Advertising
Advertising

17 Steps To Start Your Own Business Even If You’re Working Full Time

17 Steps To Start Your Own Business Even If You’re Working Full Time

Don’t let a 40 hour week working life put your dreams on hold – every spare hour is an opportunity to get your own business up and running. Starting up a company whilst being employed eliminates a lot of pressure, and removes risk.

Follow these steps and begin your journey to being boss of your own successful business.

1. Establish your passion

Has a business idea been brewing inside you for a while now? Buy a new notebook and write it down. Voila! You’ve just made the first step in making this idea become a reality.

2. Set your mission

Establishing your vision is a simple next step, it gives your business focus. Writing a mission statement is about your planned impact on your customers and society; whilst establishing your vision is about where your business is going. Both are integral to starting your own business.

Advertising

3. Evaluate your lifestyle

Next, assess when you can work on your own business. Note down your working hours and any other commitments you may have – kids and family time, hobbies you just can’t live without, and it will soon become clear where there are gaps for your new business working hours will fit.

4. Embrace the digital age

Mobile technology makes working on the go a breeze. Utilize that dead time on the bus to work, or that lunch hour normally spent at your desk watching YouTube videos! That said, do not be tempted to disrespect your current employer by working on your new business during paid hours – remember this job is paying your bills.

5. Make cuts

Cutting 3 hours of evening television down to 1 may sound scary at first, but just like anything in life, it will just become habit. Would you rather watch that episode of Breaking Bad for the fifth time, or work on making your business dream a reality?

6. Do what you love

Okay, so we know that’s very cliché, but if you truly are following your passion, your new business adventure won’t feel like work at all, and making the aforementioned cuts will be easy.

Advertising

7. Consider a friend

Just like having a gym-buddy to motivate you and keep you on track, inviting a friend along at this start-up stage could not only offer much needed encouragement and ensure you’re committed, but could even bring new ideas and skills to the table. Definitely one to consider.

8. Know how

You’ve set out the ‘What’, the ‘When’, the ‘Why’, and the ‘Who’; now to establish the ‘How’. This should include immediate next steps, mid-term goals and long term plans. Write it all out, and add as much detail as possible. This will make a great guide to come back to.

9. Set realistic goals

When setting targets for your business it pays to remember you are doing this alongside your current role. Your goals should be achievable as long as you are aware they’re going to take longer than if you were working on your business full time.

10. Play on your skills

Start with an advantage – your own experience, your skills and your passion are your advantage. If marketing is second nature to you, be sure to utilize your talents. Reflect on the expertise gained in your current role which could be invaluable too.

Advertising

11. Do your research

When playing on your skills, be sure not to be over confident and make assumptions which could later turn out to be costly mistakes. Always research your new business’ field, industry challenges, current trends and best practices.

12. Work on your weaknesses

Even if you consider yourself a Jack-of-all-trades, you will have a weaker area. Consider taking an evening course to learn a new skill, or just brush up on existing skills.

13. Measure & Monitor

You’re working away at your business, you’ve mastered being on top of the accounts, and maybe even achieved some of your initial goals. But don’t carry on blind. Gain insight into your business with statistics, and use the data to assess strategic performance. This will help you define next steps.

14. Use your annual leave

So you’ve set the ball rolling with evenings and weekends spent getting your business off the ground. Now consider dedicating some extra days to give your business venture a push. Use a day or two of annual leave from your current job each month to really work on achieving a goal for your new business. Establishing an achievable target ahead of the day off will ensure you don’t just treat it as a day of holiday!

Advertising

15. Stay inspired by others

You are not the first to start up a business while working full time and juggling other commitments, and you won’t be the last. Read up on what others are doing, and learn from their mistakes.

16. Take the plunge

They say when you know, you know. There will come a time when you take that daunting first step and cut the ties of employment. Be savvy and risk-adverse – be sure you have a fall back plan and savings in place. Make sure you have a plan in place for not only the first few weeks of taking your business full time, but also the months that follow.

17. Keep the momentum going

You’ve done so well to get to a point where you can quit your day job. Starting a business whilst working full-time is no mean feat and you’re on the way to becoming the entrepreneur you’ve always dreamed of! Be sure not to drop the ball, keep the momentum going and work hard. You are a success!

Featured photo credit: David Mulder via flickr.com

More by this author

4 Exciting Games To Play With Your Dog 5 Perks Every Entrepreneur Should Offer To Their Employees 4 Ways To Launch A Better Website With A Smaller Budget 9 Things To Make Travelling That Little Bit Easier Night train at Budapest Keleti How to Sleep Well and Stay Safe on a Night Train

Trending in Entrepreneur

1 How to Start a Company from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide) 2 15 Best Books for Entrepreneurs to Start Reading Right Now 3 How to Start a Successful Business and Increase Your Profits 4 12 Foolproof Tips for Entrepreneurs to Be Successful in a New Venture 5 How to Start an Online Business That Will Grow and Succeed

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on December 13, 2018

How to Start a Company from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide)

How to Start a Company from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide)

If you’ve ever thought about starting and running your own business, you’re not alone. Being your own boss, having flexibility with your schedule and keeping more of the financial rewards that come with business ownership are all good reasons to own your own company.

