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Starting your own small business today

Starting your own business can be exhilarating. The freedom to make it exactly what you want without having to answer to a boss. However, the dream is often unrelated to reality and the working from home, for yourself part doesn’t often happen straight away. If you are starting out, chances are you won’t have a lot of capital to devote to the business and will need to work a full time day job to start with.

Don’t let it become a hobby

Having to go to work five days a week will mean that your time is precious. You will need to spread yourself between a day job, your family and friends, and of course, your small business. You will need to value your time as a commodity and don’t let it be infringed upon. Watching TV, cooking, reading, playing video games – these are hobbies, your business isn’t. Hobbies are a way to pass the time in between the important things, but as an entrepreneur you don’t have any time to pass. Your business requires your professionalism and utmost attention, not simply a cursory nod here and there. Without the commitment to using your time wisely, it will never get off the ground and your “I quit” moment at your day job may never arrive.

Invest your money in its success

A full time job means a full time salary, and without the usual hobbies and distraction occupying your time, you can invest some of this salary in its success. Your money would be better served in an Adwords campaign, Facebook advertising, promoting your Twitter posts, hiring freelancers, buying a domain name and hosting package, integrated marketing solutions, and all the countless start up expenses. Once your business startup bringing in revenue, this money should also be turned back into the business. It is tempting to see this money as the first of the harvest, but in order to grow you need to invest in it.

Audit your strengths and weaknesses

Not everyone can do everything. In the beginning, you can generally bluff your way through the small scale stuff. However, as your business starts to grow and demand more attention, you won’t have the skills to produce work of the required standard. Factor in the day job and the time constraints, and suddenly you are spread too thin across important elements. This is where you need to look critically at what you can and can’t do. Once you have established your expertise, call in favours, freelancers, and family to help pick up the rest. Allowing people with skills you don’t possess to take up some work will ensure you get things completed on time and to the best possible standard. The outside input may also yield a great idea or an innovative approach you hadn’t thought of yourself.

Stay professional

When you start a business it is tempting to work on it whenever you can. This is admirable, and your commutes, evenings, lunchbreaks, weekends and holidays should be used to work on the thing you are passionate about. However, between 9am and 5pm your time belongs to someone else. Besides the risk of being fired and your work quality dropping, you can also be exposed to legal issues. Your employment contract will have clauses that relate to competition and intellectual property, and if you have been working on your business while in the office or on their equipment, you might find yourself in a sticky position.

Don’t quit until your business needs you to

Stick out your day job for as long as possible. When your business reaches critical mass and you can no longer sustain both commitments, then you can leave your day job. Leave too soon and you may find yourself short of cashflow and trying to get it back, which is far harder than waiting a little longer to quit.

Business Daily Media