How To Build A Startup While Holding Down A Full Time Job

The news these days is filled with stories of young entrepreneurs and startup founders doing great things and changing the world. So It’s easy to get caught up in the tales of glamour, the millions of dollars raised in funding and the fulfilled life these young startup founders seem to be living. The startup scene is like an exclusive club every young person wants to jump into. You want to go out into the world and make a difference with your brilliant idea. You’re so sure that it’s exactly what the world needs, and in months you’d be on the front page of every magazine and your company would be the focus of all the tech and entrepreneurship blogs. Your 9-5 might make this look impossible and you might feel like you’re not making any impact in the world by working a full-time job.

This is a dilemma a lot of people face these days: ’To jump off the 9-5 train and jump on the entrepreneurship train or not?’. What most people fail to realize is, before taking that plunge into the uncertain, you need to have a solid plan. Working for someone and trying to run your own company at the same time is incredibly difficult. There’s no glamour at the beginning, just hours and hours of hard work. However, it offers you the luxury of financial security which you lose the moment you hand in that resignation letter. Statistically, 90 percent of startups fail. Until you get to a certain level with the idea that you have, it’s not advisable to quit your job to pursue an idea that’s probably not going to scale. Even the world’s most successful entrepreneurs had failed businesses when they were starting out. It’s important to be careful about quitting your day job i.e what provides you with a primary source of income because if not done systematically, you can be left with nothing to fall back on. to avoid being left with absolutely nothing.

Here are 10 tips to help you successfully combine running your startup with a full-time job.

Commit to your idea

Ideas require work and sacrifice to become a reality. It’s going to get really tough as you go on especially while working a full-time job. It is important to find a balance and learn to manage your time. You have to decide what’s important to you and set your priorities. You might have to sacrifice the hours you spend on leisure activities such as watching TV or being on social media It will be hard, but your commitment to your idea is what is going to save you on the days that you just want to quit.

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Take stock of your strengths and weaknesses

You have to note what your strengths and weaknesses are and be really honest with yourself about it. Make a list of
all the skills required to efficiently execute your new idea and note the ones you can do and the ones that you can’t. You have to be realistic about what you can do with your time being split between two ventures. The good thing is that you don’t have to do it all by yourself. You can hire freelancers to do the work that you can’t do but If you can’t afford to hire people, take the time to learn the skills that you need.

Validate your idea

Products/ideas are usually validated by the presence of a market. You have to ensure that there is adequate demand for your product. When asked by Fortune, founders of failed startups cited the lack of a market for their product as the number one reason why their businesses died. It is important to schedule time when you are free from work to do the adequate research. Make sure you get a significant amount of feedback and stop doing the things that don’t work. The best way to get honest feedback is from customers that have paid for the product that you are selling. It is important for you to get proof of your idea with feedback from your target market in order for you to be able to refine your idea to perfectly suit their needs.

Create a Unique Selling Proposition

Your business has to have something that gives it a competitive advantage and sets it apart from every other company out there. This helps you make more sales and attract more customers than your competitors. It can be anything ranging from your customer relations to the cost of your product. You have to offer something different from what your competitors are offering to get positive results.

Set SMART goals

To set great goals, they have to be SMART. This means that your goals must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. Before starting your journey, you should have an idea of where you want to end up. Goals help you do this. Set monthly, weekly and daily goals for them. Review them frequently and track your progress. Your daily goals will help you accomplish the small tasks you need to in the beginning, and lead you into the bigger picture of the weekly and monthly goals. This will help you achieve your long and short-term objectives.

Build a road-map to your launch date

Your ultimate goal would be to launch your idea fully. To do this, you need to map out exactly what you need to do to achieve the goals you have set for yourself. The tasks you need to accomplish, things you need to learn, etc. You need to be proactive and constantly ready to adapt to change.


Ideally, you should focus on doing the tasks that you are good at and outsource the rest to professionals. It might seem interesting to learn how to code and build your own website, but this will cost you a significant amount of time. A better idea would be to hire freelancers or get a partner that possesses skills that you don’t have and can complement you.

Always seek feedback

You should constantly strive to get objective feedback from other people to ensure that you are building a valuable
product. Your early feedback group should consist of friends, mentors and other entrepreneurs who will provide you
with honest responses.

Make sure there’s a clear distinction between your regular job and your business

The product you’re building should not in any way be a direct competitor of the company where you currently work. You might be in breach of your employment contract, and also destroy business relationships that could be beneficial to you in the future. You also shouldn’t work on your side business during official work hours or use company resources for your personal gain.

Get to a comfortable point before you quit your regular job

It might be tempting to quit your job and give your project your full attention, however until you test your idea properly, and make enough money from it to sustain yourself, or receive funding, it’s not advisable to throw away your means of survival.

Creating your own startup while working a full-time job is difficult, but it’s not impossible. With these steps, you should be well on your way to launching a successful startup.

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