Whenever we hear the word “entrepreneur,” we instantly think of someone who is full of ideas and willing to take the risk to begin any ventures. That’s not entirely true although those are the traits we commonly see in entrepreneurs. Take me for example. I’m a rather risk-averse person. While I do take risks, I only take calculated risks. I know there are others like me as well so if you are one of them, you’ll definitely be asking if you should start your business full time or part time.
Going Part Time Doesn’t Mean Running it Casually
In starting any business, you’ll need to be committed 110% to make it work. If you’re not, why start a business in the first place? When I meant part-time or full time, it’s about the time you spend on the business. Most people run their part-time business half-heartedly and wonder why it doesn’t grow. Anyhow, I’ll leave this for another post. We’re here to talk about the time you commit to your business. To run a successful business, you’ll eventually need to go full time.
Starting it on a part-time basis can give you several advantages if you’re not ready to take a leap. It’s less risky since you still have a consistent income from your full time job to cover your living expenses. You can gradually build the business, test the market and fall back easily into your full time job if the business doesn’t work out.
Having a full time job, however, can hinder you from being able to provide prompt customer service. You’ll also have less time in marketing and strategizing your business. Even if you can juggle all this while being a full time employee, you’ll risk burnout as you’ll be working around the clock.
Basically, there’re definitely a few considerations you might want to look into before you pick a business path that’s most suitable for you.
Market Potential and Business Plan
Whether you’re going part-time or full-time, you should prepare a business plan. You need to outline your goals and marketing strategies so you can clearly view the business potential and keeping yourself on track with your long-term goals. You can begin by studying the competition of your industry, the demographic breakdowns and purchasing power of your target market and most effective ways to market to them.
If your products or services have little or no competition and could fulfil the market needs, you might want to consider going full-time just so you can commit 100% of your time and effort to capture the market before competitors started to come in. But if you find that your market or potential sales won’t require you to plunge into the business full time, you can gradually develop your market by putting aside an hour or two everyday to market your business on part-time basis.
The channels you’re using to market or sell your products must be taken into consideration as well. If you need a physical store to sell your products or services, you need to be running your business full time. If you’re selling online or at weekend bazaars, you can begin to do it on a part-time basis.
Your Financial Situation
Before going into business full time, it’s recommended that you start to put aside some money to cover all your expenses from 6 months to a year if you’re not generating any revenue. Therefore, it’s important that you come up with a business plan as mentioned previously so you’ll be able to project your sales and profits as well as your expenses.
You don’t need to wait until you save up enough money to start your business. You can gradually promote your products or services on a part time basis. The moment your business revenue can replace your salary, you can quit your job without worries.
However, if it makes sense to go full time, you can always consider investing your existing income, take up a business or personal loan from banks, or get investors. I’ve personally never started any businesses that requires me to invest more than 10, 000 bucks. Like I said earlier, I’m a risk-averse person. I’m not comfortable dumping huge amount of money, taking up loans and giving up control of my business by having investors. But this is a personal preference. You need to make the business decisions that you’re most comfortable with especially when it comes to finances.
Your Available Time
Starting a business can be challenging if your day job is taking up most of your time. You need to consider giving up more personal time just to get started on a part time basis. I would personally recommend that you leave your job and go into business full time. Since you’re working around the clock anyway, you might as well be working on something of your own.
If you have a solid plan to launch a business that you’re confident it’s going to be the next Google or Uber, you probably need to go big. You need to seek investors aggressively to get it started. You need to put all your time and effort to make it happen. Investors would expect you’re working on the business full time.
On the other hand, if you’re aiming to start a home business or lifestyle business that provide additional revenue or just to replace your current salary so you can quit the job you hate, you can begin running your business on a part time basis. This is not to say that you don’t care about business growth but it might not be your priority yet.
Family and Friends Involvement
The support from family and friends is undeniably important when you want to start a business. If you’re the one putting food on the table, you need to take your family into consideration. You need to sit everyone down to discuss if they’re comfortable with you going part time or full time, concerns on financial security, time available to spend with them, and some other practical or emotional issues that might rise up.
For many years or even now, I’m still struggling on this part because they cannot grasp the concept of flexible time and working from home. I’ve written about the things that most entrepreneurs like myself wish our family and friends would understand. I’ve skipped over the step and didn’t have the luxury to discuss the matters with them before I start my business.
This is precisely why I think it’s ideal that you sit with them to develop practical solutions for the issues that might arise. It’s best to lay down some ground rules as well, for instance, informing them your working hours and have them respect that. I’ve had people interrupt me constantly whenever I was working because they think by being my own boss and having flexible working hours, I’m available to them all the time.