Five Steps to Living Your Entrepreneurial Dreams While Maintaining a Full-Time Gig

By on February 1, 2013
how to pursue your entrepreneurial dream

By Stephanie Goetsch –

This is your year – the year you replace “I hate my job” dread with “I love my career” bliss

If loving your career involves (finally) giving in to your entrepreneurial dreams by launching your own business, strategize to reduce the risk.  Can we get honest?  It’s not always possible -or smart- to leave your current full-time job to start your dream job.  What about a steady paycheck, health insurance, college tuition payments, security and sanity?!

Luckily you can have both – entrepreneurial aspirations and a paycheck.

Here are the five steps to living your entrepreneurial dreams while maintaining your full-time gig:

1.      The Talk

Starting a business is a family affair that requires time, energy and sacrifice from everyone. Sit down with your loved ones and honestly discuss your passion, vision and what achieving your dreams means to you. Share you strategy for success and what your plans require of everyone, like your spouse and children stepping up and take on more responsibility. Keeping lines of communication open by making it a family decision is not only inspirational for all but can save you from feeling spread too thin down the road.

2.      Money, Honey

While some start-up businesses require very minimal financial input, even the most low-budget of businesses requires some capital investment to get off the ground: business cards, marketing, equipment, website, production costs, etc. Taking a hard look at finances early will keep you from jeopardizing your financial security a few months down the road. 

  • Start by evaluating what you need. Create a list of every potential start-up cost. This step requires time and research; get quotes, speak with vendors, talk to web developers – get a real picture of what your start-up will cost initially and throughout the first year (at least).
  • Now, do the math. Monthly Income – Current Expenses – Anticipated business expenses = Negative or positive?

If simple subtraction leaves you in the red every month, consider where you can save money. Is it time to dump cable, cooking more and eating out less, letting go of other “nice-to-haves” to save the extra cash? If you’ve cut everywhere you can cut and it still doesn’t work, consider elongating your start-up timeline. Maybe you can’t buy all of your equipment, materials and a fancy website right away, but can you extend the purchase costs over 6 months and still be moving towards your goal?  Sounds like a smart option to me.

3.    Plan It Out

Adding an entrepreneurial start-up to what I bet is an already a busy schedule requires a plan. Start by taking two  weeks to understand your current schedule – write down what you do and when; include everything from chatting on the phone with friends to running kids to dance class, cooking dinner and hours at the office. After two weeks sit down and evaluate; are there opportunities to save time here or there? Where can you better maximize your time with organization or relying on the assistance of friends, spouse or a neighbor? Now that you have a handle on the time you have available to dedicate to your business, create a timeline for your business – milestones you plan to reach – for at least the next 3-6 months.

(Need help getting your time in order? I love Peter Bergman’s “18 minutes: Find your focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done.”)

4.      Policy Check

Many employers have “outside-work policies,” regulations about what type of work employees may hold outside of their 9-5.  Avoid jeopardizing your full-time paycheck with a quick review of your employee handbook to make sure you are in compliance. If you are starting a business that has the potential to directly compete with your current employer -beware! You could be breaching conflict of interest, intellectual property or even confidentiality agreements by building a similar business to your current employer. Review all agreements you signed when you started your job to ensure you protect yourself. If you don’t have the original agreements, simply call to Human Resources and request copies of all “new hire agreements.” If you feel ANY amount of concern here, seek the opinion of outside counsel. A small investment of time and money here may save you from a mess later on.

5.      Help, Please!

Exhausted yet?  It’s time for reinforcements! Creating and running a successful business is a lot for even Wonder Woman. Surround yourself with professionals that can support you to success. Free resources, such as SCORE, free small business support, are available in most communities. Not sure if you should establish your business as an LLC or Sole Proprietorship? They can help. What to do come tax time? They can help. Yes, you are Wonder Woman, but even Wonder Woman had gizmos and gadgets – save your sanity and get the help you need.

With these 5 simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to managing your start-up, while maintaining your current full-time job – and a life! Good luck ladies!

 

Meet Career Strategist, Stephanie Goetsch

Need help determining your next career step? Career Strategist Stephanie Goetsch is dedicated to transforming professional lives from “I hate my job” to “I love my career” through her one-on-one career coaching, public speaking and career retreats.  Visit SparkCareerStrategy.com to connect with Stephanie and get your daily dose of career insight on Facebook.

For more information on deciding if entrepreneurship is for you, click here for a short audio from me jam-packed with info to help you decide if now is the best time to launch your dream business.

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Five Steps to Living Your Entrepreneurial Dreams While Maintaining a Full-Time Gig