There is no doubt that starting your own business and following your passion is scary and damn hard work. This is especially the case when you are working full-time to pay the bills and fund your passion-fuelled start-up.
Some how you have to turn up to your paying job (and be productive), be a wife/mother/sister/friend etc, eat, sleep and shower and then find time to put on every single business hat you can imagine to ensure you can turn your dream business into a reality.
The good news is – IT IS POSSIBLE!
Here are 5 key things you need to know to help you power through your first year of business whilst working full-time.
1. Adore Your Current Job
Once you have taken the amazing leap and started building your business it is so easy to fall into the trap of resenting your current job as it feels like it’s taking up all of your precious time. But there is no denying that your job actually pays you (unlike a product-based business which can take a long time to see any money, let alone profit!).
I practice gratitude around my current marketing role all the time! Look for all the benefits apart from your pay cheque. For me it is training opportunities, network building, acquiring customers and even domestic and international travel.
Look for every single positive your current job offers both you and your business – write it down and then leverage it!
2. Get your Boss and Colleagues on Board
Ok, so this can be a tricky one and you need to judge how receptive your boss will be about your new venture. For me, telling my boss was the best thing I did. In the early days I kept our business on the low down until I knew we could make it work and it was something we were committed to.
Once I told my boss and work friends it felt like a weight had been lifted and I am so lucky they are all super supportive. Having your boss onside really helps to ease stress when you have to ask for time off work or to discuss the option of going part-time whilst you work on your business.
4. Get Real with Your Suppliers and Stakeholders
One of the best things we did was be upfront with our suppliers about our situation. From the start we said, ‘Young The Label is our passion and it’s our future. But at the moment we are still working full time.’
In a product-based business you are constantly having to manage relationships and essentially get sh*t done on the phone, email and in person between 9am-5pm. When you are working for someone else it can get a bit tricky.
When we told our suppliers, from our manufacturer through to our web developer, they all understood, loved our vision and made concessions for us (ie. they don’t call us at work, will schedule meetings after hours etc). This helps to relieve some of the unnecessary stress and maintain those business-to-business relationships.
4. Stay Super Organised + Have a Life
When you are in the start-up phase and working full time it feels like you have no time at all (which is kind of true). The best thing that I have done is buy a weekly planner from Kikki-K and on a Sunday night I schedule in activities and tasks I have to complete for the week ahead.
I schedule everything in –exercise, meetings for work and my business, what I will cook for dinner etc. It may sound scary/boring/rigid scheduling your week to an inch of its life, but it actually helps you have a life when you are working two jobs!
First work out what your priorities are for the week, both personally and professionally, and then lock them in. From there you can see when you have free time and it helps to create a balance between work, your business and play (which is essential!).
5. Surround Yourself with Awesome + Diverse Entrepreneurs
In the early days of your business, especially a product business, it is super important to build your support network and surround yourself with awesome entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds. You need to learn everything they did wrong, so you can avoid making the same mistakes. Developing a product can be really expensive, so learn from others quick smart!
Shortly after we started Young The Label I was lucky enough to meet beautiful B-School members who constantly offer support and advice around building our online community. We also joined a large group of young entrepreneurs where we receive training on finance, sales, supply chain management, online marketing which are all critical when developing a product.
Note from Denise: You can find more about finding and creating a mastermind here.
From the beginning, find or create your own awesome entrepreneur pose. Have dedicated catch-ups scheduled into your calendar and relish their support, encouragement and advice.
You don’t need to be super woman to start your own business and maintain a full-time job. Just keep hustling your butt off and focus on your vision for your dream business and life, and you WILL get there!
Ainslie Young is a Co-founder and Director of Young The Label, a travel-inspired leather accessories company she owns with her sister, Meredith Young. Ainslie has a background in psychology and marketing and is on a mission to turn her passion for travel and fashion into a fulfilling business and life.
(Message from Denise – I personally have two of Ainslie’s bags and they are beautiful – make sure you check them out!)