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Tips From Successful Entrepreneurs Still Keeping Their Day Jobs

Tips From Successful Entrepreneurs Still Keeping Their Day Jobs
Are you cursing every hour between 9 and 5 just wishing you had more time to spend on your startup? No matter how ready you feel you are to start your business, keeping your day job for a while may be a good move.
You want your business to succeed, but focusing on it full-time may not be the answer you’re looking for. If you take the advice of the countless successful entrepreneurs who didn’t take the plunge into full time entrepreneurship right away, you may just be convinced that keeping your full-time gig while your business grows is the way to go. So what do these successful entrepreneurs have to teach us about growing a business while working full time? Here’s what they have to say:

1. Make sure there is a market need

If you look at why businesses tend to fail, you’ll see that the number one reason is that they create things that there is no market need for. It sounds like it should be obvious, but it’s not. It’s actually common for entrepreneurs to believe their idea is great and that it should be a success, only to find out after a huge investment and time and money, that it’s a failure. In fact, Shari Senderoff, who co-founded Career Sushi, a career marketplace that connects the world’s freshest minds with the most innovative companies, says making sure there’s a market need should be priority number 1.

2. Plan

Planning is crucial when it comes to being successful. If you start down one path and find that it’s not quite right, evolving and being able to plan the right move to make next is key. Israel Idonije not only plays for the Chicago Bears, but he also is the founder and CEO of Athlitacomics a sports hero comics line. “Launching a new endeavor while still employed full-time allows you to take your time and test the waters to gauge its potential for success. And most importantly adjust for the next play,” he shares.

3. Maximize your time

Brandon Turner, who is a real estate investor in addition to working a full time job, points out that there are still 72 hours left in the week after you subtract 40 hours for working and 56 for sleeping. Even though you may have other obligations, getting rid of time wasters will still leave you with time to work on your business.

4. Don’t let “no” stop you

Sara Blakely created Spanx – a billion dollar business – while still working her day job. She was successful because she didn’t take no for an answer. Being an entrepreneur means being rejected. But knowing when to persevere, pivot or give up on an idea is key. If everything is telling you that your idea is good and that customers will want what you are selling, don’t let the fact that other people don’t see your business vision stop you.

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5. Be willing to work

David Heinemeier Hansson worked as a consultant before starting his company 37Signals. He warns that even though many entrepreneurs dream of being an overnight success, “building something great takes a long time.”

6. Don’t seek validation

Sara Blakely also cautions against seeking validation, even from friends and family members. In fact, she didn’t tell anyone except her then roommate and boyfriend about the company she was building on the side, despite the amount of work she was putting into it. Though your friends and family may be well-meaning, they may also try to talk you out of your idea because to them it might “sound a little crazy.” But what seems crazy today might be visionary tomorrow.

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7. Focus

Steve Wozniak continued to work at HP while he co-founded Apple computer with Steve Jobs. He stresses the importance of focusing on the problems at hand and getting things done. “If you can’t figure out a way to test something and get it working, I don’t think you’re the right type of person to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs have to keep adjusting … everything’s changing, everything’s dynamic, and you get this idea and you get another idea and this doesn’t work out and you have to replace it with something else. Time is always critical because somebody might beat you to the punch.”

8. Do something you’re passionate about

Leo Babauta is an extremely successful blogger who started his business while working full time. He also has six kids. His advice is to, “Make sure it’s something you’re passionate about — do it because you love it, not just to make money. If you do it for the money, you’ll eventually get tired of it and then you’ll be doing something you hate … and you can only do that for so long.”

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You don’t have to quit your day job to be successful when you start a business. These entrepreneurs succeeded because they knew that in order to make it, it would take more than just more hours. Knowing what to do – and what not to do – with those hours is what will give you the edge.

Featured photo credit: campuspartycolombia via flickr.com

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Jessica Sweet

Career Coach

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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