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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common leadership styles and how you can determine which works best for you.

5 Types of Leadership Styles

I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

The Democratic Style

The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

    The Autocratic Style

    The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

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    The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

    While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

      The Transformational Style

      Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

      Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

      Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

        The Transactional Style

        Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

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        The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

        The Laissez-Faire Style

        The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

        In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

        Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

        You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

        Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

        The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

        Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

        I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

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        In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

        What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

        Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

        1. Context Matters

        Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

        2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

        When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

        As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

        “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

        The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

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        As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

        When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

        The Way Forward

        To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

        As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

        “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

        The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

        If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

        Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

        Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

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        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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