journalist, then go home to work another six or seven hours on my business. Make no mistake, operating a business while working full-time for someone else can be a challenge. But that challenge can be successfully faced.

Here are five tips for operating your own small business while working for someone else:

1. Realize you will sacrifice leisure time. When you are working two full-time jobs, you will not have a lot of time for “extra” activities such as outings with friends or watching television. Realizing upfront the extra commitment of time will help you set realistic expectations for your time. This can also help you communicate with those in your life that you will sometimes be unavailable during this critical time, as you work hard to get your business off the ground.

2. Set a time frame. When you launch your business while working for someone else, set a time frame for when you will leave the “day job” to work full-time for your company. This is important because it will give you a target to shoot for and will help you set benchmarks – amount of money you will save by a certain date, for example. This also will help keep your business a priority, and not relegate it to permanent “side business” status. I left my “day job” two years after forming my company.

3. Create a business plan. Many entrepreneurs launch businesses without investing the time into developing a business plan. They want to “wing it,” because they have the plan in their heads. That can add undue stress and contribute to the high failure rate of new businesses. I launched my business without a business plan, so that’s why I emphasize the importance of having such a plan. My business became successful even though I started without a plan, but the lack of a business plan cost me in unnecessary expenses and time. The business plan I have now helps me structure my business in such a way that I know if expenditures are in line with my needs or if they are unnecessary. That saves money. And having a business plan also means you spend time on things that support your business, instead of on things that do not.

4. Use “found” time. When you are operating your own business while working for someone else, it’s important that you maximize your time. That means using “found” time. Found time is those small increments of time that usually are filled with nothing or unimportant tasks. For instance, instead of using your break at work to smoke outside with your co-workers, you may now use this found time to make phone calls to potential suppliers or distributors, or others you must connect with for your business. Found time can be the time you use to find out about licenses you need for your business, conferences, events, etc.

5. Organize your finances. The biggest reason you have remained with your employer likely is financial. You need the money. So that means evaluating your current expenses and needs, and seeing how you can cut back and what your bottom line amount is to live and support your business. Put everything on the table. See what can be cut to help you reach the financial target you set when you established a time frame for leaving your day job. When I was organizing my finances and preparing to leave my employer to work for my company full-time, I eliminated cable, reduced dining out, and even shopped at thrift stores. Sacrifices you make can help you find the resources to dedicate to your business and nurture it to success. Once things pick up or your cash flow from your business is on the grow, you may resume some of the things you sacrificed earlier – or you may find your life is quite fine without them!

This is also the time to consider future expenses and how you will address them – what will you do about health insurance, for instance? Will you work from home or have an outside office? How will you fund all this?

These five practical – real-life – tips can help you properly prepare for successfully running your own business one day, even if you start it while working for someone else today.