“I’ll wait until my kids are out of college,” or
“First I have to pay off all my debt.” or
“Not until I can go back to school and get my Masters degree.”
Unfortunately, if you wait for conditions to be ideal, it may never happen. But the good news is that you don’t have to quit your day job to start a business.
It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing!
You could work at your regular job until your new business takes off, then quit to pursue it full-time when it can support you.
On the other hand, you might not want to give up your job – maybe you actually enjoy it! Then why not stick with your job while building a business on the side? Establishing multiple income streams can give you the means to pay off debt, increase your savings, and invest in yourself. And if one day your job goes away, you’ll still have an alternative source of income.
There are advantages to starting your side gig while keeping your traditional job:
- You can determine whether your idea is a viable business (and if you really do enjoy doing it) without risking your full-time salary and benefits.
- You can build your cash reserves to give your new business a proper launch later on.
- You can use your side gig to help fund your retirement, then pursue and devote more time to it after you retire from your day job.
- You can use the extra income to improve your lifestyle – vacations, cars, hobbies, etc.
What’s more, leaving your day job too soon could set you up for failure. According to a study published in The Academy of Management Journal, entrepreneurs who go all in too soon are three times more likely to fail than those who keep their day jobs and launch their new ventures in stages – what the study refers to as “Hybrid Entrepreneurs.” For example, Steve Wozniak worked at Hewlett Packard while co-founding Apple, and Henry Ford started his car company while he was an employee of Edison Illuminating Company.
But until you’re ready to leave it behind, your day job has to come first. You may need it longer than you think!
What are your employer’s rules concerning outside work? Some companies don’t permit their employees to have second jobs or do freelance work.
Speaking of rules, you should always use your own equipment in your side gig – it’s not cool to use your employer’s phones, computers, printers, or office supplies for your own business. Not to mention working on your business when you’re supposed to be doing your job.
Last but not least, don’t forget to schedule time for fun, relaxation, and self-care!