7 Steps to Success for Running a Business AND Working Full Time

First of all, let me take my hat off to you: you want it all, and you want it now. Bravo!

Holding on to your 9 to 5 job as you build your start-up is not uncommon: you may need the financial stability it offers, more capital to fund your business, or you may not be sure that being an entrepreneur is the right path.

And this is OK! Entrepreneurs are not born, they are (self) made, and many of them had to keep other jobs as they were starting out.

But juggling a career and a business does have some risks: you may burn yourself out, get fired, or sink your start-up!

To help you avoid these risks, I sat down with a few entrepreneurs, and here’s what they advise:

  1. Be ethical with your employer

First, check contractual stipulations to make sure there is no conflict of interest. Then, make it a motto out of giving 110% to your job while you are there. Working for your business on company time is not fair towards your employer, or safe for you: you risk losing your credibility as a professional, or your job and income.

2. Plan your time

Week days are a big no-no, but you still have to invest time on an ongoing basis, to grow your business. So carve time out of your weekends, mornings or evenings to make progress, and work off a specific plan. For example, I use my weekend mornings to write new content and plan my social media strategy. Then, I spend about an hour on evenings to promote my website, connect with influencers and do research.

3. Plan your finances

Use a sizable portion of your income as investment in your business, and reinvest all revenue it will generate. Although you may probably start small, it’s good spending to build a professional website, a small product inventory, business cards, an audience through Facebook and Google adds, and attend industry events. And this brings us to point 4:

4. Network

Being exposed to like-minded individuals will build your entrepreneurial muscle and inspire you. However, this will not happen naturally around your office watercooler, so start being intentional: join networking events, use Saturdays to work from a co-working space, or join an association for entrepreneurs. Social media is also great: I met some awesome collaborators thousands of miles away through Instagram!

5. Run a real business

Even if you are a small, one-woman-show, project a professional image from the start: a polished website and impeccable customer service. Don’t cut corners when it comes to quality, if customers start associating you with bad service, it will take a lot of time, effort and money to change their perspective. Also, value your craft and charge for your services at their full value from the start.

6. Take care of yourself

This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You are looking at months of intense work, so it’s absolutely important you take care of yourself. Sleep at least 7 hours a night (and I mean it), eat clean, exercise or meditate regularly. This way, you will keep your head clear and energy level up. Also, keep some weekends open to spend time with family and friends, it will give you the energy you need to keep going.

7. Be proud

And last, remember that what you are doing is awesome: it’s bold and it’s not easy. You are a do-er, an action taker, imaginative and resourceful. You are the type of person that truly makes a difference!

Now, I would like to hear your tips and tricks for balancing a career, a business and a personal life in the comment box bellow.

Also, if you have friends who are planning to start their business but are working full time now, please share this article with them. It may just give them the confidence they need.

Originally published at thecorporatemillennial.wordpress.com on March 12, 2016.