How to start your own business while still employed

The side hustle trend isn’t going away anytime soon. According to a recent Zapier survey, 40% of Americans currently have side businesses, up from 34% in December 2020.

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Without a doubt, starting your own business while still employed is becoming the norm. If you’re considering jumping on this trend and becoming an entrepreneur, here are some tips to help you get started.

Carefully prioritize your time

If you have an exciting business idea but your full-time job takes up most of your time, don’t worry. You can still make your entrepreneurial dream come true if you prioritize your time.

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Start by looking at your full-time work schedule and find out when you can include chunks of dedicated, uninterrupted time to focus on the tasks necessary to get the business off the ground. Also, consider using a time management app like Toggl Track to keep track of how much time you’re spending on tasks related to both your work and business. That way, you’ll know exactly where your energy is going and make sure your new venture gets plenty of attention.

Set SMART goals for your business

Having a main job and running a side business can be untenable without a plan. So before you try to test the waters with a new company, be as strategic as possible when setting SMART goals for your business. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.

  • Specific: What exactly do you plan to do?
    • E.g: I will redesign and launch my website before December 1st.
  • Measurable: How will you know if you are achieving your goal?
    • E.g: I will achieve this goal by hiring two competent graphic designers and one web developer from Upwork.
  • Realizable: How will you implement the goal?
    • E.g: I will implement the goal by working on my website and collaborating with freelancers for five hours a week.
  • Important: Does the goal connect with your overall objectives?
    • E.g: Redesigning my business website will better showcase my products and improve the user experience.
  • Prompt: When will you achieve the goal?
    • E.g: I will reach this goal on December 1st, which means I will have two months (about 40 hours) to renew my website.

Outsource small business tasks if necessary

If you’re running your own business while working 9 to 5, things could get hectic. You could avoid stretching yourself too thin by outsourcing tasks like website design, email marketing, social media marketing, or billing. Remember to start by outsourcing the tasks that you are not particularly good at or do not like to do. That way, you can focus 100% of your energy on the things you do best.

Upwork and Fiverr are popular sites where you can find talented freelancers offering digital services in areas like UX design, writing, and photography. Before you dive headlong into outsourcing your work, make sure the service provider is a good fit for your project by reading customer reviews to learn what kind of results to expect.

Create an emergency fund

Having a financial cushion to fall back on if things don’t go as expected can be a lifesaver when starting a business from scratch. So, if you’re finally planning to quit your 9 to 5 job to become a full-time business owner, set aside a portion of your paycheck or business income in an emergency fund each month.

Most financial experts recommend setting aside at least three to six months of living expenses to build a comfortable emergency fund. To reach this savings goal, consider using a budgeting app like Mint or Personal Capital to monitor your spending, keep track of your monthly bills, and categorize your spending.

don’t push yourself too hard

Running a business is challenging enough without another full-time job on top of it, so if you’re trying to juggle both, don’t be too hard on yourself. By taking one step at a time and setting concrete goals, you will avoid burning yourself out and giving up on your dream. Remember, successes don’t always happen overnight, so enjoy those little victories and give yourself a little love along the way.

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