When I accepted a position at a software development company after college, I was clear with them from the start. During the interview, they asked about my passion and my goals. I shared that I was passionate about real estate and planned to work full-time for myself in real estate by 30. My job choice at the time was based on how it would ultimately benefit my goal. I went into a startup environment where I learned how to run a business and wear a lot of hats. My job gave me the skills and tools to run my own business. At the age of 27, my company had hit the seven-figure mark and, true to my word, I made my exit. Juggling a full-time job with a side hustle will definitely keep you busy. But the payoff in the end, when you’re successful and you achieve your entrepreneurial dreams, is worth it.
My husband and I launched our business fresh out of college with student loans to pay off and no experience in our field. We’ve not only built a business to support our family and our employees, but we’ve created an impact in our local community. It’s everything we dreamed of and, yes, planned for.
Unrest can lead to new opportunities
A survey conducted in 2019 found that 67% of Americans wanted to quit their jobs to follow their entrepreneurial dreams. After everything we’ve been through over the past 18 months (not to mention centuries), the dream is still alive. In fact, according to a study by Kauffman, 2020 had the highest rate of new entrepreneurs of any other year, including a substantial increase over 2019.
None of this should be surprising. Sure, the last year has been chaotic, but wealth is typically built out of chaos. When there is unrest and uncertainty about what comes next, some people run … but that only creates opportunities for others. Right now, the opportunities are there. You need to keep your eyes open and pay attention to where they are. And while many of us dream of walking into our boss’ office and quitting, it’s not necessarily your best option.
Your current job and income is a huge asset
Most aspiring entrepreneurs can’t just quit their jobs. To be successful with your startup, you need capital, and you need to know your new gig can not only support you and your family in the absence of your normal 9- 5 but that you’ll have the money you need to launch your business right. There are a lot of considerations you’ll need to factor in so that financially, you can be a success in your new venture. For example, have you ever researched how much health insurance costs when not subsidized by your employer?
Here are four ways to leverage your full-time job in order to fund your entrepreneurial dreams:
Learn how to save your money
It’s important for the long-term success of your new business to not start off in a giant financial hole. If you launch with tons of debt and bad credit, it will cost you more in the long run. Use your day job to pay down debt and create an emergency fund. Take advantage of your regular paycheck, and save as much as you possibly can. This will ensure that as a business owner, you aren’t forced to make decisions based on fear but, instead, from a place of calm and abundance.
Don’t rush to make expensive business decisions
One of the huge mistakes new founders make when following their entrepreneurial dreams and launching their business is rushing into decisions that are a waste of both time and money. Staying at your job allows you to bide your time. You’ll be able to put in the due diligence to validate your business idea. The market research process can take quite a while. Without other sources of income, your clock will be ticking loud and fast, causing you to rush through things that take time. When you launch, you want to do it right the first time. Otherwise, it will fail, and you will lose all the resources you’ve invested.
Use your extra funds to hire a business coach
Oftentimes, the biggest hurdle to success for a lot of people is you can’t know what you don’t know and, chances are, you can’t just Google your way around everything. You can learn from the school of hard knocks or avoid a lot of headaches and invest in a coach. Good business coaches are there to help you see the blind spots and help you see better routes to take. By keeping your full-time gig, you’ll have the money to spend on a coach that will save you a lot more money in the long run.
You’ll need to spend money to make money
Outsource when possible. A lot of people will try to save money when they are strapped for cash by learning a million things outside of their zone of genius. But guess what? That’s exactly what it is: outside of your zone. In actuality, you’re wasting more time and money. Having the ability to pay for professionals and consultants to complete tasks that fall into their zone of genius also means they’ll be done to a high standard, reducing the chances that you’ll have to redo work.
As you can see, there are a lot of benefits to staying employed when you first launch your business. You don’t have to juggle two jobs forever. Set a clear goal of milestones you’d like to achieve before leaving and, when you meet them, gracefully make your exit. Remember, don’t let pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams damage your current career. Relationships are super important to your success. You never know who can open the door to your million-dollar dream contract once you transition to full-time entrepreneurship.
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Originally published Aug. 31, 2021.