How to launch a side business whilst working a fulltime job – part 2

If you are thinking about starting a side business while working full time, but are daunted by the thought, there are plenty of experts on hand to help.

“Stop sitting on your idea – start getting paid,” is the advice offered by the Side Hustle Business School, run by Naya, a brand consultant who only uses her first name professionally.

With a background in media production and web development, and having worked on many side businesses over her career, she launched her business school to help would-be entrepreneurs turn their own ideas into profit-making initiatives.

“I kept getting a lot of questions, from people who had a great idea or a strong passion for something, about how to get started,” she said.

“As I looked around at what kind of information was available on the internet, I saw why people were struggling. Lots of people give you bits of information, but there never seemed like one place that people could go to get all of their information.”

Side Hustle aims to solve that problem through its online programmes, offering lessons in video format that teach you how to make money from your ideas.

If you are considering leaving your full time job to develop a side business, her advice is not to quit too soon.

“Don’t quit before you’re making money on your own that you’re comfortable with,” she said.

“Get used to the entrepreneur lifestyle before you go full time for yourself. I think it is a major culture shock and I don’t think everyone should do it overnight,” she added.

“Practice talking about your side business when you introduce yourself to people. Practice saying no to events you might normally want to go to because you have work you need to do for your company.”

Ryan Robinson, a content marketing consultant for start-ups, based in the US, writes frequent blogs about managing side businesses. He also offers online courses to teach entrepreneurs how to grow a profitable business while keeping their full time jobs.

His course, The Launch Formula, firstly focuses on teaching students how to create meaningful blocks of time to progress.

“If you’re spending 30 minutes here or an hour there, expecting to get big results with your fledgling business, you’re going to be very disappointed,” he said.

“Starting a business is very difficult work, and without allowing yourself to free up large blocks of time when you can go deep in your business for at least 2-3 hours at a time, you’re just going to spin your wheels.”

Robinson teaches his students to identify those blocks by cutting back on activities that are not central to achieving their business and personal goals.

“It typically means less time watching TV, Netflix, surfing the internet, browsing apps, socialising after work during the week and other non-essential activities that aren’t going to help them move closer to their goals each day,” he said.

When periods of time have been identified then it is a question of being committed enough to stick to them.

“My students constantly remind themselves why they’re making these sacrifices each week, usually to create a more comfortable lifestyle for themselves and their families, so that the success of their business is tied to a greater goal than just the accumulation of wealth.”

Sandra Varley, a mother of two teenage sons, who works full time as an account manager for Interflora, and who launched her own online scented candle boutique, Glimmer candles, last year, said time management was one of her biggest challenges.

“The first six months I felt so guilty about my own business. I knew what needed to be done but I didn’t have the time to do it,” she said.

“I have trained myself to be focused,” she added. “I focus on three key things that need to be done that week and don’t look too far ahead.”

Varley recommended setting aside separate times for business, family and for personal things.

“My office is now for Glimmer only – I go in there to work and nothing else. The door is shut, a candle lit, and Glimmer is now my main focus,” she said.

“You have to be super organised and efficient. I make decisions quickly, don’t dwell, and if I’m not sure then I wait a few days,” said Varley.

“The best advice I was given was to create a media plan. I now target posts and blogs by day, week and month. I set the targets that are achievable for the time I have available.”

Even when busy, it is worth taking time to join local networking and business groups for support and tips, she said.

Varley’s full time employers have also been supportive of her venture and colleagues have offered mentoring support.

However, not all employers will be. Ryan Robinson teaches his students how to approach their employers when launching a new side business.

Generally he advises full disclosure.

“You definitely need to read and fully understand your employment agreements to determine whether or not your company has a formal side business policy,” he said.

“If there’s nothing explicitly written in the agreements you’ve already signed, it’s best to ask around your office or consult your boss,” Robinson added.

“Finally, if anything is unclear or you feel like you may be operating in the grey area, it’s worth investing a couple hundred dollars in a one-hour consultation with a local employment or business attorney who can review your agreements and give you a more definitive answer.”

John Lees, a career advisor and the author of Secrets of Resilient People, said it was important to think carefully about how to present your side project to your employer.

“The important thing is to be really clear about why you’re doing it because it might sound like an escape plan,” he said.

“You’ve got to plant all the right messages to say this doesn’t conflict, there isn’t an unhealthy overlap, my main focus is still my job.”

For some potential side hustle ideas, check out this post.

Nicola Smith has spent a decade reporting for The Sunday Times on both the European Union and South Asia.

Related articles