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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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Published on October 8, 2019

How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

The late writer William S. Burroughs once said that “When you stop growing, you start dying.” It might have a morbid undertone, but it’s one hundred percent true in terms of one’s career.

The days of finding a job with one company that you can stick with for 30 years, and simply relax as you move up its company escalator are few and far between in today’s world. This isn’t necessarily bad news. On the contrary, it means that you’re the one in charge of shaping your career advancement.

By putting these principles and behaviors into practice, you’ll begin to see how to advance your career quickly. Ready? Let’s get started…

1. Define What Success Is for You

There’s no right or wrong definition of what success in your career looks like. The important thing is to figure out what success looks like for YOU. It might, and probably will, change along the way, but if you don’t have some sort of milestone on the horizon, then you won’t know which direction to go in.

Think about success in your career in terms of one year, five years, and 10 years. Once you have that, it’s time to lace up your boots and get to work.

2. Learn How to Develop and Follow a Plan

Nobody just stumbles upon success accidentally. Sure, they may stumble upon breakthroughs or new methods accidentally, but all success stories have one thing in common — a plan.

Establish a timeline for the things that you want to achieve in your career in the next year, five years, 10 years, and so on. Consider the skills that you’ll need to learn to make these things happen and work on acquiring them.

3. Surround Yourself With Those Better Than You

It’s a rule of thumb among musicians that if you want to get better, then you need to get out of the bedroom and play with people who are better than you.

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By surrounding yourself with people who are better than you and where you want to be, you’ll not only see how these people climbed to where they are in their respective fields, but you’ll learn from them and naturally want to push yourself to be better in your own job as well.

4. Seek Out a Mentor(s)

A mentor will not only be able to help you refine and reach your career goals, but will be invaluable in landing promotions and finding unadvertised job openings.

One unique approach is to work on fostering a relationship with a mentor both within and outside of your company. This will help in giving you different perspectives as you rise up through the ranks in your company and career overall.

5. Stop Wasting Your Mornings

You may not think you’re a morning person, but if you can learn to be one, you’ll thank yourself 10 years down the road.

Prepare a to-do list of tasks that you want to accomplish the day before and work on knocking them out for at least one hour before you respond to morning emails. The problem with responding to emails first, is you’re giving your attention to somebody else’s agenda, instead of plotting your own course for the day.

6. Arrange or Attend a Networking Party

If you’re attending networking events simply because you might get a few free drinks, you’re doing them wrong. These events are great for meeting new people and forming relationships. Your goal shouldn’t be to get hired by the end of the night, but to simply make a good impression by being friendly and authentic. So what’s next?

Reach out a few days later via email or on social media to follow up and connect!

7. Pick Up Some New Skills

Nobody wants to be the old dog that can’t learn any new tricks. To move up in your career, you’re going to likely need to pick up new skills along the way. Maybe your company offers on-the-job training or you have the option of taking online classes at night.

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By learning new skills, you’ll not only be able to expand upon what you can already do, but you’ll make yourself more valuable to your employer and future employers.

8. Exploit the Benefits Already at Your Disposal

Remember what we just said about the possibility of your company providing on-the-job training? Take advantage of these sorts of benefits!

If you’re working for a company that allows you to job shadow other employees or has company mixers, you should attend these. They not only allow you to develop your skills within the company, but show seasoned executives within your field that you’re interested in more than just clocking in for a paycheck.

9. Make Yourself Indispensable

Good help is hard to find and employers want to retain outstanding employees. If you can learn to make yourself indispensable to your company, you’ll not only communicate that you’re successful, but will have a lot more job security. What’s this entail though?

It’s actually not all that difficult. By being reliable, adapting to new challenges, and holding your own work and performance to a high standard, you’ll stand out among your peers and others will take notice. Easy enough, right?

10. Get Off the Fence

People who advance in their careers are those who don’t shy away from voicing their opinion and stand up with authority when the opportunity arises.

If a problem arises in your company and you think you might have a solution or are willing to work to find one, then let others know. Employers value and promote problem solvers. Start off with something small and work your way up towards tackling more difficult tasks and projects.

11. Don’t Wait for More Responsibility, Ask for It

If you want more responsibility in your job, then be open about it with your manager. Your manager may be so busy with their own work that they weren’t aware you were looking for more challenges.

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Just make sure you can handle it and that you already show strong performance in your current duties. And if your manager doesn’t seem supportive about offering you more responsibility, well, then it could be time to look for new employment.

12. Stop Wasting Time on What You Don’t Want

If your career goals start with “I should do this…” there could be a problem. This kind of language in referring to goals can doom them to failure because the want isn’t there.

Consider using the RUMBA method (Reasonable, Understandable, Measurable, Behavioral and Agreed) when setting your goals. That “agreed” part should really be “want.” By going after career goals that you actually want to accomplish, you’re much more likely to achieve them.

13. Seek Out Feedback and Apply It

Simply doing your job might not always push you up in your career advancement. Too often, employees just assume that their bosses will notice their performance strides and reach out when the time is right to advance.

Don’t be afraid to regularly seek out feedback and ask for constructive criticism. It not only shows that you value your manager’s opinion but demonstrates that you care about your job and want to become better in your chosen field.

14. Pick Your Bosses Wisely

Advancing in your career can move a lot quicker if you’re working for the right people. If your boss isn’t any good at their job or doesn’t value you, then moving up could become difficult.

A great boss though, will be able to help you capitalize on your strengths and be an advocate for your success. If there aren’t any strong developers of talent in your management chain already, then look around for some and seek them out as mentors.

15. Learn to Develop Your Sense of Timing

The odds of asking for a promotion or raise are in your favor with over 70 percent of respondents to a survey from PayScale reporting some success. One thing to keep in mind that can make all the difference is when you ask.

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Some corporate cultures may prefer that employees reach out about advancement during their annual review, but maybe you work for a more free-spirited startup. The best approach may be to take note of when others advance and ask about how the organization handles employee development.

16. Work Hard and Promote Yourself

Working hard and delivering a solid job performance are the keys to advancing in your career no matter what field you’re in. This doesn’t mean you need to be completely humble about your accomplishments either.

Keep a record of your positive impact within the organization and let others both within your company and your field know that you’re enthusiastic about your role and work.

17. Don’t Just Build Your Network… Cultivate It

It’s way too easy to add new people to your LinkedIn network and then forget about them for all eternity. Rather than just collecting business cards or social media contacts, you should be cultivating relationships with the ones you already have.

Follow up with people that you haven’t spoken to in a while, offer to connect them with somebody you know in their field, or ask about a new job title they may have taken on. Doing so could be the spark that leads to a potential job referral.

18. Join a Professional Organization

The National Association of (insert your industry here) and other professional organizations can still offer a great wealth of advantages from networking to industry insights, and skill development.

Even outside of professional organizations dedicated to particular job fields, civic organizations can also be fantastic for making new contacts. After all, so much about career advancement is who you know, and you never know who you’ll meet who knows somebody else who is looking for someone with your skills and experience.

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Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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