Balancing your full-time career with your entrepreneurial spirit.
Aspiring entrepreneurs can strengthen their career and earning power without quitting their day jobs. Side-gigs — AKA “shining white knights” of 9-to-5 workers — are a saving grace in an age of economic instability.
Gone are the days when employees and entrepreneurs inhabited two different worlds. In these financially uncertain times, more and more 9-to-5 workers are rounding out their paychecks with cash from entrepreneurial ventures.
Employees are finding that drumming up business outside of the office not only puts more money in their pockets, but also provides a safeguard against the sudden layoff or cut in pay that haunts their daydreams. These enterprising workers are building their safety on online platforms and freelance gig one step at a time.
The problem is that job security does not exist anymore, and a lot of people, feel an incredible sense of uncertainty, frustration and even fear about that. At the same time, many people stay longer in jobs they don’t love because it’s not that easy to get a new one. In both cases, launching a side business based on your own creativity, passions and experience can help you move from a place of frustration to one of satisfaction.
Being entrepreneurial in your pursuit of a new venture on top of your full-time job gives you a new income stream, which can supplement your income and also serve as a backup plan in the event you do lose your main job, but even more importantly, it shows that you have something of value to offer the world.
While many people are initially motivated to launch their side business because of financial concerns and the desire to earn more money, as they became more successful, their side businesses met a much deeper need — the need to feel validated. Whether they were creating custom cakes for festive birthday parties or [doing] career coaching at night, their side businesses showed them that through their own creative entrepreneurism, they were making something that other people found really useful and valuable. This validation is especially important when you feel stuck in your day job.
Fact is, all entrepreneurial efforts come with some rejection and bumps along the way, from a negative customer review to a slow sales week, but you must focus on that big picture goal, the desire for more financial security and the desire to have more career fulfilment. Some days are inevitably hard, however, that’s when you have to step back and remember those bigger goals.
Entrepreneurs make great employees
Traditional employers get the benefit of having their enterprising employees pick up extra skills and experiences on their own time that they can then bring back to their day jobs. Employers often want employees who have entrepreneurial, e-commerce, social media and marketing experience. Running a side business gives an employer all of those skills. That’s what makes it a win-win scenario. Many traditional employers are also recognizing that their top-performing employees want the freedom to be creative and entrepreneurial on their own time. So they encourage them to embrace those ambitions, allowing them to retain those employees for longer.
Don’t think too big, too quickly
The alternative is to take small steps toward your bigger goal. Instead of creating a new baby product and licensing it to one of the big toy manufacturers, consider selling it yourself online. Spread word about it through blogs. You’ll likely get valuable feedback that you can then use to tweak the product. Then, if it still makes sense, you can consider working with a bigger company, and you’ll be doing it from a more informed place.
Find Friends for business connection
Finding friends is about genuinely connecting with people online who share common interests and entrepreneurial ambitions. Those friendships might blossom into mutually beneficial business relationships, but they start out on a more relaxed level.
Build social media presence
Tell your story. Many people fall into the trap of writing their “about me” page in third person, which can feel overly formal to potential customers. Writing instead in first person, and sharing your own motivations and the back-story of your business, can help break down that Internet wall so people feel like they are truly connecting with you, and vice versa.
Get started – don’t wait until you have the perfect idea or the perfect website. Instead, start small by offering a product or service through one of the existing e-commerce channels or social media platforms and see what clicks with customers. You can build from there.