Seven tips for starting a business when you work full time


Date: 23 August 2022

A young African woman is working on her home-based online business from her kitchen table

Starting your own business takes a lot of hard work. You're effectively building a company from nothing: finding clients, securing funding, and promoting your services. You'll have to learn a variety of new skills along the way, such as marketing, bookkeeping, and technical support, and you will have to get used to working long hours.

It may be some time before your business is profitable. You can't expect to set up a website and start raking in customers overnight. You need to establish your brand and recoup your initial costs before you can start to reap the financial rewards. It's for this reason that many budding entrepreneurs set up their businesses while still working a full time job. Although quitting your lucrative career might give you the time and freedom to pursue your business goals, it's useful to have an income stream to help you get by.

The downside is that the demands of your nine-to-five job will use up a great deal of your time and energy. You will only have evenings and weekends to work on your fledgling business, but at the end of a long day, you're probably far too exhausted to do anything productive. You'd much rather sit in front of the television and let your mind go blank. If you're not careful, your dreams of running your own business will fall to the wayside and you'll settle into your comfortable career for the rest of your life.

You need to be incredibly driven and hard-working to manage a business and a career simultaneously. It will be difficult at first, but once you have established a client base and a positive cash flow, you can then think about handing in your resignation and becoming your own boss full time.

To help you make it work, here are seven tips for starting a business as a full time employee.

Make a plan

If you don't have a plan, you will find it very difficult to progress with your business. You'll find yourself doing little bits here and there whenever you have the time, and you will fail to pick up any momentum. It's essential you establish some goals and work out a strategy for achieving them. Your goals should not be vague aims like "making more money" or "getting more clients." These are too general and won't give you the impetus to succeed. It's much better to create SMART goals - goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Sensitive. An example of such a target would be "make £1,000 in profits by the end of 2022." Such a specific goal makes you more accountable for your successes and failures and gives you a clear focus on what you need to achieve and when.

Save your income

Building a business is costly, especially in the beginning. You'll be surprised by the sheer number of different expenses from website hosting fees to insurance to computer equipment. Even though you're earning a stable income, it's sensible to be a little careful with your money at this stage. Avoid unnecessary expenses and try to put aside a portion of your pay each month to go towards your business costs. When you make your business plan, you should include a budget detailing all associated costs, and make sure you have enough saved before you proceed.

Use your downtime

No matter how busy you are, there are always little pockets of free time in your day. You need to learn to make the most of these. Rather than spending your lunch hour chatting to co-workers, why not knuckle down and respond to your business emails or call up a potential client? (Check that your employment contract doesn't prohibit you from doing so first.) You have several hours in the evening to be productive, as well as two full days at the end of the week. If you are organised and manage your time effectively, you will be able to make your business endeavours work.

Consider going part time

If your work from employment is really getting in the way of building your business, you don't have to quit outright. There may be a way you can reduce your working hours to find more time for your business. Talk to your boss and ask if you can go down to four days a week or work fewer hours each day. Even asking if you can work from home will give you more time, since you won't have to spend time commuting in rush hour.

Maximise productivity

All the most successful entrepreneurs have been in a similar situation to you, and the way they have made it work is through optimising their productivity. You need to figure out how to get the most out of every single spare minute.

The first step is to eliminate any time wasters from your life. Are there any activities you engage in that drain your attention without providing any value? You probably, like most people, spend too much time on your phone and social media. Although you may need them both for business purposes, you need to rein in your usage and ensure it is productive. You'll find you have so much more time to focus on the business, as well as improving your concentration and focus.


If you can afford it, outsourcing is a great strategy for time-starved entrepreneurs. Hiring a professional to take over certain areas of your business will ensure a high quality of work while allowing you more time to focus on growing the company and finding new clients. There are several ways of outsourcing work, from engaging a freelance to work on a specific project or task to working with a virtual assistant (VA) who takes on long-term responsibilities or ongoing tasks.

You can outsource almost anything from IT support and accounting to graphic design and sales. For example, you can engage a digital marketing and tech VA service to handle the promotion of your brand or a legal team to deal with compliance and insurance issues.

Don't neglect your career

While all this is going on, it's essential you don't neglect your career. If you spend too much time on your business and not enough on your job, the quality of your work will suffer, and your employer will notice. Although your dream might be to quit so you can run your business, you don't want to burn any bridges. It's possible things might not work out as you'd like, and you'll want a stable income to fall back on.

Copyright 2022. Article made possible by site supporter Jeremy Bowler.

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