But as you might expect, it’s not all vacations and fat bank accounts. According to the SBA, 2/3 of businesses survive at least 2 years and approximately 50% survive 5 years.[1] So why is the failure rate so high? At least for the businesses that fail early on, lack of, or poor planning can be a major factor.

So how to start a company?

Starting a business from scratch doesn’t have to be hard or complicated, but it does take planning and work. Here are the first and most important 9 steps to take when your are starting a company from scratch.

1. Do an Honest Evaluation of Yourself

Do you work better in a structured or unstructured environment? Does a daily routine reduce your anxiety? What kinds of things are you good at? Does public speaking or making presentations make you nervous? Are you good at accounting and numbers? Can you handle the rejections you’re bound to get when selling or cold calling?

These are all important questions to ask yourself, in fact it’s a good idea to get other peoples opinion about their perception of you in each of these situations.

Whatever the answers you come up with for your evaluation, remember that’s all it is, an evaluation of where you are now. Think of it as a way to identify both your areas of strength and weaknesses.

You maybe good at public speaking which can help when raising money, but bad at accounting which just means that you’ll need to find some kind of help with that area of the business.

2. Evaluate Your Idea

If your business idea involves a new product or service (or even an enhancement to an existing product or service), it needs to be evaluated. This is technically called market research.

There are firms that specialize in doing market research for new products, but if you are on a tight budget, you can do this yourself.

First, if you can build a prototype for people to use, touch and look at that’s the best option. If a prototype is not possible or it’s a service business, then offer a highly descriptive presentation of the business plan complete with it’s unique benefits and how it’s different from the competition.

Then listen! Remember that this is not about others liking your product, this is not your baby that they are talking about. You want honest market research that gives you the best chance for a successful business. Take notes, when someone tells you that they didn’t like a feature or some aspect of your idea tell them ‘Thank you”.

After several rounds of market research with different groups of people, you should see patterns emerging about things that they both liked and didn’t like. Use this information to tweak your product or service and do another round of market research.

Keep in mind that you’ll never come up with a universally loved product, your job is to produce a product or service that appeals to the broadest range of your target market.

Advertising

3. Make a Business Plan

I know, I know this isn’t the “fun” part of starting your own business, but it is an very important step in creating a successful business!

Basically, you can think of a business plan as an outline or blueprint of your business. A good business plan should have the following elements:

  • Executive Summary – This should lay out the businesses product or service and the problem that it solves for the consumer.
  • Market Evaluation – This should talk about the market you are serving. Is it an expanding market, and how does your product better fulfill the consumers in that market.
  • Market Strategies – How are you going to penetrate the market and sell your product.
  • Operational Plan – How will the company run from day to day? Who are the key employees and what are their specific rolls. Do your key players have specific goals set for them in advance?

A final word on making a business plan: while lying is never acceptable especially when you are using the business plan to raise money, it is acceptable to “put your best foot forward”.

Playing up the positives while minimizing the negatives is almost expected in a business plan.

Besides, banks as well as professional investors will both do a more in-depth analysis before investing any money into your idea.

4. Decide on a Business Structure

You have many options here, and discussing them with your accountant or financial adviser is really the only way to know what’s right for you. But just to give you a quick rundown of the types of business entities and their pros and cons we will briefly go through them:

Sole Proprietorship

This is a common way for small businesses to get started.

The pros being:

Relatively low costs to set up (usually a business license and sales tax license).Owners normally do not have to set up a special bank account, they are allowed to use their personal one. Any income earned can be offset by other losses (check with your state!). You as the sole proprietor have complete control over all decision making. 

Finally, sole proprietorship’s are relative easy to dissolve.

The cons of using a sole proprietorship include:

You as the sole proprietor can be held personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the company. Some benefits, such as health insurance premiums, are not directly deductible from business income.

If you need to raise money, you are not allowed to sell an equity stake in the company. In that same vein, hiring key people maybe more difficult because you cannot offer them an equity stake in the company.

Partnership

A partnership is formed when two or more people decide to start a business. Although there is no legal requirement for any documentation to form a partnership, it is my advice that you never enter into a partnership without having a partnership agreement. (Remember, spending $1500 now can save you $150,000 in legal fees later!).

The pros of a partnership include:

Being relatively easy and inexpensive to start. Hiring key employees can be easier as you are allowed to give equity ownership to as many partners as you want.

For tax purposes, partnerships are relative simple as any income is treated as “pass through” meaning that each partner pays tax on their individual portion of the partnerships income (As of this writing, always check with your tax adviser).

Advertising

As far as the cons go:

It can be difficult for some general partnerships to raise capitol. Because it is a partnership, the actions of one of the partners can obligate the entire organisation. All profits must be shared according to the partnership agreement regardless of the amount of work done by any single partner.

