Getting started with your own small business is extremely exciting. Maybe you’ve been thinking about finally following your childhood career dreams. Maybe you’ve come up with an innovation that is destined to become the “next big thing.” Maybe you’ve sharpened your skills in the corporate world for long enough that you’re ready to go it alone as a freelancer or consultant. Or maybe you’re so good at your hobby that you feel you owe it to yourself to see if you can turn a profit with it.
But what about the risks involved? Conventional wisdom has it that you can’t start your own business until you quit your day job, so that you can spend all day long on your own thing. But this means foregoing the security that comes from having predictably dependable income every month. With the stakes being so high, you might be second guessing yourself, wondering if you’re really ready to take the plunge.
We’ve got some good news for you. Conventional wisdom has it wrong. In actuality, you don’t need to quit your day job to get started with your own thing. They’re not necessarily mutually exclusive.
There are some key advantages to looking at your own business as a “side project.” It makes sense in terms of minimizing risk, in terms of scaling up on operations only as justified by revenues, and in terms of clarifying where your creative passions end and your career begins.
Better than Watching TV
Sure, working 40-plus hours per week at your main gig makes it a bit of a challenge to find the time to work for yourself, but the hours do exist. It’s just a matter of perspective and priorities.
Do you have three hours every night of “screen time”? Do you put two hours into creating an immaculate brunch every Sunday? These indulgences are important for your lifestyle, but if you spend that time, or even some of it, working on your side project, you could end up feeling more fulfilled.
Keep the Pressure Low
If you start your own business as a side project while continuing with your day job, you are likely to find that it doesn’t weigh so heavily on you. When your small business doesn’t’t need to put food on your table, then you can take more risks with it, relax and enjoy the creative fulfillment you get from it.
Responsible and conservative business practices dictate that you invest heavily in ramping up operations only once you’ve got enough money coming in to justify this spending. With your regular job’s paychecks continuing to arrive, you may find that you don’t need to go “all out” and rent an office or hire an administrative assistant before you even open up shop working for yourself. You can get going with the bigger budget items when it feels safe enough to do so. Scaling up responsibly is a luxury you wouldn’t have if your small business were your sole income.
No matter how diplomatically you go about it, quitting your day job can sometimes ruin your best business networking connections. If you can ramp your own business up while still punching the clock, you can leverage the connections you have at your day job to benefit your own thing.
Be careful how you go about this, as not everybody is supportive of every off-campus activity (especially if there’s a perceived conflict of interest), but your employer and its partner organizations may be great starting points for you to connect to mentors, find affordable tech tools or hire clutch service providers who have already proven themselves to you.
Staggering Progress with Baby Steps
Set benchmarks for yourself. Can you have three loyal clients paying you $60 each per month on a subscription or retainer basis within six months? Once you reach this smaller goal, how much of that revenue will you invest in advertising? When will you get involved with what type of presence on which social networks?
Map out a series of sub-goals that feel reasonably reachable to you, define for yourself what it will take to get to each one, and determine the consequences of each tipping point – either reaching or failing to reach each benchmark. This process will help you feel like you’re making solid progress even when you have limited time to put into the business, and it will also help keep you organized and emphasizing the right priorities. You’ll also be able to keep your eyes on the prize, without getting overwhelmed or held back by “all or nothing” perfectionism.
If you build a website for your new business with Wix, then you can start with a single-page design and add internal pages one at a time. There’s no shame in quietly launching new sections over the course of several months. Go live with the base minimum you need to get started, and take it from there. And with our drag-and-drop Editor tools, you can do this all on your own – no need to commission any custom coding or design hours!
Prioritize Time Savers
When formulating your progress roadmap, keep your time limitations in mind. Think about what your time is worth to you in terms of dollars, and build a formula for yourself to determine which tasks are worth outsourcing. When you spend money on anything that allows you to spend your time making more money, you come out ahead.
Today’s digital marketing technologies are putting powerful automation tools in the hands of the masses. Awesome capabilities for your side business’s digital presence are within reach, and many are free. With the right solutions, you can now more or less “set it and forget it” with your email marketing, customer service chat, pay-per-click advertising, invoicing and even appointment booking.