I assume for most people that want to start a side business, or have one currently going, that the future goal is to leave their day job and work for themselves full-time. For me, I don’t have plans to leave my family business…I might one day just roll WPamplify into Ballantine…or I might eventually sell my side biz. I like my career, but I also enjoy having a side hustle — so for the time being I’ll work on both.
This blog post is for what I assume to be the majority — you have a side business that you one day want to be your full-time gig. But before you jump ship too early, here are what I consider to be the 2 biggest benefits to keeping your day job while you hustle on the side and grow your business.
1. You Get Paid To Learn
If you’re running a side business that is similar to your day job, essentially you’re getting paid to improve the services you provide to clients on the side. For example, if your side business is computer IT services to small businesses, and you’re a computer technician at your full-time job, there’s some overlap and, as a result, part of the skill-set you are building at your day job can be applied to your side hustle. I think that’s pretty awesome. And I would even argue that if you’re serious about your side business…but your current day job is in a completely different industry…you should consider finding a new full-time job that is similar to your side hustle.
But really important:
- If your side gig is in direct competition to your day job, that’s a tough situation and you have to be really conscious of how you operate. Be fair to your employer.
- When you’re at your day job, be 100% at your day job. Again, be fair to the employer that is paying you.
- Look for ways to apply what you learn in your side business to your day job so it’s a 2-way street. I’m constantly doing that between WPamplify and Ballantine.
If you’re a sidepreneur that is being paid for a particular and similar skill-set, but you dread going to work, just shift your mindset. Realize that you’re getting paid to advance your skills. And also realize that you’re advancing other skills not directly related to your work. For example, how to communicate with people (co-workers)…how to deal with clients…and maybe even learning systems and becoming more business savvy. Being conscious of this should slowly make you more appreciative of your day job…or at least make it so you’re not miserable.
2. Less Pressure
Now I can’t really speak 100% on this topic because my side business has always been married up to a full-time job. Out of college I had two other jobs before I got into the family business — and I had side businesses during these jobs as well.
But what I mean about less pressure is that I have to imagine that if you were to take the plunge from side business to full-time, the pressure has to be immense. The income you make on the side is now your sole source of income. If you have a family, the pressure is even greater. Even if you have a fat nest egg built up in your savings account, I would imagine the pressure is less but still high.
With WPamplify, I make enough income now that I feel the pressure to keep it going, but it’s not crazy pressure. It’s very manageable and I still enjoy growing and managing the business. But if I didn’t have my income from Ballantine, I have to imagine the pressure would be scaled up big-time. You hope that if that’s the case, you’d step up to the plate and hustle your way to more business, but it doesn’t change the pressure and stress you’d feel.
By working your side business while you have a full-time job, their is less pressure financially because you’re not relying on it as your sole source of income. This enables you to focus more clearly on growing the business. Your mind is more clear to put systems in place and to get comfortable and confident as a business owner. And then you’ll get to the point where you can transition into your full-time job with more confidence and less pressure (less, not none).
If your sidepreneurial plans include one day going full-time, my advice is keep running the side business and day job together until you can’t anymore. Maybe that’s because your side business is going so well, it demands more of your time. Or maybe financially you’re at a place where you feel confident taking the plunge. No time is going to ever feel perfectly right…your mind will always think of compelling excuses…but there will be some moments that feel better than others.
When you start to have strong thoughts that now is the time. When the business is going well and you have a lot of potential business in the pipeline. When you have a good grasp on running the business and the systems you have in place are very solid…
That’s likely the time to transition from sidepreneur to entrepreneur.