By Evan Carmichael on February 8th, 2011
Ask Evan is a segment on this blog where I answer reader questions. This week’s question comes from Wezi:
Hi Evan Carmichael,
Thanks for the information you have sent me so far. My biggest challenge is how to start my business while I am working. That is, it is very difficult for me to be at my work place and at the same time run my own business.
I am afraid of quiting work, because I have my doubts in business.
It’s the dream of almost every employee I know to quit their jobs and start their own business but most people never take the plunge. Here are some tips to help you get going:
1) Use Your Job for Market Research
Hopefully your current job has something to do with the business that you want to start. This way you can learn about the industry, meet potential customers, and improve your skills while still getting your regular paycheck.
If your job has nothing to do with the industry you want to jump into then you might consider switching jobs so you can get more industry experience. If your longer term goal is to have you own business then you want to give yourself your best chance of success and learn as much as you can about the business you want to start before you actually go out and do it.
2) Negotiate Your Hours
When you’re ready to commit more time to your own business try to negotiate more flexible hours with your boss to free up some time. See if you can work a couple of half days, for example, or only come in Mondays to Thursdays. This way you can still earn some money from your job while you build up your business.
Note: make sure you’re adding a lot of value to your boss before you go in and ask for flexible hours. If you’re just an average worker it’ll be easy to say no. If you’re a superstar and they might risk losing you then it’s far more likely that you’ll get a yes.
3) Get a Customer
It’s a lot easier to quit your job when you have a customer paying your bills. A lot of entrepreneurs leave their jobs to start a business and then have to go back and get another job six months later when their funds have run out.
Find someone who is willing to pay you for what you do and work on their projects in your extra time. If you have a day off because you’ve negotiated time off then use it. Otherwise look at your after hours time to deliver on your projects. When you have someone who is willing to write you a check then you’re on the right path to starting a successful business.
4) Start With a Service
Product based businesses are expensive to get going and expensive to fix if something wasn’t quite designed well (which always happens with new products). Try starting a service based business first which you can get going with zero startup capital (just your time) and make it fit into your schedule.
As you build up a client base you can get to know their pain points and potentially release a product to help them. It has a much higher chance of succeeding because you’re building it around paying clients and you have your service based business to support you while the product side of your business grows.
Good luck Wezi!
Readers, do you have any other ideas for Wezi? How did you make the transition from employee to entrepreneur?
I’d love to hear your thoughts if you leave a comment below!
Photo Credit: Great Dream
Tags: blog, boss, business note, carmichael, doubts, flexible hours, half days, industry experience, job, jobs, market research, Money, own business, paycheck, plunge, reader questions, segment, superstar, term goal, thursdays