One Foot In Each Camp
© Elena Fawkner
You have a full-time job but secretly you yearn to break
free of the corporate shackles and strike out on your own.
You have a great idea for a business but you need the income
from your job to pay your mortgage and to feed yourself
while you get it underway. Sound familiar? This article
considers this dilemma and suggests how you might make the
break from paid workforce to your own full-time home business
when financial necessity dictates a regular and
uninterrupted monthly income.
This may be obvious but it bears restating: if you need a
regular paycheck to survive, DON'T give up your day job
until you have another regular, consistent income stream to
take its place. This applies even if you are absolutely
convinced that your business idea is a surefire formula for
financial success. It may be, but even the most successful
businesses take time to get of the ground and most have a few
false starts before they finally take off.
If you can't afford to give up your paid income while you
build your business, then you have no choice but to start
your home business as a side project and run it alongside
your job. To make any sort of progress in your home
business, plan to devote two to three hours a day at an
absolute minimum to your business.
Because your time is extremely limited, you need to be
ruthlessly efficient with what you do with it. For example,
can you find spare pockets of time during your workday? If
you are running an internet-based business and use a
computer as part of your day job, this MAY be a possibility
but be careful here. Don't risk your job for your business
if you can't afford to lose that income. I'm not suggesting
here for a second that you conduct your business on company
time, at least when you have work to do. If you have some
downtime during your day, though, then do look for ways to
use that time productively.
Other ways to squeeze time out of your day include foregoing
TV in the evening and/or getting up an hour earlier. In
other words, get your priorities straight.
If your home business is related to your paid job, be
extremely careful not to create a conflict of interest for
yourself. In particular, do NOT deal with your employer's
clients as part of your business. Not only is it unethical
but, when the time comes and you make the break from
workforce to full-time home business, those clients may well
follow you and your employer would have every right to take
legal action against you for breach of your employment
Another difficulty you can get yourself into in this area is
where to draw the line, if challenged, between what is
confidential information and what is just general knowledge
you carry around in your head. You cannot use confidential
information you obtained in the course of your job in your
business. Your general knowledge is not considered
confidential information. Examples of confidential
information include customer lists, knowledge of the systems
and procedures of your employer's business, trade secrets and
the like. For these sorts of reasons, it really is advisable
not to choose for your home business what you do in your job.
It is a good idea to be discreet in the workplace about your
extracurricular activities. Don't go out of your way to
advertise the fact that you have started your own business.
At best you will expose yourself to the increased scrutiny
of your boss who may be concerned you will conduct your
business on company time. At worst, you may jeopardize your
chances for advancement if your outside activities convey
the message that you are only a temporary fixture who will
leave as soon as your business starts generating enough
income for you. Although you may not be particularly
concerned about career advancement because you plan to leave
to run your own business, at least consider your position if
your home business dreams don't pan out the way you hope.
It is very difficult to resurrect an ambitious image once
you've let it slide.
Finally, and especially during this 'double duty' period be
sure to allow sufficient time each week for relaxation and
taking care of yourself. This means paying attention to
your nutrition, exercise routine and getting adequate sleep
and well as allowing for pure downtime. The demands on your
body during the double duty period can be pretty intense.
You don't want to be taking on this challenge if you're
rundown, unfit and aren't getting enough sleep. All areas of
your life will only suffer if you're in this state. So, stay
ahead of the game by eating right, exercising and getting
plenty of sleep and relaxation.
After some time, your business will begin to generate income
for you. As you start generating more income, you will
begin to turn your mind to deciding at what point it becomes
uneconomic to continue your day job. This is because, at a
certain point, your business will reach 'critical mass', the
level at which it becomes uneconomic to continue your day
job because the return you get for your time and effort is
greater from your home business. This is because your
salary doesn't vary according to effort and results (at
least not directly), but your home business income does.
As a general rule, you will need to wait until your business
is consistently generating the same level of income on a
proportionate basis to the time you spend on it before you
start seriously considering quitting your day job. Once you
get to that point, test the elasticity of your income. If
you double the number of hours a week you spend on your
business does your income increase commensurately? If so,
your income is elastic. If you double your time input but
your income only increases by half, then your income is
somewhat inelastic. You need to calculate how much time and
effort you need to expend to generate in the form of
business income what you are currently generating from your
paid job. If this is 'reasonable' by your standards then you
can begin to seriously consider quitting your day job. If
not, you need to find ways to leverage your business so you
can generate more income from a more acceptable commitment of
time and effort.
Only when you have satisfied yourself that you can generate
from your business sufficient income on a CONTINUOUS and
REGULAR basis, should you consider quitting your day job.
That's only the threshhold question, though. Behind it are
a whole host of other issues to think about before making
the break. For example, how will you fund time off? As
self-employed person you can forget about paid vacations.
Even if this doesn't concern you financially, consider what
will happen to your business if you're not around for two
weeks. Also, as a corporate employee, you probably enjoyed
comprehensive medical benefits at your employer's expense.
Again, these are gone. Be sure you take out your own
insurance and think about income protection insurance as
well. If you contract an illness that puts you out of action
for a month, again, what happens to your business? You will
need to take out normal business insurances as well such as
public risk. Consider here whether clients will be visiting
you at home. If so, ensure your insurances cover injuries to
business clients. This is something that probably won't be
covered under your general homeowner's policy.
Build up a network of contacts before you quit your day job.
Not only will they be an important asset to your business in
the longer term, they can also help alleviate the feelings
of isolation that you can expect to experience early in your
home-based career. Something else to do before you quit
your day job is to prepare yourself mentally for the
realities of working from home such as the need for self-
discipline, feelings of isolation, your tendency to
procrastinate to name a few. Educate yourself by reading
about what running a home business is REALLY like to
minimize the culture shock when it happens to you.
Prepare your family too for the changes that they can
expect. They need to understand that although you are at
home, you are still working and they need to respect your
limits during worktime. Of course, set up your home office
as if it were a corporate office. Make sure you have two
telephone lines and dedicate one to your business telephone
and the other to your fax/internet connection.
And one final piece of advice, when you first start working
from home, establish a "going to work" routine, at least to
start. This will get you into the routine of working even
though you are not leaving the house and you won't develop
bad habits (such as procrastination or lack of direction)
that will be difficult to break later on.
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Elena Fawkner is the author of AHBBO Home-Based Business Online Magazine.
Proud to offer information and articles to help people start and manage a successful home based business.
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Wednesday, 12-May-2021 00:09:03 CDT