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One foot in Corporate One foot out

    • 2 posts
    September 24, 2007 7:07 AM EDT

    Here`s a question that I think digs a little deeper -

    I`m in the one foot in, one foot out predicament, and I am not willing to take the risks that I should... my wife works VERY part time and my income is what pays the bills, so to speak. 

    My business is broad environmental informatin, and I`ve JUST started the site... it still has a lot of growing to do.  But the question is, even though green is starting to get popular (and I believe will CONTINUE to be popular for a long time), it also sems to be a pretty saturated market... but it`s been my passion for as long as I can remember.  Is it worth it to "struggle" in a business that is your passion, or to "suffer" in a job that pays the bills but you are not as passionate about?


    • 10 posts
    June 12, 2007 12:07 PM EDT

    I think people overstate the risk. What is the risk really? You quit your job(s), to take a full time stab at starting a business. You fail completely. You get another job and try again later.

    Your only risk is maybe giving up luxeries in your life for a while. And almost everything you have, make payments on or desire are luxeries.

    This is a quote from the Commencement address at Stanford by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

    Remembering that I`ll be dead soon is the most important tool I`ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

    Deborah Miller
    Software for the business of art!

    • 45 posts
    June 11, 2007 12:55 AM EDT
    Paul Mitchell of John Paul Mitchell Systems (salon products) was a bum collecting enough cans to make 3 dollars a day to eat. He started his company with nada.
    He also started the Patrone liquor line after his first success. Now he owns two billion dollar companies.
    Money should not be an issue when following your passion. Leave your fears behind.
    eventbrander2007-6-11 5:56:57

    --- | Custom Printed T-Shirts, Promotional Products, Lowest Prices Guaranteed

    • 73 posts
    March 10, 2007 3:30 AM EST

    :-) Your "self" will engineer the change, and it will seem to be the overwhelmingly best idea you`ve had in years. And then you`ll do the next thing.

    Very true CraigL.

    Working for yourself exclusively is the fastest way to see your business become a success.  Not always practical in the grand scheme of things however.  When you have other income it is a bit easier to put off things that need to be done in your business.  You are exhausted because you are burning the candle at both ends, your financial needs are being met, so why not put a few things off.  From there it becomes easier and easier to settle into the comfort zone of a 9 to 5.

    Pokerman It`s not about what you can do... it`s about what you will do! Amateur Poker League Software - Drive Traffic - Add 100,000 Songs to your website - Music Catalog

    • 9 posts
    January 7, 2008 6:25 AM EST
    I think it is realistic (although difficult) to do both.  The hard truth is a lot of times your venture won`t make enough money right off the bat to take care of your basic needs.  It`s amazing that your parents are helping you streamline those needs by taking you in- and probably feeding you, too ;)  Sometimes another job is necessary to keep the gears running while you wait for you idea to take hold.  Yes- you will be tired, but it will test your devotion to your idea.  What are you willing to do to make sure that this works?  You need an income- that`s almost the easy part to get done (get up, go to work, etc.) The hard part will be keeping the fire going on what you REALLY want to do.  It`s easy to procrastinate your own goals when you`re tired- you`re the only person who cares to push them forward.  If you are driven to get your business up and running no matter what, you will make the circumstances work for you.  In a lot of ways it`s just about determination.

    I liked what you said about experience, too.  Young entrepreneurs can fail because of a variety of reasons, one of them being the lack of real world experience.  Your ideas won`t mean much if you can`t communicate them to others or organize a team around your dream.

    ErinHattaway1/7/2008 12:26 PM

    Erin Hattaway

    • 30 posts
    March 7, 2007 11:39 AM EST

    If it is at all possible for you to focus solely on your newborn company - DO IT!  I am doing both and I am exhausted.  As much as I hate to admit it, I am not a very focused and proactive employee.  That is against what I believe personally so I am regulary in conflict about being a great employee for my employer and focusing on what I love - my business.

    Don`t be tempted by so-called easy money. 

    Kindra Beauprey Director Liberty Bell Spirit Squad

    • 30 posts
    March 7, 2007 11:57 AM EST

    Good point!  Yes I made the assumption that you either have savings or already are generating some cash flow from your venture.  I hope you aren`t assuming that your mom is going to foot the bill. 

    Good luck!

