Have you ever wondered what’s better, starting your business full-time or part-time?
Starting a business part-time helps you ease into entrepreneurship. This is especially helpful for first time entrepreneurs. You might not be sure if you really want to become an entrepreneur, but you want to try how it feels.
Your business idea might serve such a small niche that it simply wouldn’t work as a full-time business, but it will be the perfect side business for you. You might never be able to hire 50 employees and make millions of dollars, but it will provide you with a nice side income.
Going full time, on the other hand, requires your full commitment. You are taking the plunge full force ahead.
Which one is a better option for you?
There is no simple answer, but there is a system you can use to help you decide.
Let’s go through it and help you make your decision whether you should start a business full-time or part-time.
Starting your business part-time
Starting a part-time business can be just as rewarding and profitable as any other type of business. Consider what part-time means to you. Is it 5-hours a week? Fifteen hours?
Step number one is to create a success plan that spells out the details of your business. In it, you should list your goals and expectations.
Write down exactly:
- How many hours a week will you dedicate to your business.
- What milestones you must reach by what date. It’s not enough to say that “I am going to try hard”. Be specific, include dates, numbers, everything you commit to should be measurable. Set daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly milestones.
- How much time and money are you willing to invest in your business?
- What kind of returns do you expect?
- What does success look like to you?
- Part-time businesses are less complicated.
- Reduces your risks.
- You can keep your day job and the financial pressures are lower. You have a salary and benefits.
- Less pressure to turn a profit. Your cash-flow needs are smaller.
- Easier to walk away from it.
- Starting part-time is a good introduction to business.
- Allows for a more gradual growth.
- You can run your business from your home.
- You are more likely to burn out. Working full-time and running a part-time business is exhausting.
- Less time to do everything, including marketing, helping customers, etc.
- Requires excellent time management skills. Even with great time management, your quality of life might suffer, allowing less time for family and friends.
- Your performance at your job might suffer.
- Many businesses are unfit to be run part-time.
Starting your business full-time
- You can give your business your complete attention.
- You might get your business off the ground faster.
- Investors want you to work full-time in your business.
- The pressure might be too great on you as you make the transition from employee to full-time entrepreneur.
- You have less time to learn the skills it will take to help you succeed.
- There is a greater pressure on you to be profitable.
- You need a substantial amount of money saved to sustain you.
What’s your financial situation?
Make an honest assessment of your current financial situation. Can you afford to start a full-time business? Do you have enough savings to sustain you for at least six-months to a year?
If you don’t have all the money you need, take the following steps to get there:
- Pay off your debts. Start with the highest interests debts such as credit cards.
- Sell the stuff you don’t need. This is a good time to sell the toys you no longer use. You might be surprised how much money you can raise by selling your unwanted things.
- Move into a smaller place. Rent or mortgage is one of your biggest expenses.
- Cook instead of eating out.
You might be thinking, “hey this is going to take a long time.” I am not telling you that this is the only way to start a business, but financial instability will hugely hurt your chances of success.
Paying off your debts and building up a financial safety net is the smart thing to do even if you never start a business.
Important note! I don’t recommend starting your business on credit card debt. An even worse option is taking out a second mortgage on your house. It is simply too huge risk to take.
Assess your business idea
Does your idea work part-time?
Every business is different some will work part-time others won’t. Consider your business idea. Can you run the business part-time? Is it possible to run the business outside of your regular work schedule? Will you be able to work on your business in the evenings and during weekends?
Here are some examples of great part-time businesses:
- Pet care / sitter
- Dog walker
- Disco Jockey
- Blogger – Do you want to start making money as a blogger? Click here for my step-by-step guide on how to start a blog.
- Web designer / graphic designer
- House cleaner
- Writer – technical, creative, copy
- Photographer / Videographer
- Music teacher
- Handyman – contractor, painter
- Computer, smartphone, or software trainer
- Caterer / Personal chef
- Virtual assistant
- Jewelry designer / maker
- Makeup artist / Hair stylist
- Personal trainer
- eBay, Craigslist seller
Evaluate your personal situation
It’s impossible to reach your dreams alone. When your loved ones believe in you, they energize you. They give you the courage you need to push through the challenges you will face.
If your spouse is dead set against your idea of becoming an entrepreneur, your chance for success is slim to none. A spouse that’s not aligned with your goals makes an already difficult uphill battle unwinnable.
Considering the following to optimize the relationship of your spouse and your business:
- Use your passion to convince your spouse that you are doing the right thing.
- Keep communicating. Don’t ignore points of friction. The more openly the two of you communicate the more likely will your partnership succeed.
- Listen to your partner’s concerns.
- Share your feelings. Explain to your spouse what the business means to you. Keep an open mind about your spouse’s feelings.
- Have a plan for dealing with difficulties and the unexpected.
- Make a commitment to each other regarding your business.
Even if your spouse is fully supportive of you, there will be tough times.
If you have small children, taking on any kind of business might not be the best idea. As a responsible parent, you must know how much time you need to devote to raising your child. If your business turns you into an absentee parent, wait a few years.
Launching your business can put strains on your personal life. Starting and working in a business requires long hours of work, sometimes even nights and during weekends.
Conflict of Interest
When you start a business there might be a conflict of interest if you are competing with your employer. Most of this is common sense stuff like not using your employer’s resources. But, there might be some additional contractual agreement between you and your employers to consider. Review any documents you signed while employed, and it doesn’t hurt to seek the help of a legal professional.
The bottom line
Whether you start part-time or full-time, owning your own business can be a thrilling experience. The part-time option is less risky, but it doesn’t mean that you should avoid the full-time option.
Before you make a decision carefully consider your own unique situation. Consider the pros and cons of each. Make a decision that works for you and your loved ones.