The dangers of being a part-time entrepreneur


Time management skills


Brown says for her as well, it was important to be quite rigid about how she spent her time – but at the same time she also needed to be extremely flexible.


“It was important to have a plan about how I was going to spend what available time I had to work on my start-up,” she says.


But while I was working my day job had to take precedence and one phone call could put an end to my plans.”


“That said; juggling both required a lot of forward planning and thinking about the best way to spend my time.”


“At the time I did feel resentful about my day job because my heart was in my business and I wanted to get home to work on it.”


“You need to be very productive and work on the things that are going to give you the greatest gain.”


As to the types of start-ups that can handle the founder working concurrently in another business, Anderson says it would be hard to run a consulting business with a foot in two camps.


“It would be a challenge in a business where you need to see clients but because I’m an online business it’s workable. In a service business it would be a lot trickier,” she says.


Says Brown: “Personal training is probably not the ideal start-up to build when you’re still working because there’s a lot of face-to-face time and your clients want you when you’re in the office.”


“Even for evening sessions I often had to break the speed limit to get to a session.”


Ultimately, Brown says she “reached saturation point. I had no available time so I had to take the step to work full-time on my business, before I really had the work there to support it.”


“In saying that, my transition period between the law and my business was longer than I anticipated.”


“Everything seemed to take twice as long as I thought it would. But you have to be patient and realise you don’t have to do everything all at once.”


“Give yourself some evenings and weekends off and remember to look after yourself.”


“Accept everything will take longer than you think and have a transition plan so you are eventually able to concentrate on your business full-time.”


Getting the balance right


Three top tips to balancing a job with a start-up:

  • Be clear about what you want from your start-up: is it a lifestyle choice; is it scalable; how will you manage it; and what’s your exit strategy from your paid job?
  • Work out what your line in the sand is for leaving work because in the long term it’s not possible to juggle a job and a start-up.
  • Be clear about what you’re prepared to commit to at work so as not to jeopardise your time building your start-up.