    Kindra Beauprey Director Liberty Bell Spirit Squad

    • 165 posts
    March 7, 2007 1:17 PM EST

    Have you considered part-time on both? I am trying to work full time during the day and I agree with everyone else...totally exhausted!!! I am forever thinking...if I could work half a day at one place and half a day at the other...I might be able to see my pillow sometime in the near future!

    I agree though...if you have the opportunity (financial, support, etc.) to go full steam on your dream (hey...I made a rhyme)...then do it! Find some part-time thing if you feel the need to have some pocket a coffee shop or something...nothing that requires too much of you so you can focus on what you really want...your own business!

    Best of luck to you though! Not the worst place to be....your own business...or other people wanting you! Either way...sounds like you make out in the deal!

    Leah Tucker

    • 165 posts
    March 14, 2007 6:47 AM EDT
    I love your sense of passion for what you WANT to do! I think you have your head on straight for this one...even if the decisions seem difficult...ultimately...because you know your goal and what you want to will make the decisions that fit your situation best at the time. I love the idea of the temp jobs...I did that for a while when I first moved but mainly because I was having trouble getting companies on the west coast to take my resume seriously because it was all east coast work (go figure). A few months working with temp companies and I found a good fit that I have stuck with and got hired on permanent. I think for you it might be a good safe place to be...if things work out as you have planned...then like you have a set time you can get out and go full with your passion....if things dont` work out with your always have the option through the temp agency to find something more permanent! Keep your goals in sight and you will eventually get there!

    Leah Tucker

    • 95 posts
    March 7, 2007 11:09 AM EST

    So I`m all set to quit my job. (well one of them) I decided to move back with the parents and just start it up.

    But I got a call from a recruiter today, for an interview. The wheels in my head started spinning. Even if I start the business part time I`ll be gaining experience in the industry. Plus I`ll have a larger war chest to pull from when i decide to go full time. My only thing is I fear that i`ll eventually hate working for anyone else regardless of the industry. But I can`t deny that working on the business part time and earning more money for it has it`s perks (especially since i`ll probably have to bootstrap it)

    So for those of you still working and working on your business in your spare time: Are there any other issues, concerns, or other things I should be aware of?

    Follow the journey of Marvin Hawkins Visual Concepts and Nothing Like It Games at

    • 95 posts
    March 8, 2007 3:19 PM EST

    Good point!  Yes I made the assumption that you either have savings or already are generating some cash flow from your venture.  I hope you aren`t assuming that your mom is going to foot the bill. 

    Good luck!

    No I certainly don`[t expect the `rents to pick up the bill for my business. they have promised to provide me a roof to stay under, and business advice and encouragement. That`s plenty for me.

    I`m in a slightly different situation. I have two part time jobs which is basically like one full time job. Like someone suggested I`ll have the ability to work part time on the business and part time at my job.

    Craig you`re right, It comes down to a choice. But i know I`m going to be an entreprenuer. For me It`s more about what type of experience I can get from the working world. I don`t like my bank job because I feel like I`ve learned everything there is to learn from running a business and money. I still have a bit to learn from my clothing job in terms of management. once I`m done learning, I`ll move on from there. Plus you can never have enough contacts.

    Follow the journey of Marvin Hawkins Visual Concepts and Nothing Like It Games at

    • 95 posts
    March 9, 2007 11:53 AM EST
    well I would. I`m living a life with no regrets. I`ll either die having accomplished my goals or die working toward them. As long as I`m not schlumping through this life and I`m in the game so to speak, I will have viewed my life as a success. 

    Follow the journey of Marvin Hawkins Visual Concepts and Nothing Like It Games at

    • 95 posts
    March 11, 2007 6:52 PM EDT
    that`s true. I just want to make sure I can afford bread, pb and j, and my cell bill and I`ll be fine. 

    Follow the journey of Marvin Hawkins Visual Concepts and Nothing Like It Games at

    • 95 posts
    March 13, 2007 8:45 AM EDT

    I think the only problem with your thinking craig is that not everyone can afford to take that risk. I`m able to move home with my folks; therefore I can take some risk.

    If I had a small family, that probably wouldn`t work out. In the latter case, isn`t there some value in learning for another business first?

    Follow the journey of Marvin Hawkins Visual Concepts and Nothing Like It Games at

    • 95 posts
    March 14, 2007 6:37 AM EDT

    Ha it`s funny that you bring that up craig because I`m in Limbo with that right now. I went to my interview and it turns out that they are a temp to hire or full time hire staffing company.

