Find Your Inner Entrepreneur: 10 Ways to Start Your Own Business and Still Keep Your Day Job

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Have you been thinking about unleashing your inner entrepreneur but unsure where to start? I know you’re probably teeming with ideas, but it can be tough to know how to implement them. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to help yourself on the path to success! Every millionaire and entrepreneur started somewhere!

1. Research, and then research some more
Slow down – I know you’re just itching to get started, but trust me, the path to success isn’t built while you walk along it. You need to pave that road well in advance.

“What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone. Know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.” – Dave Thomas, Founder, Wendy’s1

What exactly is your product? Who exactly is your target audience? Why should your target audience be interested in your product? Is your idea inventive and exciting enough that it has the potential to succeed?

Unless you know the exact answers to those questions, you aren’t quite ready to jump in. So do your due diligence and research, research, research!

2. Save money and have a budget
Devising a proper budget is the key into staying afloat and not sinking after a mere few months or years. You need to be able to save money from your day job, because any new business venture requires some startup capital; whether that means buying a domain name and building a website or hiring freelancers to outsource some of the work, you’re going to need some money to get you started.

“Having financial security gives you the opportunity to build your business on your terms,” says Daniel Gulati, the coauthor of Passion & Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders.2

“If you don’t have sufficient funds, you will make bad business decisions out of fear.” says Dorie Clark, the author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future.2

3. Outsource some of your work
I just mentioned outsourcing your work in the last tip, and I’m sure some of you are hesitant about this. It’s easy to get “Superman Syndrome,” which means that you want (and feel like you need) to get everything done yourself. This is your business idea, after all!

With that said, though, unless you plan on working on your startup during your day job hours (which is a big no-no!), or not sleeping (also a big no-no!), it’s going to be hard for you to get everything done that you need to.

“Most entrepreneurs have great talents but many times they think they can do it all,” Laura Lee Sparks, Founder and CEO of Legal Marketing Maven, says. “That can really stall the growth of the business. By outsourcing the day to day back-office tasks, the business owner has more time to focus on generating income.”3

On top of that, do you independently have all the skills needed to get your business up and running? If you want your business to have a website and you don’t know how to code, it will save a huge amount of time (and thus money) to hire someone to do it for you, rather than learning the skills yourself and going through hours and days of trial and error.

Don’t be afraid that outsourcing will harm your business, either; it’s becoming more and more common in small businesses.

“More small businesses are outsourcing tasks these days because technology has advanced to the point of professionals being able to work from anywhere in the world,” Sparks also says.3

Outsourcing is easy to do these days, too. Websites like Elance and UpWork are excellent places to find skilled freelancers, as well as Fiverr (which is a dedicated site where users offer their skills and services for only $5!)

4. Don’t rush into anything
Time management of your current job and your ‘business in the making’ is of paramount importance; I really can’t emphasize that enough! If you don’t take your time with things, you’ll end up cutting corners both in your day job and in your new business venture.

“Launching a new endeavor while still employed full time allows you to take your time and test the waters to gauge its potential for success. And most importantly adjust for the next play.” – Israel Idonije, Founder and CEO of Athlitacomics.4

Preparation is the key to success, so take your time and make sure you have all your ducks in a row before jumping right into the deep end!

5. Make time for yourself
It’s hard having only 24 hours in a day, isn’t it? Unfortunately there isn’t anything you can do about that. If you’re working a full time job and trying to build a business on the side, it can be pretty easy to burn out or work yourself too hard. You can’t be successful if you aren’t healthy, both mentally and physically.

“…the harsh truth is that your business won’t last very long if you crash and burn out. If you can’t get yourself to take a break now and then for your sake, get yourself to take one for your business’s sake.” – Kelly Gurnett, entrepreneur and editor5

Trust me on this one; your business can’t succeed if you’re overstressed or overworked, so make sure to give yourself some time off. Read a book, watch a movie, or whatever it is that helps you relax. And most importantly, give yourself time to sleep! The nature of being an entrepreneur means that your business’ success is ultimately dependent on your wellbeing.

6. View your day job as a step toward your business idea’s success
Determination is crucial when you’re starting a business. Without consistent motivation, it’s easy for your business to fizzle out until it’s just a lingering thought in the back of your mind. Whether you love or hate your day job doesn’t matter. If your day job is something you’re passionate about, you can view your job as a learning experience for your business idea. On the other hand, if your job makes you miserable, you can turn those negative feelings into determination for your business to succeed.

One successful entrepreneur, Miriam Salpeter, words this perfectly: “It may be a long time before you are ready to leave your day job, or you may choose to continue to work for someone else while you maintain your business on the side. Think about how you can learn new skills while on-the-job.“6

7. Expand your social media presence
We live in the era of social media, so your social media presence can do all sorts of things for your business. Social media is being touted as the way forward for businesses everywhere, be it a fast food restaurant or a small, family-run dress shop in your local downtown area. Being active online can essentially serve as free marketing for your business.

