SCORE Tip of the Week: How to Start a Part-Time Business and Still Keep Your Day Job

SCORE's CEO, Kenneth R. Yancey, gives tip for starting a venture in your spare time.

You’re dying to strike out on your own with your own business, but you’re also worried about losing the security of your job, your regular income and your health insurance and benefits. In today’s economy, I can’t say I blame you. The good news is that it’s possible to have the best of both worlds—the security and income of a job, plus the thrill of being your own boss—by starting a part-time business. Here are some tips to make it work.

  • Assess your available time. What can (and can’t) you give up? Exercise, time with friends, family commitments? If you stretch yourself too thin, both you and your business will suffer.
  • Get a support system. If you have a family, it’s important to get their buy-in and support, because they’ll be spending a lot of time without you as you work on the business.
  • Keep work and business separate. Using your employer’s resources or time to work on your business could put your job in jeopardy and could even lead to legal action against you. Make sure you don’t answer business calls while you’re at work, use your employer’s computers or copiers to work on business projects, or otherwise mix business and your job.
  • Choose your business wisely. Look for a business whose hours jibe with your time off. For instance, if you have a 9 to 5 job, you could start a business that photographs children’s sports teams. The business would do most of its work in the afternoons, evenings and on weekends, when the teams are competing (and when you’re not working), making it a perfect fit. Or consider an ecommerce business, where customers place orders 24/7 and you respond to inquiries and ship product after work.
  • Team up. Having a business partner with different work hours than yours can give you greater flexibility. For instance, if you work 9 to 5, a partner who has a night job could handle the business during the hours you’re at work, and vice versa.

 Follow these tips and in no time, your part-time business could become a full-time venture.