Some employee benefits may not be able to be deducted on income tax returns.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

This is a very popular business entity for small to medium sized businesses. The reason for this is the cost of set up is not prohibitive and there is a separation between the owners and the company.

The pros of an LLC include:

Limited liability for the partners, unlike sole proprietorship’s and partnerships where the owners are held responsible for all of the companies debts and liabilities, an LLC provides some protection against certain debts and liabilities that are solely the companies.

Simple taxation, just like the sole proprietorship and partnerships, income is considered “pass through” and is only taxed once on an individual level.

There is no limit on the number of shareholders in an LLC. An LLC requires fewer fillings and administrative requirements than a corporation.

Corporation

A corporation is much more complex and expensive to set up. And a corporation is legally considered an independent entity that is separate from its owners.

The pros of a corporation include:

Complete separation between the owners and the company. Because the corporation is considered its own legal entity, owners can not be held personally responsible for any debts or liabilities of the company.

A corporation can raise capital much easier just by selling more shares in the company.

Cons of corporations include:

Much higher administrative costs than any other business entity. Corporations generally have a higher tax rate. Dividends are not tax deductible for corporations. Income paid in dividends is taxed twice, once by the corporation and again by the shareholder.

Again, this is just a short summary of the pros and cons, always check with your tax adviser about what will work best in your situation.

5. Address Finances

Again, not one of the “Sexier” parts of starting your business from scratch, but very important nonetheless.

So, you’ve done your business plan and an estimate of your start up funding should be included. It should include the amount of funding you’ll need to get you through your first full year of operations.

Now, how do you get that money?

Advertising

Self Funding

If possible, self funding is the easiest. You won’t have to go to banks and investors with hat in hand, or give up ownership or control of your company. But as we know, this is not a reality for most people. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of options available.

Friends and Family

They can be a good source of funding your business if they can see and understand your vision.

Remember that business plan? Pass them out to everyone you know. Then follow up, be prepared to tell them the total amount of money you expect to raise, the minimum investment you are looking for and what you will give in return for the investment.

For example, you give a friend your business plan and follow up with him/her a few days later. You can explain that you have secured funding for $80,000 of the $100,000 you need. You are selling a 2% share in the company for every $2,000 investment. How many shares would he like?

And when he/she tells you no, thank him/her and ask if he/she can think of anyone off the top of his head who might be interested? Tell him/her you really appreciate his/her time and if he/she does come across someone who might be interested to let you know.

Banks

These guys are happy to lend you money when you don’t need it, but all of the sudden they get stingy when you actually need a loan! This is where preparation comes in.

It’s a good idea to go over your business plan with an expert and maybe even have it rewritten by an expert before you approach either a bank or professional investor. Both will want to go over your business plan with a fine tooth comb, verifying all the numbers and data you provide.

You should also brush up on everything in the plan so that you can answer any questions they have with authority.

Crowdfunding

Finally, there is crowdfunding through sites like Kickstarter or GoFundMe. Crowdfunding helps to build interest, community spirit, and a customer base. It’s also an efficient way to raise funds. You can take a look at these tips to find out more:

6 Crowdfunding Tips To Get Your Project 100 Percent Funded

6. Register with the Government

As stated earlier, different types of business entities have different filling and administrative requirements. At the very least, you’ll probably need a business license as well as a state sales tax license.

Unless you are forming a corporation, there are many good resources on the web that will do everything for you at a minimal cost.

7. Assemble Your Team

Remember when we evaluated your strengths and weaknesses? Here is where we fill in the gaps!

Do you hate sales and cold calling? Great! There are people who love selling and wouldn’t want to do anything else.

Advertising

Bored to death with accounting? There are a ton of small accounting firms out there that will take care of that for you.

What about marketing? You can hire someone in-house or out-source that too.

Your job is to keep on top of all the different aspects of the business to make sure they are all running smoothly and getting the results you need. If not, it’s your job to figure out the problem and implement a solution.

Check out this guide and learn how to delegate effectively:

How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

8. Buy Insurance

No matter what kind of business you start, you need insurance! Yes, I know, no one likes to buy insurance, but it can literally be the difference between having a minor inconvenience and declaring bankruptcy.

We live in a very litigious time, even a minor slip and fall at your place of business could bankrupt you without insurance. If you need help finding a good agent, check with your local trade organizations or fellow business owners.

9. Start Branding Yourself

Has anyone ever ask you for a Kleenex or a QTip? We all know what they are because of branding, Kleenex is just a brand of tissue and QTip is just a brand of cotton swab. It doesn’t have to be as widely known as Kleenex or QTip, but you can make your brand a common name within your niche.

I once owned a manufacturing company that developed a product that was so popular that my competitors started co-opting my brand name for their products.

If you aren’t sure how to kickstart branding yourself, check out these ways:

5 Ways to Build your Personal Brand & Make More Money

The Bottom Line

Starting a business from scratch can be one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have.

But do you know what’s even more rewarding? Having a business that succeeds, is profitable and provides a good source of income for you, your employees and their family’s.

More Resources About Entrepreneurship

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next