Posted in Consulting

How you can start a business without quitting your day job

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This is definitely a new area for me. When it comes to entrepreneurship, I have been using one consistent analogy for a very long time, ‘when you get on the high diving board of a swimming pool, there is only one option: Jumping in both feet. Lately, however, I’ve been asked by a number of readers of the CentEx Cargo Blog to write about ‘how to have a side hustle without quitting your day job.’ Apparently, there are a lot of people that are interested in starting a small busines capable of generating a new stream of revenue as supplemental income to their paychecks. I am a firm believer that as a part-time entrepreneur/full-time employee, you should stick to what you do best. Your job is your working capital for this new venture and pays the bills. Therefore, whatever you do, don’t bring the distractions of searching for a side hustle to your job. You should stay the course of giving 100% to the responsibilities and duties of your job description and to being productive.

How do you find the business that is right for you? First, you need to pick a day of the week when you are not overconsumed by the responsibilities of your full time job and family obligations. The core activities of that day should be about creating boundaries and the testing of ideas for your side hustle. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most part-time entrepreneurs choose an industry that’s close to their employment experience and expertise. I also recommend choosing a field that you are passionate about. Another deciding factor can be finding an industry that aligns with your values and skill set. Some of you may have several good ideas for a side business. You can narrow down those choices by moving to the next phase of the decision process. That phase consists of finding ‘beta testers’ from your network, assuming it is large enough. Whatever you, don’t badger your close friends about buying some of your products and/or services. The purpose of finding ‘beta testers’ is to quickly assess if there is a demand for the products you want to sell or the services you plan to offer. Your network may not offer an accurate cross-section of the market for your goods and services. Your next option is to devote enough time to tap into the free resources that can help you get started. For example, SCORE, the Special Corps of Retired Executives, with the following web address, http://www.score.org can assist you with finding ‘beta testers’ in the larger community. Morever, you can get a mentor from this non-profit organization. He/she has extensive experience in assisting people like you start a small business on their own. Some of the free business mentoring services from SCORE would include showing you how to find potential customers and identify your target market(s).

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is also a great place to get started. During your ‘set-aside day with boundaries,’ I recommend you spend a few hours browsing the SBA’s website at http://www.sba.gov. You will find information about building content for your small business and how to come up with the right structure. You are now in the critical phase – i.e., the one in which you make a decision and pick the field. You don’t need a ‘business plan’ and a fancy website right off the bat for your side hustle. But having the right structure from the onset will determine whether you stay in business and make extra money. The right structure for your side hustle also implies keeping everything legal. As a consultant, I make it a point to warn any full-time employees about the pitfalls of choosing any labor intensive fields or a service business. The business world is competitive enough; just imagine how well your business would do, if you were to wait until you get off work before you could start returning the phone calls of prospects and potential customers. That approach would not work in your favor even with an Automated Voicemail System. Because ‘the average caller to any service business, expects a call back in half hour.’ If that average prospect doesn’t get the information he/she is looking for, within the hour, the name of your business is immediatly crossed out from his list of possible business providers. Your skill set and passion may compel you to go into ‘labor extensive technology’ or a service business in spite of my caveat. No worries, I have some well tested suggestions that can surely help you with implementing the right structure from home. Visit my Facebook business page at http://www.facebook.com/centexcargo and inbox me some of your structural concerns and the specific industry you are passionate about.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2017 that there were 38 million home-based businesses in the U.S. And 20 percent of those home-based businesses make $100K – $500K per year. You can sell goods online with Shopify, eBay, Amazon, and even CentExOnlineStore. This is something you can do after ‘working hours,’ in your free time as long as you give your paying customers realistic ETA’s – i.e., Estimated Time of Arrival and/or delivery date of a product ordered by a customer. Perhaps, ‘Direct Selling’ or network marketing is your niche. You may be familiar with it from the likes of the local Avon Lady or Mary Kay Specialist who rung your doorbell one weekend or from the neighborhood Tupperware party. And lastly, from your BFF’s fashion show you attended last year. In case you didn’t know, that fashion show was an opportunity for your girlfriend to showcase her new line of clothing (or clothes received on consignment) to a handful of potential buyers. I would not be surprised if a couple of Clothing Retail Store Managers were in attendance.

Unfortunately, I am restricted by the limitations of a blogger. So, thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. Feel free to post a comment in the appropriate section. I look forward to receiving your feedback about ideas, specifics, and the types of business you would choose as a side hustle.

 

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