Most of what you read assumes that at some point you’re going to say goodbye to your current job and follow your dream of working full time in a business of your own. For most entrepreneurs that’s probably true but what if you like your current job and don’t plan to leave? What if your business startup is something you do after your work hours as a hobby or a true small business?
Although some companies have policies against using your job skills to start a company of your own, an increasing amount of those policies are changing because employers are finding that employees who moonlight in other jobs gain perspective that may lead to innovative ideas.
Take the person who works in IT full time during the day and forms an LLC that helps small businesses market themselves on the web or the person who works for landscape company during the day and works as a landscape architect after hours.
These employees are gaining valuable experience that could make them better employees during the day. Does a company want their employees sitting in front of a TV at night or becoming more valuable in their industry by gaining experience? Your employer might even offer to help you.
First, set your goals. Planning to quit your job in the future or starting a business as something to do after hours are both noble paths but each will have a very different business plan. A full time business has to be large enough to provide profit for the business, a paycheck for you, and health and retirement benefits.
A part time business only needs to provide enough profit to make it worth your time and effort and enough cash flow to keep the business running.
Second, register your business. Regardless of it’s a part or full time endeavor, you should form an LLC in your state and have the appropriate licenses and insurances. Part time businesses can find themselves in a legal battle as easily as the largest corporation.
Finally, manage your time and energy. Business is important but your health and family should be more of a priority. If you can’t sustain the most important parts of your life and have two jobs, put your startup on hold for now.
There is no reason that your business startup has to become the next GE or Ford. If your goal is to have a truly small business, you’re no more or less successful than the larger business owner. With businesses like this, size doesn’t always matter.