starting a business while working full time

5 Steps to Starting a Business While Working Full Time

7 December 2020 | by Gina Lucia

Thinking of starting a business while you’re working full time? Well, look no further because this article will break the process down into 5 steps so you can get started. Plus, I’ll be giving you some refreshing advice you might not find elsewhere so stay tuned!

5 steps to starting a business while working full time

If you’re starting a side business while you’re employed, you might have a few questions. From how much you’ll have to pay in taxes, to how you’ll manage your time. I’m going to break down each of these in the form of steps below.

check your contract

Step 1: Check if it’s possible for you to start a business while working full time

While what you do with your spare time should be up to you, many employers might frown upon you starting your own business while also working for them. In fact, some companies put it into their employee contracts. 

So the first thing you’ll need to do is read your employee contract fully. Is there anything in there that stops you from starting a business on the side?

Your contract could stop you from working with a competitor or even working on something that’s a conflict of interest. Some might simply require you to inform your employer of your new venture. 

You risk being fired or even sued if you breach a contract you have signed. So make sure to triple-check to make sure it’s all above board. 

In general though, if you feel comfortable and you have a supportive working environment, give your employer a heads up. 

What about taxes?

The second thing to mention here is tax. At least in the UK, If you start your own business while remaining in your current full-time job you will be self-employed and employed at the same time.

This means you’ll have to register your new business with HMRC as soon as you start working. Depending on how much money you make, you’ll need to start paying your own taxes too.

I’m not a lawyer, so here’s some useful information you can use to do further research:

how much time

Step 2: Decide how much time you’re willing to give

You’ve checked your contract and are clued up on your taxes, now you need to decide how much time you’re ready to give to this new venture.

If you’re working full-time, I’m going to presume you’re in a 9-5 and the majority of your workday is consumed by your 9-5 job.

If this is the case, you’re going to need to re-organise the rest of your life to section out some time for your new business.

This time will depend on the type of business you’re looking to start: 

  • If you want to start a service-based business, you’ll need to account for the time spent working with clients.
  • If you want to sell physical or digital products, you don’t need to account for clients but you might need to account for customer service.

How to create time for your side-business

When you first start out, you’ll need to allocate a little more time dedicated to the planning stages. 

Then when you’re further down the line, you’ll need to dedicate time to marketing, developing and managing your business.

There are many ways you can make time for this work, here are just a few options (depending on your life commitments):

  • Early in the morning before you start work
  • On your lunch break
  • After work, before family commitments
  • In the evening

A word of warning: Go slow and steady with the amount of spare time you dedicate to your business. Overworking can lead to severe burnout, especially when you’re essentially working two jobs. Take it slow and focus only on the important tasks to push you forward.

make a plan

Step 3: Make a plan

You’ve looked up the technical legal stuff and decided how much time you’re willing to give. Next, it’s time to create a plan for your business.

I’m not talking about one of those stuffy business plans you think you need when creating a business. Those are only really useful if you need investors or you’re looking to bring on a solid team.

If it’s just you and your ambition, a simpler and more straightforward plan will do. After all, we want you to get on with doing it, rather than spending all your time writing a 24-page document.

In short, your plan should contain at least:

  • Who your ideal client or customer is.
  • How you can help them (the product or service you’re going to offer).
  • How you’re going to tell them about it (your marketing strategy).

You can even take this one step further and include:

  • Your business’ values/mission (including how you’re going to speak the language of your client/customer).
  • Milestones/attainable goals you want to achieve.
  • How you’re going to measure success.

Have any more items to add to the above list? Leave a comment and I’ll add it here.

develop a routine

Step 4: Create a routine and develop good habits

We’ve already established how much and what kind of time you’re willing to give to your new business, but let’s go into a little more depth.

Switching your brain from 9-5 mode to side-business mode isn’t as easy as you’d think. Your brain has to do a complete switch.

So to make sure your mind is actually prepared and ready to switch modes, there are a few things you can do:

  • Do something in-between to switch your brain off from 9-5 work.
    • This can be anything from making dinner to going for a walk. Experiment and find what works for you. By doing this you allow your brain to switch from thinking about your 9-5 to thinking about what comes next. 
  • Establish a new place/location to work in.
    • If you can, it’s beneficial to work in a completely different location. By situating yourself away from the daily reminders of your 9-5, you’ll be able to focus and get more done.
develop a healthy mindset

Step 5: Develop a healthy mindset

The last step in this guide is to develop a healthy mindset.

This is perhaps the most important step in this process because without a healthy mindset, starting a business while working full time will be a lot harder. 

So here are some pointers to get your mindset on the right track:

  • Be patient.
    • The excitement you have about your new business is real and you should use that new energy to propel you forward. BUT, you need to practice patience. New businesses take time to grow into sustainable and thriving ones. Don’t let your impatience force you to make hasty decisions and/or increase stress.
  • Be grateful.
    • You’re one of the lucky ones. You have the stability of a full-time job while you build your business on the side. Which means you have less money anxiety and more time to get it right. Make sure you don’t take your 9-5 for granted while you build your new business.
  • Use your 9-5 to help your new business.
    • You might not realise it, but your 9-5 could be helping your side-business. The lessons you learn, the conflicts you overcome and the problems you solve all contribute to your future side-business success. Make sure to take note and use this to your advantage.

So, are you thinking of starting a business while you’re working full time? Has this article been helpful? Leave me a comment below because I’d love to hear from you!