You know you want to start a business, but you can't shake those financial pressures -- rent or a mortgage, a car payment and maybe you have kids. Even young people have responsibilities after all. But tack on the fact your business idea will surely take time to catch on, and starting up can seem even further out of reach.
You are a perfect candidate to become a part-time entrepreneur.
While not ideal for every young trep -- jumping head first into the start-up pool can be a preferred route -- getting the business up and running before letting go of a regular paycheck may be the best course. Here are six ways to make the transition into entrepreneurship a smooth one:
1. Find balance. Of course, this is what being a part-time entrepreneur is all about. Can you start up and maintain your commitment to your full-time responsibilities? If you get caught up in your business to the point that your full-time job suffers, people will notice and it will cost you opportunities and, potentially, the job itself.
2. Be patient. As a part-time entrepreneur, you simply can’t move forward with your new business at the same pace as those who can work on theirs full-time. And even full-time entrepreneurs never have enough hours in the day. Find the right pace for you so you can see progress without completely wearing yourself out. Be patient; you may not be moving as fast as you would like, but forward is good.
3. Bank your profits. At some point, you will want to walk away from your job and be a full-time entrepreneur. The money you save now will enable you to take that step sooner. If you don’t need it to grow the business, then save it for your future, but be prepared to put it back into your new business as needed.
4. Set flexible goals. As you build your business, you may find your day job getting in the way of your entrepreneurial goals. That’s OK. It’s what being a part-time entrepreneur is about. Watch out for a tendency to beat yourself up for spending too much time on your job at the expense of your business. Your energies will need to shift from one to the other as time goes on, and that’s OK.
Related: Related: A Not-So-Nutty Idea
5. Take yourself seriously. While you’re taking baby steps with your business, you and others may discount your plans because your progress is slow. Don’t let timing affect your long-term commitment. Find ways to remind yourself of what you’re working to accomplish. Don’t let others dismiss your goals. Remember that you can make this happen, it will just take longer.
6. Have an escape plan, if you want one. Do you want to be a part-time entrepreneur forever? That’s actually alright. Operating as a part-time entrepreneur may not have been your original plan, but if your business can succeed in your off hours and you enjoy your full-time job, why not?
However, if your entrepreneurial plans include running your dream business full time, you need to define milestones and set goals that include walking away from your day job. What needs to be in place in terms of infrastructure, sales, product development or other criteria before you will be ready to quit?
What helped you make a smooth transition into entrepreneurship? Leave a comment and let us know.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.