For any part time entrepreneurs, how do you strike a balance between your full time employment and growing your business?
I find that it's hard to dedicate as much time as I'd like to the business and feel as though it's stalling.
In my book Solving The Puzzle of Owning A Franchise, on page 40, I cover this very question. If you draw a line left to right. Place Employee on the Left and Entrepreneur on the Right, some say that Franchisees land in the middle. That said, I believe a person is either bent one or the other. Meaning that it is also functions of RISK TOLERANCE, SELF MANAGEMENT, and LEADERSHIP.
You are either working ON your business or IN your business. ON's grow, IN's get paid. IN's are employees.
It is like being a little bit pregnant, there is no part time to business, only the allocation of resources is less or more.
One common solution is to have a spouse with a full time job. One entrepreneur per family! But you'd better make your new biz profitable pretty quickly, and be willing to take on 50% of child care and household duties.
The best approach is to determine what you want to do, set out a plan of action, and persue it. Part-time employees do not make good entrepreneurs and vice-versa. Entrepreneurs don't like being employees and employees don't make entrepreneurs. Entrpreneurship is a mindset. A person with an employee mindset will eventually give up the pursuit of starting and managing his or her own business. I have met too many people who have lost their jobs or are dissatisfied with their current job and decide to strike out on their own. They eventually end up becoming an employee again when the opportunity presents itself. Going it alone is not in them. Entrepreneurship is an internal drive that is not satisfied with working for others but would rather be the owner.
If you can't afford the entrepreneur pursuit at the moment, seek funding from friends family, or an angel investor. Otherwise, you will be pulled in two directions, and that never works for a business owner.
This may be hard advice, but my observation of those who have tried this dual path end up failing. Being a business owner takes a 100% effort commitment.
For me it's a tough balance - always has been. I guess in the words of the late Jim Rohn - I work full time on my job and part time on my fortune. Funny thing is, the part that used to be part time on my fortune is now my full time job and I now work part time on another fortune - Oh and guess what - I still haven't made a fortune yet ! lol. What is now my full time job is a growing business, built with sweat that has real value and will deliver a good return on investment further down the line. I was told to give up many times, but something inside just kept burning. It's a belief in what I am doing and creating that fuels me.
In most cases I think you just have to be prepared to work your backside of and forget about working 8 hours a day and think more in terms of as many hours as it takes.
The key point here - for me at least, is as long as you are prepared to keep moving forward, improving what you do and learning - in time you should find that the hours are more manageable and you will gradually transition from part time on your ideas to full time.
By far the hardest part for me was the stress of having a young family and trying to put food on the table. This gets very difficult as the full time and part time activities cross, meaning you are doing equal hours for both, but not earning enough to give up the full time job.
Have faith in yourself and never, never, never give up. Persistent action will win the day.
By the way - If you can only manage an eight hour day and the thought of any more turns you into a quivering wreck, then you might want to stick with the day job, because in most cases, entrepreneurial success takes more effort, much more. But you don't know until you try!
Having been there, i'd say that full time employment is compatible with clarifying your business idea, developing slowly a network, understanding and refining your model, even maybe build your product. But if you really want to grow the business you have to be focused or be with somebody who is. If you want to raise capital for example, you'll have to show your dedication as no one will take the business seriously if they don't see commitment.
But I agree that it can prove tough if you haven't set money on the side or have a family to feed.
Wish you the best and hope you'll find the perfect balance!
I like to keep things simple:
1) the feeling of stalling is psychological (odds are you aren't)
2) find a good morning routine for yourself perhaps including 1.5h of time to an important project first thing in the morning (before checking emails)
3) have a trigger that reminds you to take a break or that the day is over (for me I set the laundry timer for breaks and stop working when wife gets home).
It's tricky isnt it George! I am finding the same and to pay the mortgage I teach at a college 3.5 days a week, leaving basically a day, the evenings and weekends clear...this means plenty of spinning plates and its a struggle. In retrospect I should have gone 3 days teaching, I am facing long hours at the moment, but I guess thats the deal isnt it?!
