Keep Your Day Job When Starting Your Own Business

You have a great idea. You know it can work. You’re capable, you’re confident, and you can envision it becoming real. But how can you keep your day job while starting your own business?

Your day job is stable, comfortable, and it puts food on the table. This is especially daunting if you have a family depending on you.

So how can you achieve your dream while keeping your current career? And is it a risk you should take? Before making any big decisions, be sure to follow these ten steps to risk it the right way.

1. Toss the Business Plan

Most MBA graduates, family members and peers, and even banks will tell you that you need concrete business plans in order to make your idea work. The truth is, thanks to our fast-paced world of technology, the marketplace is changing too rapidly for a written business plan to render real value.

Just as fast as you have your plan written out, the product and customer have evolved to need and want something different. Prices and features have been altered and you’re back to the drawing board, baffled why your business plan needs editing before you’ve even gotten your feet wet.

Instead, try making a generic document that lists out some key points about your idea for a business. You can use a template from Strategyzer or Canvanizer to build an organized plan of action that is more workable while in the starting stage.

Address your product, what it solves, and how it does it better than anything else. You’ll also want to confront the issue of distribution to clients and how you will make money from it. Think about your overhead as well. These are solid questions that must be outlined in the document to gain a clearer picture of your goals.

two people at work high-fiving

2. Choose the Perfect Partner When Starting Your Own Business

There’s a reason why people say your partner can make or break you.

Many entrepreneurs do succeed alone, but two is better than one, because it increases your chances of success. When you have a partner or a team member as invested as you are, it adds to your company’s assets. Workload is distributed properly, not to mention the mental and physical challenges being shared with someone else to alleviate pressure.

Remember, you’re their partner too. And as Seth Godin puts it, “Be genuine. Be remarkable. Be worth connecting with.”

Think about your partnership deeply before moving forward. After all, a failed partnership is the leading cause of failure in startups. Explore compatibility and test out how the arrangement seems to be working. You may be better off starting alone if you can’t find someone who fits well.

Once you’ve gained a bit of momentum, you may find someone along the way that seems like the right one.

3. Be Ready to Become a Workaholic

If you’re planning to keep your day job when starting your own business, be ready to work. Some days are going to blend into each other, where you’ve completed the work day, gotten your kids into bed (if you have any), and are now initiating startup tasks.

There will be outside commitments you can’t give up either, such as chores, exercising, family, and other factors. Each one will take away a little of that precious time.

Be prepared to become a time management guru. The more you stay focused and take one step at a time, the likelier you are to be able to handle the stress of constant work waiting for you. Use your time wisely and choose your priorities carefully. This will ensure that there’s a balance in your home life, work life, and startup life.

desktop monitor next to three smart phones

4. Test, Test, and Test Some More

As you’ve read in our previous article about why startups fail, every step you take and decision you make must be based on the product user and what they want. This is absolutely critical when it comes to the success of your startup.

Ensure you have a market for your product. Go back to your written plan on canvas and confront those assumptions. Use Google Adwords to see if the problem your product solves is popular amongst the public or your target audience.

You must constantly think about who is going to use your product. Develop a minimally viable product or prototype, and test it on customers and get their feedback. Their opinions are gold at this point. See what’s missing and what needs to be improved.

Perhaps your idea was a little skewed and now you’re on a better track because of your customers’ feedback about ways it could work better.

5. Fork Out a Little Cash

While it is wise to save where you can, good investments do exist. You just have to weigh your considerations. You have an existing income so it is okay to spend when the time or need is right.

Would it make sense to spend some money on inventory of your product prototype? How about Google Adwords and hiring an assistant to help with simple tasks you don’t have time for? You’ll want to spend a few dollars on networking and making business cards. Small investments are safe and beneficial at the same time, and in the beginning, legal counsel is prudent as well.

These small spends (aside from legal counsel) will save you time and headaches while building up your business.

If you’re not sure what is right to fork out a little cash for and what you should probably forego for the time being, always take it back to your product user. You want to invest in anything that will bring you closer to your market and enhance your customer base. This includes great website design for any online business.


6. Set Deadlines

Many entrepreneurs start off with an idea based on something they’ve been told they’re good at. Often times, that comes in the form of a hobby they’ve kept.

It’s important to remember that once you’ve decided to take that hobby and convert it into cash, it’s no longer a hobby. Sure, you can enjoy creating the product and experience the joy of a customer’s satisfaction, but you must remember to take it seriously and think of it more in a professional capacity.

When it becomes about business, it’s critical to set tangible deadlines. You’ll want to create milestones for yourself and not allow those to become moving targets. Be firm with your self-discipline and know that adhering to strict dates will help your business to thrive in the long-run.

Any kind of routine is healthy and positive, and creating tasks with deadlines for your startup is included in that.

7. Make Sure it’s Legal

It’s common to seek legal counsel for your business, especially when you are ready to become incorporated; however, a lawyer should also be sought out for having a startup amongst your day job.

Many entrepreneurs have run into trouble with their existing employer due to their startup being similar to what they work on at someone else’s company.

Be sure your idea is different so you don’t run into conflicts of interest. Ensure that your product and idea is not related and that you are using your own resources to accomplish tasks.

graph showing growth

8. MONEY Is Key When Starting Your Own Business

Once you start making money, it’s a game-changer.

Prepare your product as well as possible, using all of your useful customer feedback of the minimally viable product, or prototype.

When customers are satisfied, you’re going to notice a change in their willingness and interest to pay you for it. It’s one thing for a customer to support or encourage your product, and another for them to pay for it. When starting your own business, you want people to try the product.

Remember, they’ll reach this stage when you’ve developed that product with them in mind first – always focus on the product user’s satisfaction.

Mentally, nothing does more to encourage you than a real paying customer.

9. Stay Professional When Starting Your Own Business

Keep your company professional, despite the comfort of being an entrepreneur with a possible partner or two. Your paying customers don’t know the size of your staff, and they’re expecting professional services just like they would with anyone they’re buying something from.

To accomplish this, you may need some freelancers or virtual assistants. These people are a great help to test your product, do web design and marketing, customer service, supplying, and more.

Try helpful websites such as Fiverr or TaskRabbit.

Whereas you’re used to juggling and multi-tasking, you simply can’t be a one-man show forever. You’ll need some team members to retain that professional image for marketing your business better.

woman envisioning a social media network

10. The Social Network

Besides Facebook, Instagram and your SEO driven website, use your existing day job to network. At work, you’ve already got the in with employees, peers, and vendors.

Within the company, you can reach out to colleagues and share about your business and product. Word of mouth is your best friend at this stage of starting your own business.

Seek mentors wherever you can, whether its someone you don’t know well but you look up to, or its a family member or friend. Their advice is invaluable and their assistance will be much needed.

Once you’ve managed to accomplish these tasks, your venture is now a business. You’re still working full-time, but you’re on your way to leaving.

So far, you’ve tailored and tested your product using customer feedback, marketed and networked, and have successfully gained some paying customers. At this point you hopefully have found a dependable partner, some mentors, and virtual help and freelancers.

It’s not an easy feat to complete this task list. But with hard work and courage, it can happen.

Find out more about starting your own business here.


BluRhyn is a website development company that specializes in developing and customizing WordPress sites. Our team takes care of everything for you, from customization to maintenance. We strive to make your experience as our client as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible. Please reach out if you have any questions or need help with your site!