One Foot In Each Camp
© 2002 Elena Fawkner
You have a full-time job but secretly you yearn to break free of corporate shackles and strike out on your own. You have a great idea for a business but you need income from your job to pay your mortgage and to feed yourself while you get it underway. Sound familiar? This article considers this dilemma and suggests how you might make break from paid workforce to your own full-time home business when financial necessity dictates a regular and uninterrupted monthly income.
This may be obvious but it bears restating: if you need a regular paycheck to survive, DON'T give up your day job until you have another regular, consistent income stream to take its place. This applies even if you are absolutely convinced that your business idea is a surefire formula for financial success. It may be, but even most successful businesses take time to get of ground and most have a few false starts before they finally take off.
If you can't afford to give up your paid income while you build your business, then you have no choice but to start your home business as a side project and run it alongside your job. To make any sort of progress in your home business, plan to devote two to three hours a day at an absolute minimum to your business.
Because your time is extremely limited, you need to be ruthlessly efficient with what you do with it. For example, can you find spare pockets of time during your workday? If you are running an internet-based business and use a computer as part of your day job, this MAY be a possibility but be careful here. Don't risk your job for your business if you can't afford to lose that income. I'm not suggesting here for a second that you conduct your business on company time, at least when you have work to do. If you have some downtime during your day, though, then do look for ways to use that time productively.
Other ways to squeeze time out of your day include foregoing TV in evening and/or getting up an hour earlier. In other words, get your priorities straight.
If your home business is related to your paid job, be extremely careful not to create a conflict of interest for yourself. In particular, do NOT deal with your employer's clients as part of your business. Not only is it unethical but, when time comes and you make break from workforce to full-time home business, those clients may well follow you and your employer would have every right to take legal action against you for breach of your employment contract.
Another difficulty you can get yourself into in this area is where to draw line, if challenged, between what is confidential information and what is just general knowledge you carry around in your head. You cannot use confidential information you obtained in course of your job in your business. Your general knowledge is not considered confidential information. Examples of confidential information include customer lists, knowledge of systems and procedures of your employer's business, trade secrets and like. For these sorts of reasons, it really is advisable not to choose for your home business what you do in your job.
It is a good idea to be discreet in workplace about your extracurricular activities. Don't go out of your way to advertise fact that you have started your own business. At best you will expose yourself to increased scrutiny of your boss who may be concerned you will conduct your business on company time. At worst, you may jeopardize your chances for advancement if your outside activities convey message that you are only a temporary fixture who will leave as soon as your business starts generating enough income for you. Although you may not be particularly concerned about career advancement because you plan to leave to run your own business, at least consider your position if your home business dreams don't pan out way you hope. It is very difficult to resurrect an ambitious image once you've let it slide.
Finally, and especially during this 'double duty' period be sure to allow sufficient time each week for relaxation and taking care of yourself. This means paying attention to your nutrition, exercise routine and getting adequate sleep and well as allowing for pure downtime. The demands on your body during double duty period can be pretty intense.
You don't want to be taking on this challenge if you're rundown, unfit and aren't getting enough sleep. All areas of your life will only suffer if you're in this state. So, stay ahead of game by eating right, exercising and getting plenty of sleep and relaxation.