For most people, starting a new business involves a gradual transition from their “real job”. Often you can take advantage of your current employment by using a few simple tips.
There are several company perks you should utilize to fullest extent:
1. Training. If your company is willing to send you to training, take advantage of it. Find courses that will serve double duty; that is a course that will help you in your current job AND your future business.
2. Networking. Get to know as many people as you can. Your current employer may turn out to be your biggest customer. Plan on becoming a freelance writer? Get to know people in marketing. Plan on doing independent computer programming? Become buddies with someone in IT. You never know where leads will come from.
3. Find a mentor; preferably someone high on food chain. If you are fortunate enough to work in a small company, try to get to know owner or president. Observe how he conducts himself. Learn as much as you can about ins and outs of running a business. There are lots of entrepreneurs willing to take a new person under their wing.
4. Buy old equipment. If your company is upgrading computers or remodeling office, investigate possibility of buying some items. Many of those things could be sold directly to you at a fraction of price you would pay at an office store.
5. Build your portfolio. It doesn’t make sense to start from scratch; save copies of projects, reports, and presentations to add to your portfolio to show your future clients. Be sure you understand your company’s confidentiality agreement. You may need to make modifications in order to remove company’s name and names of its clients. You may also need modifications to protect your company’s intellectual property rights. Your goal is to keep essence of your work (i.e. show off what you are capable of doing) without violating your company’s trust.