How Entrepreneurs Can Get and Keep a Day Job

How Entrepreneurs Can Get (and Keep) a Day Job

You have always wanted to be a small business owner. After a few years working for other people, establishing some savings and gaining industry experience, you quit the employee lifestyle and jump head-first into entrepreneurship. Your business might not be an immediate success, but you can sustain yourself sufficiently as your small venture grows.

That’s the dream.

This is the reality: About 20 percent of small businesses fail in their first year, and about half no longer exist after five years. Since the recession, investors have been more tight-fisted than in previous eras, and business growth has been relatively slow. Therefore, your business probably won’t turn a true profit for several years after its founding. As a result, you could be living off your savings for much longer than you expect, and digging hard into your emergency fund is never sound financial action.

To keep your entrepreneurial dreams and yourself alive and well, you should consider maintaining employment during your first few years as a business owner. Here’s how to thrive in a day job while devoting nights to building a small business:

Apply for the Right Jobs

You have to choose one: successful entrepreneurship or successful employment. Because you want to devote most of your creative energy to your startup, you shouldn’t look for a job that is going to demand long hours and thoughtful work. Professional resume writers can help you tailor your application documents to ensure you qualify for such roles.

The right day job for an entrepreneur is one that is reliable and well-paying, not one that promises quick promotion and opportunities for extra responsibility. In fact, obtaining a job you enjoy might be a disadvantage because it could disincentivize building your business. As long as you are doing the minimum to take home a sufficient paycheck, you are maintaining an effective day job.

Tell Employers the Truth

Employers aren’t stupid; you’ll learn this when you become one. Whether you mean to reveal your intentions or not, your boss at your day job will recognize that you aren’t putting in 110 percent, that you aren’t engaged and invested in your position, and that you are using your job as a reliable paycheck before you can move onto something bigger and better.

As soon as possible, you should tell your employer about your entrepreneurial dreams. You can explain that you are developing a startup, but it isn’t profitable enough to allow you to become fully self-employed just yet. It is wise to hedge when confronted about when you will leave your position; after all, you might not be sure if your concept is viable or if your business plan will carry you more than a year. Additionally, informing your employer of your intentions isn’t an opportunity for you to fully slack off at your day job — that’s a recipe for termination. Instead, you should tell the truth and commit to your day job’s work.

Practice Impeccable Time Management

If 40 hours of your week are devoted to your day job, and if you devote a meager 6 hours a night to sleeping, you have just 86 hours per week left to spend building your business. This means you need to learn how to maximize your time if you want to go anywhere in entrepreneurship.

Taking advantage of your free time means avoiding empty activities like watching television and Netflix and scrolling mindlessly through social media. You might need to suspend those accounts while you focus on your startup. You might also need to develop time-maximizing habits like waking up early, staying up late, buying prepared foods, and telecommuting as much as possible. Instead of worrying or whining about your lack of free time, you should work toward making the most of what you have.

Stay Motivated and Impassioned

The worst thing that can happen to an entrepreneur is the loss of passion. When you burn the candle at both ends, you run the risk of burning out — and burnout is a serious mental illness that can set your startup back years. Burnout often manifests as pessimism, irritability, fatigue, and even depression, all of which have negative effects on your budding business.

The best way to avoid burnout is to build stress-relieving activities into your schedule. No matter what, you need to eat, sleep, and exercise, and you should also dedicate time to social events every so often. Then, you can transform your distaste for your day job into motivation to build your business better and faster, so you can finally jump head-first into entrepreneurship.

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