How to Start Your Own Sideline Business

These days, living a comfy life requires you to earn more than your regular salary. Cosmo helps you get that sideline biz started...all while still keeping your day job.

More and more girls are getting into part-time businesses as a way to augment their income. “Rather than leaving your day job and diving into your new business without the safety of a regular paycheck, you have the option of starting to moonlight,” says Erik Tyson co-author of Small Business For Dummies. Don’t know how to get started? Here, Cosmo gathers scores of tips for you.

The mere thought of balancing your already tedious full-time job with a part-time business does seem daunting, but “it can be done,” says Arnold Sanlow, co-author of You Can Start Your Own Business.  “It can work if you have excellent time management skills, strong self-discipline, and support from family and friends. And, don’t think that, since you already have a job, you don’t really have to work hard at your business. You must have a plan of attack.”

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1. Ask yourself: “What is your passion?” Make sure that your part-time biz reflects your passion, but “figure out what you’re good at versus what you like to do,” says Genevie Fulbright, author of Make The Leap: Shift From Corporate Worker To Entrepreneur. “Just because you like to cook doesn’t make you a chef.”

2. Make a business plan. Entrepreneur and financial expert Sheyna Steiner advises that “once you have determined there is a need for your business, outline your goals and strategies in a comprehensive business plan.” This is where the hard work begins. Conduct research, make market projections (ask help from your financial whiz friends), and set realistic goals. Also, find out how long it will take before your business profits exceed your income.

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3. Prep up. Fix all the necessary documents and other requirements prior to putting up your business. “Take care of all other concerns before you start operating. If your business is similar to your full-time job, make sure you seek legal advice regarding non-competition agreements and freelancing,” Fulbright says.

4. Ask help. At this point, you may get overwhelmed with all the things you have to do to keep the ball rolling. That’s why you have to “involve your family in the business whenever possible. Whether it’s answering the phone, stuffing envelopes, or putting together orders, giving your family the chance to help out is a great way to get more accomplished in less time,” says Sanlow.

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5. Sacrifice starts now. There will be times when you have no choice but to skip the barkada gimik just so you can attend to your online customers. That’s normal. “Be ready to give up your personal time. You won’t have much time for TV, reading, or hobbies you used to enjoy. Be sure the sacrifice is worth it, or both your job and your business will suffer,” Sanlow advises.

6. Stay employed. Remember that the main idea here is to earn more while keeping your job. That’s why you have to cop these tricks so you can do both. “In these lean times, it’s easy for an employer to justify cutting someone if they’re not devoting quite enough time to [the company],” Fulbright says. And, you have to stay employed especially if the business is still starting, which, as Steiner explains, is the more practical choice: “Staying employed elsewhere lets you keep your options open. If your business idea turns out to be fatally flawed, you can close shop with the security of having income from your day job.”

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7. Keep the two separate. It’s up to you if you want to tell your boss about your new venture, but make sure you don’t let one interfere with the other. “You need to keep a positive profile at work even while you do your startup: The best entrepreneurs have solid networks,” says financial expert Penelope Trunk.

8. No to conflict of interests. “The key of course is to consider your employer, and avoid situations that can lead to conflicts of interests (for example, your new biz is a direct competitor of your employer or you are using company time and resources for your business),” says Seth Godin, author of If You’re Clueless About Starting Your Own Business And Want To Know More.

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9. Focus and find time. As you still have a regular job to look after, you must find the time to do your tasks for your sideline outside of your regular working hours. “When you’re at work, focus on work; don’t let thoughts of your business distract you,” says Sanlow. Instead, “make the most of every minute,” he suggests. Find free time to make calls and catch up on paperwork during lunch, coffee breaks, or right before heading home.

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