Being your own boss is the chic new trend and having a side business is a great move to earn more money to live comfortably. But, it is not as easy as you think. Indeed, a side business is tempting and keeping your day job while starting a business might hinder you from achieving what you want or it may mitigate risk.
20-year-old Sheryl is a photographer, influencer and also the founder of Cadeau, handmade bracelets. She started the side business to earn some money while actively being a photographer. To minimise the risk, she still keeping her nine to five job while planning on the handmade bracelets business. Learn from Sheryl on how to build a side business while keeping on your day job.
1. Consider getting a business partner or co-founder
Taking on a business partner is a safe way to hedge risks and split the workload. But, it’s also easy to ruin a friendship if your business partner is your best friend and drag them down before it gets off the ground. Before appointing your friend to be your business partner easily, learn about their character and evaluate all the pros and cons first.
Determine the type of partner you need and the role he or she will play. Do you need a silent partner, who helps financially or someone to actively give ideas, helps in branding, marketing etc? Be upfront who is in charge and split everything 50/50. Draw up a contract to have a black and white.
2. Prioritise your nine-to-five
Remember that you still have a day job and it is your primary and important job. Your side gig has to be done outside of business hours. Prioritise your day job and never abuse it. Remind yourself that you need the day job to pay the bills and provides you with the means and motivation to launch the side gig.
If your side business is in the same market or areas as your current employment, you need to do it carefully. All your employer’s clients, business procedures and intellectual property should not be used for personal gain. If you signed a non-disclosure agreement, then you may be prevented from working for a competitor. So, check your agreement and know your rights and what you can and cannot do.
3. Develop your business plan
While you have a day job with fixed income, it’s the right time to do all the hard stuff for your side business. Draft your business plan, secure any licenses or certifications and any other legal work you need to apply. Don’t wait until you quit your day job to do all of this things, because setting up a business requires a lot of money.
This is also a great time to work on branding and developing a solid marketing strategy. It may feel like a waste of money before you begin earning revenue, but it’s worth it. The more you can take care of before launching the business, the more profits you keep.
4. Start generating revenue
Test out your prototype while you are still employed. Observe how much of your product you can sell or which services you can provide better. Test the market, make better financial projections and properly scale your business before you officially launch it.
Your office is the great ground to start off. Introduce your product or service to your colleagues and collect feedback. Start slowly and on a small scale. One of the great tools to advertise your business is by using social media. Use social media to the fullest and keep track of it daily.
5. Manage your time
Being your own boss doesn’t mean you get to set your own hours. Remember that your customers, the market won’t wait for you. You work when you need to work or you go out of business. Learn to use downtime efficiently. Weekends or after work become full workdays for your business and yes, you will have to work on holidays. The schedule may sound brutal but it’s only temporary.
Schedule your time properly. you may check emails or do inventory during lunch hour. Your lunch hour will now be a time for you to grab some meal while updating the website, post on social media or generate new ideas. You may need to cut down a bit on the socialising part and focus more to keep the business running.