Four ways to start your business while still working 9-5

Long to start your own business but not ready to quit your job? Read four ways you can take your first entrepreneurial steps while still working 9-5.

Wish you could get your business off the ground, but feel trapped in your corporate job?

I know how you feel.

A year ago, I was still working full time and my business was just an idea floating around in my head – I didn’t have a clue how to make it a reality.

But then  I realised that becoming an entrepreneur isn’t an overnight transformation. Instead, it’s a gradual process that gains momentum as soon as you start to experiment, learn, and adapt.

I didn’t have it all figured out

I didn’t have it all figured out before I quit my job. I didn’t have a perfect website, or a full roster of clients, or thousands of pounds of savings in the bank.

What I did do was start to experiment with my business while I was still in my 9-5.

I didn’t put pressure on myself. I just tested ideas, and started networking, learning and getting a feel for how I liked to work, what I was good at, and what kinds of services people most needed.

Four ways to start your business while still working 9-5

So how can you get out of ‘analysis paralysis’ and just get started?

The key is stop researching and start DOING. This will help you get over your fear of ‘making the giant leap’ because in fact you can just begin with baby steps.

Here are my four top tips for getting your ideas out of your head and testing them in the real world.

1) Start a blog

If you’re not 100% clear yet on what your business idea(s) could be, then blogging is a great way to clarify your thoughts.

You’ll notice which topics you love to write about more than others, and also start to see which posts get the biggest response from your readers. Ask them what issues they are struggling with most, and work out how can you help them.

2) Volunteer

Where could you offer your services for free? The idea here is to get a flavour of what it would actually be like to do your business idea for real.

Want to start a catering company? Then offer to cater a friend’s birthday. Want to become a photographer? Offer to do the official photos for your cousin’s wedding. Once you have some actual hands on experience, you can start to refine your business idea according to what you enjoyed/didn’t enjoy, or try something completely different.

3) Use your strengths

Don’t dismiss your strengths and skills. What comes easily to you might be difficult for someone else, and they would place value on paying someone else to do it for them.

So make a list of your strengths and skills, then consider which of these would someone pay you to do. Ask around, and see if you can establish yourself as an expert in that area. If you’re not sure what your strengths are, try this free online test.

4) Create an event

If you’re thinking of offering a course, service or live event, then test it out with a low cost version. Find a free venue (you can always use your living room), set up a Facebook event or send out a group email to invite people (an offer of free tea and biscuits always helps too!), then charge the attendees a token amount to see if it’s something people will pay for.

Make sure you get feedback from the attendees and keep hold of their email addresses. They might turn out to be your first clients!

It’s amazing what these small shifts can lead to. Just imagine where you might be a year from now, if you continue to take these small steps every day.

Juliette Dyke is a Startup Coach for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to leave their 9-5, and create a business and life that makes a difference in the world.