2 strategies to start your small business while working another job

There are thousands of wannabe-entrepreneurs sitting at desks right now who want to dump their jobs. What they need is a strategy so they can start their small business while working their full-time job.

This is the ultimate – and in many cases, the most difficult – way to bootstrap your new business. But, arguably there is an extra measure of security in sticking with your job because if your business fails, you’re probably no worse off than before you decided to try your hand at founding a business.

I’ve seen two basic strategies be successful for people who want to start their small business while working full time. The first of these is to launch your business with a partner.

The partnership of split responsibilities

Potential partners will get an idea for a business. Often these individuals are colleagues at the same company. They notice a niche that their current employer isn’t exploiting, or they get a good idea related to their work experience.

In this strategy, one partner maintains a full-time job, while the other works full-time starting the business. The working partner would be more likely to contribute the upfront money required to get the business going and the other partner would be investing his or her time in exchange for equity.

Pro: Business can get started quickly.

Con: Partners must be completely trustworthy and competent.

Starting a side business while employed

The other path to walk if you’re set on running a business while working full time is to get a side hustle going. These are small businesses you can do on weekends and/or in the evening. We probably all know someone who sells jewelry, kitchen wares, vitamin supplements, or something else on a part-time basis. While these can grow into a full-time small business, if they are built on a multi-level marketing plan, you’ll spend a lot of time trying to convince others to sell the products.

You need a business idea that can be scaled up through proven strategies, and those strategies would be to add locations, employees, or machines.

I pulled together a long list of home-based businesses. It continues to be one of the most popular pages on my website. If you’re looking for an idea, go down this list and at each entry ask yourself, “How would I scale this business?” Find one that is scalable and overlaps with your interests or experience.

Let me give you one example: Vending machines. You can find used vending machines for sale on Craig’s List. Find locations for them, agreeing to split the proceeds with the owner of the location. Continue to add to your vending machine empire with bigger, more sophisticated machines. Eventually, this can turn into a full-time business.

Pro: Little startup capital required.

Con: Burnout due to working two jobs.

Before I end this, let me add one more dimension to the discussion. Maintaining your full-time job could be working at your current small business. In other words, you can use these strategies to start your second business venture. That might force you to delegate better at your original business.

Think about it!