6 Tips for Developing a Startup Without Quitting Your Day Job, Part 1

For a lot of us, taking an immediate startup leap can be a daunting task – as much as possible, we want to remain practical and mitigate risk. Before diving in, we want to ensure that the startup can sustain our family’s needs.

Fortunately, it IS possible to create a startup while holding on to your day job. Again, the definition of what a startup is crucial here. While I find that it is possible to START a startup on a part-time basis, I would argue that it is impossible to SIGNIFICANTLY GROW one while being attached to a day job.

Take note that we are talking about startups here. It is entirely doable to pull off creating a small business like a food stand franchise or an internet cafe while never leaving your day job. A true startup, however, is a different matter.

If you are planning to create a significant startup, you already need to think of your current day job as temporary. 

You have decide that when your startup reaches a certain milestone, you will need to jump in. No startup can live and grow to its fullest potential if the founder doesn’t treat it as its number one professional priority.

(Think of all the great startups you know. All of them had founders who gave their ALL)

But starting a startup? Entirely possible. I went through this route myself. Here are some insights from that experience.

1) Take a Deep Breath

If you want to build something that is truly of value WHILE you have an 8 to 5 job, then you have to accept that it will take sacrifice. Something WILL give because there are only 24 hours in a single day. Whether be it sleep, or time with loved ones and friends, or the time you spend on your hobbies – something will have to be sacrificed.

It might be time to have a good talk with people around you who will be affected, not merely so they will understand, but also to help you garner much-needed support.

Take a deep breath. Understand what you are taking on. Pray. Then start.

2) Maximize startup work time

Here are some suggestions:

a) Work through lunch. I would eat my lunch on my table and work through the whole hour – typing up proposals, creating copy, pushing numbers. Sometimes we would schedule interviews during these breaks in a nearby coffee shop. That’s 5 hours a week right there.

b) Do not make traffic a factor. Hang out in the cafeteria and work until traffic subsides.

c) If possible, move to a place near your work. When my first startup STORM incorporated, I decidedly moved into a condominium just beside Tektite Ortigas where my day job was. That condo eventually became the first STORM office, creating a ton of strategic efficiencies.

d) Get another day job. If your current job makes you work like a dog for 14 hours a day – quit that job and find something with better work-life balance. It is IMPOSSIBLE to do something else if the job requires that many hours from you day-in and day-out. Again if doing a startup is your main goal, you have to look at your current job as a stepping stone. If your current job isn’t helping you towards your ultimate goal, just quit. Find another job.

3) Conserve Salary

One thing you will quickly notice when you begin working for your startup is that the actual expenses are always much greater than your projections. Some startup resources actually tell you to expect double. Turns out you’re using more paper, or more ink, or that you need an intern to do research, or the old PC you borrowed for operations breaks down, or your electricity costs soar during the summer. So where will you get the money to pay for these expenses?

This is one advantage of starting while working part-time. Instead of draining a limited “war-chest” or raising more money, you can perhaps bank on your salary. Frugal living then becomes a must, as it can feel like you added a new baby to your family.

Click here to continue onto part 2! Next three tips include arranging a “Startup Mega-Production Week.”

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11 thoughts on “6 Tips for Developing a Startup Without Quitting Your Day Job, Part 1

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