    To me this represents a better advantage than my current job because I know when a given job will end. And when my business is in high gear. I`ll have a definite exit date.

    But on the otherside of the coin: I went to work Monday and hated it because I kept thinking to myself "This is time I could be using to work on my own business" So I`m struggling with this issue now. If I`m working part time I guess that`s better than none. But for one job I`ve reached the point where (as the prisoner might say) I gotta get out. Im thinking of leaving net or no net. A huge risk.

    I figure it`s not really supporting my lifestyle as it is so what`s the harm in leaving?

    Follow the journey of Marvin Hawkins Visual Concepts and Nothing Like It Games at

    • 95 posts
    June 12, 2007 5:33 AM EDT
    Yeah its appropriate eventbrander restarted this topic. There was an article in the RedEye, a local newspaper about people that just tossed thier shackles to the ground and followed whatever thier dream was.
    Of course it followed those who were most successful but it did offer a responsible caveat about not everyone succeeding simply because "they want to" I also thought it was interesting that they wrote about a guy who left a 75K an hour job to be a 13/hr wine "cellar rat" as they put it. But hey if it makes you happy go for it.

    Eventbrander that`s an interesting point about a guy starting a company while homeless. It doesn`t happen often but it is inspiring. It kind of reminds me of the Will Smith story : "The Pursuit of Happyness" I often think if that guy can do it if he`s sleeping in a bathroom, I can do it while eating ramen and from the comfort of my home.

    But like Craig said not having to worry about eating definately makes your entreprenurial efforts less stressful.

    Follow the journey of Marvin Hawkins Visual Concepts and Nothing Like It Games at

    • 38 posts
    March 7, 2007 11:46 AM EST

    The answer to your question really depends on your personal situation.  If you have enough money saved to go full steam with your business without you having to worry about your personal finances, it`s probably best to go 100% with your business and not take on a separate job.  Like CheerDirector mentioned, working a job and your business can lead to exhaustion and burnout.  However, if your personal financial situation requires you to work, then take the job and work part time on the business.

    One thing to consider, when your business is in its infancy stages there will certainly be unforseen expenses.  Be sure if you go full steam ahead with your business and have no other source of income that you have enough in the bank to cover both business and personal expenses.  The last thing you want to happen is to go 100% at your business and run out of capital and become discouraged or frustrated and not give yourself an opportunity to get the business ramped up.

    Oliver Mupas
    United Bank Card
    866-207-6007 ext 303

    • 331 posts
    August 21, 2010 12:43 PM EDT

    Some additional food for thought . . .

    If you are juggling between work and your side business or business-es, you already know how difficult it can be to manage both given your personal situation.

    Whether you are single, married, married with kids, single with kids or something else entirely, your personal circumstances dictate how much capacity (time and resources) you have to dedicate to your side business.

    The ultimate question is: How do you manage the challenges resulting from juggling between your career, a side business and having a life (or not)?

    Pick something you are passionate about

    Not everyday will be a sunny day in planet side gig, but your passion for the subject matter will carry you through rough and tough times. Remember what they say – when you love what you do . . . . blah blah blah something along those lines.

    There will be times when you will feel like giving everything up and quitting because after all, the 9 to 5 is much simpler. It is during these times that your passion will carry you through.

    Define your life plan, and then customize a business plan around that

    Most people in America have this the other way around. They chase jobs, promotions and more money at the expense of how and where they really want to live. I often discuss with friends that in some other countries, people might not be all that wealthy, but they live life on their own terms.

    They decide where they want to be, and only then they find a way to earn a living. Most start very small and ordinary businesses, others have hourly jobs. They are not very rich, but they are very happy and content. Finding the right type of business model that compliments your lifestyle will be a solid motivation for continuing to develop it further.

    Dedicate your work hours to your day job

    It is not too uncommon (specially these days) to find folks running a side business outside their jobs. Tough economic times have left people with no option. Despite the temptation to work on your gig at work, DO NOT DO THIS. Dedicate the time on the job to the job. Don’t forget that your job is your bread and butter. Without it, you wouldn’t have a source of income. Plus it’s just the right thing to do. Give your employer value in exchange for the money they are paying you.

