Should you get a regular 9-5 job working no more than 8 hours a day while you're trying to build a business, or get a better job as a product manager or management consultant?
The former almost always has no career progression, while the latter is a good backup option in case business fails, as there is still a career progression path and the job in consulting pays a lot better. The customer service job would be purely for money to survive at a good company, while the consulting/design job would be at a good company and would involve more working hours. What's the right way to go?
As someone who just recently when full time self employed after having full time jobs and keeping my business on the side I'd offer you 3 pieces of advice:
* Find a job that will help you develop your skills.
* Remember that your full time job is your main obligation.
* You will need to work nights and weekends on your business, so manage your time properly.
What I would do is work my day job (which would sometimes require more than 8 hours days, and sometimes as much as 16) and then spend 3-4 hours at night or in the mornings working on my side business. The key was my day job was related to my side work so even though I wasn't working directly on my business, as an individual I was growing and preparing for taking the business full time.
I can't overstate this enough though: just remember the full time gig comes first if that's what's paying your bills. I knew it was time for me to leave my last job when I started to feel that was no longer that case. My work and therefore my reputation was at risk and I didn't want to burn any bridges.
If you're willing to simply get by while you work on your dream, look for an opportunity to get paid to work on that dream.
Look around. There are jobs that are incredibly boring and even afford the chance to read while you're on the job. That would be a great time for research, catching up on emails, etc
Night watchmen, late night store clerk, overnight hotel front desk person. You see these roles all the time and hardly notice.
David C Barnett
I've been bootstrapping my own startup for about 12 months. IMO if you take a day job, you're sufficiently distracted to fail. I'm not sure how far down the entrepreneur path you are, but you'll realise that launching your own startup will take every hour you have. You'll work harder than ever - and you'll want to, because this is your idea. I sounds like you have accrued some skill and knowledge, so I would recommend consulting your expertise out to others. This let's you stay in control of your time, you pick the projects. If you can work on projects that are time flexible, then even better. If you can work in an area that also ties into your startup, then you're winning. IMO your "career progression" is what you learn from the entrepreneurial experience. To succeed, you need to put in 200% and the key is to make mistakes and make them quickly. If it all doesn't work out, then you can quickly get back to looking for a good job at a good company.
I started my own conversion optimization agency over a year ago and I found out entrepreneurship takes all your time and focus.
You should be confident enough to know that you will make it, you will pay your bills and you'll launch the business. Of course, this depends a lot on your current status (I only had to provide for myself, I am 100% sure things change when you have children, for example).
The "safest" way to start is to continue working in your domain (the one you want to start your business in, I assume) and try and get one client on the side, in your spare time, without affecting your day job's performance. In the end, you have a name and that's what will help you succeed in your consulting business.
When you get that one client, you will feel much closer to your goal. You will have time to do your research and start promoting the business you are trying to build while being able to cover the bare minimum.
What I can tell you is that I started really giving it my all when I had no backup plan. Getting out of my comfort zone (as cliche as it may sound) helped a lot.
Good luck with your business!
If you are starting your own business, you likely have a significant amount of experience in your industry, or passion which is just as good. I found that a lot of skills I developed while starting new businesses are transferable and there is a demand for them in a freelance marketplace. I have been consulting on and off for pretty much my whole career, even when being neck deep in a new venture. I would suggest identifying a few skills which you can sell by offering them on part-time basis: writing, programming, SEO, creative design, etc. Utilize your network by offering your services or even use larger freelance marketplaces like UpWork. I do not think I would have been able to sustain myself without this kind of work while bootstrapping a new idea.