The world is full of people who are itching to leave their day jobs to work on their dreams of owning a successful business full time. For one reason or the other, they haven’t been able to take the decisive step.
Some others have developed an idea and are contemplating on whether or not it will be feasible to run their business whilst working on their full time job.
The founder of Scripted.com, an online marketplace that connects businesses with freelance writers for blogs and articles, posted an article on LinkedIn highlighting some of the lessons he learned during the period he was working a full time job, while trying to follow his startup dreams:
- Never use Company Equipment to do Startup Work
Do not use company computers, telephones, cell phones or anything else to do work related to your startup. Any intellectual property you create, including ideas generated over emails are the property of the company you work for during the day. Instead hang onto your own smart phone and send emails through it when you can.
- Never Work on your Startup on Company Time
If you’re in a meeting, don’t send emails. Do not schedule startup-related calls that coincide with pre-scheduled work meetings, etc. Schedule calls for lunch time and at night.
- Be Prepared to Sleep Less, and for your personal life to decline
If you can’t stay up late, I recommend either quitting your day job, or giving up on your startup.
- Take every sick day and vacation, use it to work on your startup
Rules are rules, and if you’re allowed to take personal days, DO IT. As long as you’re not missing deadlines, there is no reason for you not to take every sick day. Hell, if you JUST have a day job and you’re not doing this, you ought to have your head examined.
- Do a good job at your day job
Don’t do the minimum amount of work to get by. Do a great job at your day job, and what you’ll find is your boss will give you more flexibility and this in turn will help you get more time to work on your startup.
- Don’t be loose-lipped with your co-workers about your startup ambitions
Its always tempting to tell everyone about what you’re working on, but don’t do it. Instead, find one or two trustworthy people over the course of your first few months at your day job and talk to them about your startup over beers at some point. If your boss wants to Google you, let them go for it.
- Your public facing image
To investors, journalists, and just about all your friends (on Facebook and Twitter especially), you need to convey to everyone that you are working on your startup full time. Do not add your co-workers at your day job as friends, it’s a big no-no. In phone pitches to investors, leave out the fact that you are currently working a day job, and save that for face-to-face pitch.
- Use Your Time Efficiently
Don’t screw around when you have time to work on your startup. Schedule fun activities too – you should do that anyway.
- Leave on a Good Note
Whether you quit because your startup raises funding, or because you are just sick of your day job and can’t take it anymore, leave with grace. Treat everyone well, and don’t rub your success, or lack thereof, in your bosses faces.
- The End is Only the Beginning
If you think having a day job and working a startup at night is hard, try just working a startup. If you’re really into what you’re doing, you’re always working and time passes very, very fast.