How to run your business while still working full time

Love to start your own business, but can’t afford to give up your salary yet? Discover how to run your business while still working full time. 

In an ideal world, when you start a business you’ll have a bulging savings account that will keep your home running and family fed, until you start making a healthy profit. 

But for most of us this is just a fantasy. The reality is that we need to keep working at our day jobs while we start our businesses, in the hope that one day we’ll make enough to finally quit.

So how, if you’re working full or even part time, do you start a business while working? Joanna Wojcieszynska from SecuriAccounts shares her advice.

Be really, really organised

If you’re going to juggle two jobs (your paid job and your fledgling business) plus a family then you need to be extremely organised.

So buy yourself a planner, or set up online calendars and start planning your time carefully. At the start of the week, block out time for work and family time, then see what opportunities you have to work on your business.

Then block out THAT time and be regimented about sticking to it. Treat it as work, and plan what tasks you want to achieve in that time. And remember that getting one task completely finished is better than starting (and not completing) ten tasks.

To help you work more productively in your time, follow the advice in these articles:

Be really clear about your goals

As well as being organised, you need to be really clear about your goals. After all, however hard you work, if you’re not working towards a defined objective you won’t be truly productive. In fact you could just be going round in circles.

So every day, week and month set yourself one or more goals to achieve, and list all the tasks you need to complete to get there.

And while it’s certainly important to be ambitious when setting goals, you also need to be realistic. If your goals are too much of a stretch, or worse, unattainable, you’ll simply become demoralised. The best kinds of goals to set are SMART ones.

Find out how to set yourself SMART goals and work towards them in these articles:

Outsource the right tasks

A day only contains 24 hours. And when you take time out for sleeping, eating, housework, family, shopping, your job, travelling and seeing friends, it doesn’t leave much to work on your business.

So you want to make sure any time you can devote to your business is spent smartly, in the areas that will contribute to the biggest growth the most quickly. They must also be tasks you enjoy – otherwise, what’s the point of starting your own business?

The quickest way to work out what these are is to make a list of all the tasks you need to accomplish to run your business, then grade them for:

  • How important they are to your business
  • How good you are at them
  • How much time they take you
  • How much you enjoy them

Tasks you are good at and enjoy, and that are important to your business but take little time are the dream tasks, and certainly those you should try to do yourself.

In contrast, a task that you hate, aren’t good at and takes you a lot of time is one you should consider outsourcing to someone else.

Yes, outsourcing comes with a cost – something you may baulk at if you yourself aren’t taking a salary from your business yet. But see it instead as an investment. By outsourcing tasks you don’t have time or talent for, to people with more skill, your business will grow much faster – and get you to a position when you can quit your day job much more quickly.

So which tasks should you outsource, and why? You’ll find good advice in these articles:

One final advantage of outsourcing tasks to freelancers and other businesses: connecting with other businesses and using their services is a great networking opportunity. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll need your services or products? Or recommend you to someone they know.

Consider telephone answering services

Every unanswered phone call to your business is lost business. It’s a potential customer who calls, and buys from, the next person on their list instead. It’s a journalist who wanted to quote you for a news piece, but has now found someone else. It’s a supplier with an amazing discount you miss.

It’s hard enough to stay on top of your phone calls when you work 9-5 on your business. But when you’re trying to juggle your business with a paid job, it’s impossible.

So if you’re serious about growing your business, and your phone number is on any of your marketing materials, consider employing a telephone answering service.

Not only will it ensure that every call goes answered, and can be actioned appropriately, but it also gives off a much more professional image.

Reduce your working hours

Quitting work for your business doesn’t have to be an all or nothing decision. Handing in your resignation isn’t wise if you need to earn an income above what your business currently provides.

But while you might not be ready to make the ultimate leap, you may want to consider reducing your hours. This will help you spend more time on your business, pushing it forward more quickly, while still maintaining some income and job security in case things don’t work out.

And who knows, maybe one day soon you can quit employment for good and finally focus on growing your business full time?

SecuriAccounts specialises in bookkeeping services for sole traders.