You’re planning your own business but at present you’re working fulltime for someone else and need the salary to subsidise your new venture until the start-up’s ready to go. Currently, at least 200,00 budding UK entrepreneurs are trying to fit two jobs int
Tony Sharrock worked for four years for a major London news-agency while building up a newspaper feature syndication business with a friend. “I was on the night shift at Reuter’s and spent the day on the new business which we ran from my partner’s bedroom. Neither of us had a proper night’s sleep for years. Often we wondered if it was worth it.”
It was. The new business became Features International, Fleet Steet’s largest independent features syndication agency.
That’s proof that while working for someone else while starting a business, certainly isn’t easy, it can be done and here are some tips from successful entrepreneurs which should help:
**Find a business model** which fits your start-up idea while you’re also working fulltime. The trick is to find one that requires the least amount of work but has the biggest impact. Also plan a financial strategy, especially cashflow, customer base, capital requirements, credibility and competition.
**Get your family involved**. Whether it’s answering the phone or putting together orders, giving family members the chance to help out is a great way to get work done when you have limited time, aa well as making them feel they’re part of the business.
You’ll probably have to spend your holidays working on your start-up so an understanding family is important when you break the news that you won’t all be going away to the sun this year.
**Make the most of every minute**. Use lunch hours or the early morning to make phone calls and commuting time to catch up on paperwork. Be ready to give up personal time and hobbies and TV will probably have to go for a while. Be sure the sacrifice is worth it or both your job and your new business could suffer.
**Create a schedule** which prioritises what needs to be done in the new business – funding, staff, premises, and so on – and make sure all this is in place before you even think about going in full-time.
**Tell your bosses** what you’re planning. Many employers started in the same way and won’t sack you on the spot! Suggest that maybe you work part-time until your new venture is fully up and running. So long as it doesn’t interfere with your job, many bosses won’t mind. You’ll also gain by being honest rather than making them feel you have something to hide. Anyway, they’ve probably heard about what you’re doing on the office grapevine…
**Don’t overset the boundaries** and resist the temptation to use your current employer’s facilities, equipment, email and IT for your new venture. Have a separate landline for your start-up so that people don’t call when you’re at your current job. When you are at your full-time job give it your full focus and attention. Don’t let thoughts of your own venture distract you.
**Keep on good terms** with your current employers and - if they’re interested - keep them informed about how things are going and when exactly you will be leaving. Who knows - they could be full-time customers, or even investors, one day.