Interesting question that I'm curious to hear answered. As a true entrepreneur, I've always been "all-in" with my ventures. I believed in the concept and my capabilities enough to scrape together as much money as I could then survived on it through sacrifice until the project finally took off.
No perks. No eating out. No vacations. No time off. No rescue net. Minimal sleep. Lots of anxiety. Total commitment. Great satisfaction when it all comes together. But that was lean before it became a buzzword.
I don't have full time employment, I made a conscious decision to only work 20-25 hours per week and stick to that. The rest of my time is for my 9y/o. As a Mumpreneur trainer, mentor & coach who helps other Mumpreneurs get the balance of growing a business and managing a family at the same time I have to walk my talk.
Mairéad Kelly - Mumpreneur Trainer, Mentor & Coach - Cute Honey
I have that experience. I believe it is critical what is your other job.
I believe I found the right combination. It helps me to improve my skills required for my business. But more than that, I am able to test my product there every they, notice the problems and get inspiration for improvements. It is actually incredible value to building my own business.
This is one of the hardest things to do. It is difficult to pay sufficient attention to a start-up and not short-change a current employer. I don't know anyone who has done (without short-changing) it but I know a few people who have lost money trying, because they cannot dedicate the necessary time.
Entrepreneurship requires focus and one cannot focus on two things at the same time.
Small Business Mentor
Hi George, that's exactly me! I have a full-time job, but also my own ideas I'd like to investigate further. I'm not even sure thery're good enough, so I don't feel confident in quitting to set up a start-up.
So I'm trapped in my full-time job-family-mortgage life and don't know how to go about it.
Hi, I am not a part time entrepreneur but a full time one. I choose 3 years ago to take that step. It is risky but as soon as you found out what you can do with all the time you have, it goes like a roller coaster. This is the law of attraction. Fully dedicated people feel your energy, your focus, your mission and your dedication. For me a job would be to much distraction. And, most important, I could not be motivated for that job, so that is a waste of energy. I would advise every entrepreneur, focus on your company and do whatever it takes for it!
This is always an incredibly tough balance. I've found the best thing to do is setup hours for each project or commitment. While there are always times when an emergency might arise this helps me a bit. The other thing that has always been incredibly helpful for me is to have separate email accounts that are using two separate applications. This way I am able to have one open and close the other and my mind is more focused.
This is a good information on how things are managed together. Possibly this information will help people here to balance and be successful in business.
However, this has been very tough for me as even the current "employee" status. A little time is available for growing the business and for the family. There are following points that have affected me and my business:
(1) Growing a Business requires an entire continuum of work including development of product & process, engagement with the government and regulatory, administrative work, establishing the market and increasing the sales.
I was able to do all during weekends / holidays or late evenings / night but could not penetrate and get the customers.
(2) The entrepreneur capabilities can't be built while in "employee" status,
(3) The finance management : as the income from current employment is being used for funding the business which has not yet started giving any returns yet. The process of growing business is being hampered.
This is always a tough balance. For me, I dedicate a few hours in the morning, before the employee job, and a few hours in the evening to my venture. I also squeeze in time during the day and of course all weekend. Some can't do this, especially those with family and children or other commitments. It's a frustrating struggle to be in when you want to work on your business full-time, but in the mean time you have to just simply find time. There is no other way around it.
The secret is to break down your plan into daily, weekly and monthly tasks to meet your goals. tthen do a reality check on what can realistically be achieved in the time you have allocated to the business each day/week/month. If you can only allow an hour a day, then be realistic and specific with what you will do with that time. This way you feel that you are making progress rather than being overwhelmed and "down" becuase it is not happening fast enough for you.
As my mentor often states, each night take 30 minutes and ask yourself, "Today, I worked 8 hours for someone else. How many hours did I work for myself? What did I do? Am I closer to my dream? Be accountable to yourself and always look to improve. Small steps only seem inconsequential. In reality, they are monumental!