In an ideal world, you have at least a year’s salary saved up and you can quit your day job in order to focus 100 percent on your entrepreneurial venture. Unfortunately, that’s just not feasible for many entrepreneurs who end up being successful.
Maybe you have a family to take care of, massive student loans, debt or a mortgage you can’t negotiate lower, or perhaps the medical benefits of your current employer are just too good to let go. Many entrepreneurial mentors will tell you to quit your job, but if you do, who’s going to be putting dinner on the table?
Great news! It’s actually possible (at least for a little while) to keep a full-time job and be an entrepreneur. If you ask a sampling of successful entrepreneurs, many of them will say they had additional commitments when starting their business. I even started my first startup that sold while working at another job. A lot of entrepreneurs, like myself, have started companies in their home office, garage, or basement while pulling in an income from another source. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. You may want to work part-time, pursue a non-traditional income (such as flipping houses if that’s part of your forte) or give up unnecessary hobbies in order to work a full-time job and venture.
Holding a job and launching a business simultaneously isn’t a miracle, it’s simply being efficient. Here are a few strategies to make money and pursue your dream at the same time:
1. Consider your job in the right light.
No matter what kind of job you have, make sure you consider it as a blessing, not a curse. It isn’t holding you back, it’s keeping you afloat. You need that paycheck because otherwise you won't have enough money to live on while you get things going. You’re lucky, because capital from your current job is there every couple of weeks. Most investors want to see that entrepreneurs are investing in themselves first, and you need a paycheck or savings (preferably both) to make that happen.
2. Plan your days well.
It might sound impressive when someone works 36 hours straight, but you’re definitely not managing your time or your health with that approach. Actually, few businesses are built on that strategy. It’s the little, consistent daily things you do that add up to make or break a startup. Stop the busywork, get rid of distractions and give both your job and your venture the laser focused attention they deserve.
3. Maximize your time.
You have the same hours in each day as Oprah (really). Maybe you already know your job takes up 40 hours of your time each week (give or take), so account for it and figure out how to maximize all those other hours. Sleep should still be a priority, as should some daily exercise. Still, there are 72 hours in a week to do with as you wish beyond your 40 hours of work, so spend them well. Successful entrepreneurs manage their time, they don’t wish for more of it.
4. See your job as motivation.
The more necessary your need is to perform as an entrepreneur, the better you’ll do. Find “fuel” to pursue your venture. There are many ways to do this, whether you’re scared of pitching to an angel investor (your job means the knowledge that you still have an income if they say "no'') or you discover you’re wasting your commute listening to the radio (when you could be making hands-free business calls).
5. Outsource, outsource, outsource.
You know what your time is worth (if you don’t, calculate it!). Could you hire someone to do it better, faster and, ultimately, break even or make more money during that time? If so, do it.
Entrepreneurs know how to make the most of every situation and resource they have. It’s the best skill you can hone, and you don’t need to make a major change to start. Figure out today what you could do to better to maximize your time, get rid of dead weight and take care of both kinds of business.
Related: Can You Afford to Quit Your Day Job?