    You don’t want to be THAT ONE who is perceived as the slacker because you have something else on the side. We all know how our co-workers perceive folks who are motivated and ambitious to accomplish success doing side gigs outside work. The typical worker mentality doesn’t allow an open mind for this kinda thing. You are a rare breed my friend.

    Another reason why you shouldn’t mix personal work and office work is computer use monitoring which is becoming more pervasive in the workplace today. You don’t have much privacy to begin with on your work computer, so why risk any scrutiny to begin with?

    Keep family and personal time separate

    It is very easy to start neglecting your health and family with all that is going on in your world. Entrepreneurs are notorious for skipping meals, sleep, sex, time with kids and all kinds of other things. They are also often accused of falling in love with their business, therefore leading to a divorce from their spouse. Make strict rules and stick to them.

    This is where you need to be very clear about your priorities in life. What is most important and what requires most of your time? Be honest with yourself, define the boundaries and do everything possible to stay within them. One thing that has worked for me is the three strike rule. I tell myself that if I were to step outside my boundaries 3 times, I will give up the project that is the root cause instantly. Never had to do that, thank God!


    Budgeting how much you will need for your side business and sticking to it is critical to ensure your normal course of life is not interrupted. Cut back on some of your monthly spending to make room for business expenses, or earmark business money out of your savings. But whatever amount you decide is suitable to your risk appetite, make sure you stick to it and not overspend. It is very easy to get carried away in the excitement of starting your new venture.

    Pay down Debt

    I hate that word and can’t even say it anymore. Gosh I really hate it. Debt can put a strain on every aspect of your life. Get rid of it asap. When it comes to your side business, you want to be debt free so that when your business starts to pick up steam and grows, and you may someday decide to work on it full-time, you want to make sure you can tap into financing sources. With debt to your name, lenders will be wary of issuing you credit.

    Are you competing with your employer?

    Would your boss be interested in your customers and clients? If yes, then you are competing against your employer. Many employment contracts have non-compete clauses. I know I had one when I was in public accounting. As a CPA, I could not have started a side gig doing someone’s taxes or audits for smaller companies, at least not with the risk of getting caught and reprimanded.

    So what to do? Well, you can either choose to breach the clause (if it applies to you) and keep your side business low key, or you can get involved in a non-competing business all together and avoid any conflict.

    Disclosing your side biz to your employer

    Disclosing your extra-curriculars to your employer may or may not help you. You need to call this shot straight from your gut. Let’s walk through an example so that you are not left in the dark all alone.

    Let’s say you use Twitter really well to promote your side gig, and your company has no idea was Tweeting is. Well, you can offer your expertise by helping the company use it to grow their customer base and become a superstar in the office overnight. In addition, if your boss knows that you are entrepreneur, he or she will perceive you as someone with all kinds of other skills that makes you a jack of all traits and someone who can roll up their sleeves to get down and dirty.

    Similarly, say your company uses Twitter to attract followers interested in floral services. And let’s say you do the same for your side gig. Can you see why you may want to keep quiet about that gig of yours?

    Careful with social media and use of full names

    Depending on whether you decide to tell your employer about your side gig, you may consider a bit of caution when using social media. Do you really want to comingle your personal and professional life? Don’t just think of your current employer, think long term. Will having your full name tied to your personal business in cyberspace help or hurt you? Don’t forget the growing use of social networks by HR in hiring practices these days.

    You can leverage the benefits of social media under an alias (your web identity), or your first name only. Some choose to do first name and last initial. I flip flop between first name and first name + last initial. However, I have several presences online where I am known by my alias as well. Give it some thought before you proceed with it.

    Final thoughts

    Finally, but most important of all, with a full time job, a part time gig or a few of them, family obligations and something called a life, a strong support system is critical. This post assumes that you have a happy healthy and never fighting family. We know how realistic that is don’t we? This post assumes your family situation does not come in the way of the balancing act between your career and your side gig. But we know that is far from true. On how to get your spouse’s or family’s buy-in, read my blog post titled: How to Get Your Spouse’s Buy-In?

    Other than that, it’s completely possible to have a successful side business, full-time job and a great life too. So what are you waiting for? Stop bull-jobing and start it up today!

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    • 2 posts
    November 6, 2010 9:41 PM EDT

    I don't have the answer to that, but I just interviewed someone who knows what you're going through. If you'd like, you can listen to the audio at  Hope it helps.