The idea of having your own business is always an appealing thought for most people, but sadly, only a few are brave enough to invest their life savings or take a huge loan to bear the brunt of starting one. Whether it’s about becoming an SEO specialist or providing financial services, among hundreds of options for freelancing, most are too afraid and understandably so. After all, there are no guarantees for success, especially when it comes to businesses.
Fortunately, though, there is an easy way to get around this problem – don’t quit your day job. It probably sounds easier than it really is but starting a freelance business while working full time might be an easier pill to swallow for most people than risking everything on a business without a fallback option.
If you’re interested in trying it out, here are 5 simple steps to starting a freelance business while working full time.
Figure out your real motives and be clear about where you want to go
Before you start investing both time and money on any business idea, you need to be sure about why you’re starting a business in the first place. This will establish a clear starting point which you can go back to every time you hit a wall or when things feel like they’re falling apart.
More importantly, this will give you a general direction of where you want to go. Are you doing this because you are tired of what you’re doing, and you just want to try something different? Is this eventually where you want to head to full-time but you’re just not ready yet? Or is this just a temporary thing – a means to get additional income for buying a car or a house?
If you figure this out, then the rest should just quickly follow – the amount of effort you need to put in or even the amount of hard-earned money you will be willing to invest.
Study your business idea and learn everything you can about it
The longest, most tedious, and possibly the most difficult stage, in starting your own business is studying and analyzing it before it even takes shape. Ask yourself a bunch of questions.
Is my business idea good to pursue while working full-time? Does my business have a market? If so, how big is this market? Do I possess the necessary skills for this business idea? Are there any immediate competitors? Is the market even sustainable or is my business just addressing a temporary need? How much would I possibly need to start my business and how much will it cost to operate?
You can conduct your research online or perform a small study in your workplace, all during your break or after going home from work. It should not affect your day job at all.
Ease it into your regular schedule
If you are not pressured by a target or a deadline on when to start your freelance business, it would be good to slowly ease it in into your daily schedule. Don’t rush it so it doesn’t negatively affect your work.
For example, if your regular work is from eight to five, and you regularly go to bed at 10, perhaps you can stay up just an hour later to think about your freelance business. On the other hand, if a daily thing is not for you, then perhaps you can try devoting half of your weekend instead. Spend your Saturday tinkering with your business idea, instead of staying in bed and binge-watching.
This way, it won’t be too much of an adjustment. However, it should slowly get you used to spending time with your new investment. And when you get accustomed to the extra hours, then you can decide if you want to spend more or less time on your freelance business.
Create a website for your business
One way to help your business take-off even if you are not around to manage it 24/7 is to put it up there for everyone to see. Build a website for it so that people can check out your product or services anytime they want. But invest heavily on your website. Your site should serve as an online portfolio to showcase not only your services/products but also your future accomplishments. Optimize it. Make it popular, and then sit back and let the search engines do the work for you. WordPress sites are among the easiest to create and you can create one yourself within less than an hour. There are hundreds of online guides that will help you learn about WordPress and that will even teach you how to create your own website.
Use social media to boost your business’ online presence
Now, if you are not so knowledgeable about creating or optimizing your site, then you should at least be able to create your business’ own social media page. After all, this just requires a signup most of the time. The rest can be managed easily and when you’re free.
Explore as many social media platforms as you can. Facebook and YouTube would provide a good start, but don’t be limited to these two. There are other options available and signing up with them will usually cost you nothing.
Just remember to invite as many friends as you can. Explore other pages. Tag people and drop likes. Most social media sites have plenty of tools to increase your network. Take advantage of these. Most of all, try your best to update your page regularly to keep it on the newsfeed of people.
These 5 simple steps should help get you started on your freelance business without sacrificing too much of your current full-time job. The 4-hour workweek book by Tim Ferriss is a personal favorite of mine and one that I recommend any aspiring entrepreneur read, as it teaches you how to smoothly and successfully transition to being your own boss, no matter your current work state. Personally, this book has helped me become an SEO analyst while working full-time at my previous job. Now, I run my own business online full-time, and have even hired a few people to help me run it. It sounds like one of those spam ads when I say it, but it’s been a dream come true…