Samuel Edwards, a successful digital marketing strategist, highly emphasizes this strategy: “Social media has become less of an optional marketing opportunity and more of a priority. In fact, platforms like Facebook and Twitter have become integral parts of brand awareness, content distribution, lead generation, and customer acquisition strategies for businesses. This is especially true for startups working with smaller budgets and grassroots campaigns.”7

Having a solid presence on social media can make your business’ success skyrocket. Facebook and Twitter can be used to build an engaged audience. LinkedIn can attract potential investors. Youtube can make you go viral, and even bring in revenue if you utilize its partnership with Google Adsense.

Whether you like, dislike, or are completely indifferent to Justin Bieber, I’m sure you’ve heard of him. But did you know that he started out as an average 12 year old posting videos on YouTube? His fame and success was entirely self-made by his social media presence!

Can you imagine how social media could impact your business? There are hundreds of successful entrepreneurs who attribute it all to being active on the internet.

8. Utilize the internet for low-cost (or even free!) educational resources
Starting your own business can have a steep learning curve if you’ve never done it before, and formal education isn’t exactly cheap, and moreover, it can be quite time consuming. So how are you going to find the time and money to learn everything you need as a budding entrepreneur, and still manage to balance your day job?

Like many of the other tips and strategies I’ve listed, when it comes to affordable education, the internet is your new best friend. You can take MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) from legitimate academic and professional organizations, as well as from successful entrepreneurs with skillsets you haven’t yet mastered.

Coursera, for example, offers over a thousand free online courses from over 115 top universities (including Harvard, MIT, and many more) as well as educational organizations.8

Udemy also offers thousands of free or low cost courses from both universities and individual subject matter experts.9

E-learning opportunities are virtually limitless, and the best part is, many of them are self-paced. This means that you don’t need to worry about rushing home from work to complete an assignment before its deadline, or stress about not having the time to study. Many of these courses also offer certifications for a small fee.

This ties back to my first point about researching; in essence, everything you need to know to about being a successful entrepreneur is at the tip of your fingers. It’s pretty incredible!

9. Maintain a positive outlook
Starting a business from scratch is not an easy thing to do. Not every strategy you try will work, and some of your efforts are bound to fail.

Now, wait a minute – don’t take that the wrong way! Failure isn’t a bad thing! It’s just a part of the process, and another step of the process toward success.

I can’t stress this enough: It is absolutely crucial to do your best to stay positive. Positivity breeds motivation and inspiration, whereas negativity breeds thoughts of desperation and giving up.

Nadia Goodman, writer and entrepreneur, truly believes that a positive outlook can completely leverage your chance to succeed: “By consciously increasing our focus on the positive, we start to even the balance. We find a happy medium where we can address failures and challenges without letting them get us down, leaving us more motivated, productive, and likely to succeed.”10

10. Take a leap of faith
Have you ever been skydiving, or parachuting, or bungee jumping? I don’t know about you, but those are a few activities that sound absolutely terrifying.

Even so, those activities exist because, despite how scary they may seem, they’re actually quite safe! And for many people, they’re even fun weekend hobbies!

Starting a business follows this same principle. The idea of creating something so monumental, in which its sole existence depends on you, can feel like the most daunting and impossible task in the world – especially when there’s no way of knowing exactly what’s going to happen.

Alan Hall, entrepreneur and philanthropist, has some words of wisdom on this, and I suggest you take them to heart: “High flying entrepreneurs have an abundance of faith. They believe they can succeed at any endeavor. Are you a business builder? Are you ready to take a leap of faith and launch your first business? Do you believe you can accomplish something you have never done before? If the answers are yes, my advice to you is start your journey now and be grateful for the spark that ignited your action to move forward.”11

If you want to start your own business, you have every resource and ability to do so. You don’t need to quit your day job and jump in with both feet, but I truly believe that every individual has all the potential in the world, as long as they’re willing to take that leap of faith.

So are you ready to be an entrepreneur? Do your research, take all of this advice to heart, and jump! Your potential is greater than you know.

1 http://www.businessinsider.com/101-best-inspirational-quotes-for-entrepreneurs-2013-9
2 https://hbr.org/2015/02/get-your-passion-project-moving-without-quitting-your-day-job
3 http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/204652
4 http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/241705
5 http://articles.bplans.com/how-to-manage-a-side-hustle-and-a-day-job-without-going-nuts/#ixzz3fFk9hlLG
6 http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2015/02/02/side-business-balance-with-day-job/
7 http://www.inc.com/samuel-edwards/a-social-media-guide-for-startups-and-entrepreneurs.html
8 https://www.coursera.org
9 https://www.udemy.org
10 http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225683
11 http://www.forbes.com/sites/alanhall/2012/06/04/are-you-an-entrpreneur-the-leap-of-faith/

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Monica Davis

About Monica Davis

Monica Davis has been in the business of influencing people to change their lives and helping them to develop their professional and business objectives for over 20 years. Monica Davis is a bestselling business author, speaker, trainer, media coach, award-winning television host and producer, and the publisher of Exceptional People Magazine.

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