In this day and age where salaries are down, expectations and job requirements are high, it’s tempting to start a business on the side. Not only can it fulfill a passion that might be missing from your full time gig – but the truth is that is can help pay some bills. I know I’ve read a few articles recently (check out http://bit.ly/ci4R4R and http://bit.ly/bXWYTm) that suggest even white collar workers who traditionally worked only one job are taking on side gigs or even starting their business in their off hours.
For some, it will be impossible to go this route. If you have a high level executive position where you can run away with the company secrets, it’s highly unlikely that you could (legally that is) start a business outside of your full time employment. There is probably a clause in your employment contract prohibiting it.
But for those who are not under those guidelines, there are many benefits. Here are a few to get you started brainstorming your ideas:
- It teaches time management – When you have to get home to get a project completed for a client, it’s amazing how streamlined and task orientated you become. I know I’ve accomplished an amazing amount of project work when I’ve been under tight deadlines from multiple clients. You’ll find the same trend in your full time gig once you get started in your business. You’ll get twice the amount of work done in half the time. If you work in a company that encourages this – great! If they are not supportive, no problem. It will still benefit you in the end because you will be ready to leave when the day has ended – with your work complete. (Just make sure you are dedicating your time fairly when you are at your full time employer – as they are still your #1 client.)
- You gain access to professional development – often for free. When I first started working on my sales skills, I took free classes through workshops at the SBDC and read a library full of books. What I didn’t realize would happen is that by improving my sales technique – I would improve my verbal and communication skills across the board. That’s a skill that any employer wants and there are many others like this once you start challenging yourself to improve your leadership skills through your small business.
- The ability to network is endless – There are numerous in-person, online and virtual networking opportunities. When you are beginning your business, it’s natural to go through your list of friends and family – many who you probably haven’t contacted in some time. (Actually this would probably apply to many who have been in business for some time!) Share the good news and the announcement about your business launch. But stop to see how you can also help them. You might indirectly be able to benefit someone else – including your current employer. So be open to keeping the networking options open.
- It boosts your take home pay and doesn’t cost your employer a dime. I saved this one for last because I think this one is compelling for many. Wages have not gone up in a few years for many people. In many cases, they have remained flat or even gone down. So even if you are doing amazing work for your current employer, they might not have the room to provide you with the increase in payment that you deserve. However, if you seek out options on your own, you’ll never be dependent on “one client” ever again.
Now, I must caution you when starting your company, it’s going to take a ton of work, sweat equity and resource to get your business started. So it won’t be easy. But hopefully this list shares why it’s worth it!