In narrow-based economies, building a business is a tricky deal, especially when you have a fulltime job, that’s why I found it as an imperative mission to build a robust mental framework that allows both words: “financial stability” and “career adventure” to coexist in your life as an entrepreneur.
In case you didn’t figure it out yet, what I’m trying to convey here is that you can still have a proper, financially-rewarding business while maintaining a steady job if you cover the essentials for both of these to coexist together healthily, here are the best bits that will set you right on your journey.
Getting proper paperwork ready
First things first, you don’t want to do anything on the side without making sure you have the necessary paperwork for it. In Bahrain, if you have a full-time job, it’s almost impossible to register a commercial register (CR) without having a “No Objection Letter” from your existing employer. Yes, you can have tricks here and there as I workaround, but I’ll always advise you to make sure things are clean, especially in the beginning. When it comes to getting this paper, your mileage will most likely differ. I’ve personally seen companies that will get to the nuts and bolts of what you intend to accomplish before handing you an approval, it gets super intrusive, but I can totally understand. And on the other side of the scale, I’ve seen companies that couldn’t care less what you do. Again, your mileage will definitely vary, make sure your paperwork is valid, clear, clean, and transparent, you don’t want to land in hot water later down the line.
Establishing a harsh time management policy
Time, the only resource you can never restore when it’s gone. For your two professional lives to coexist, you’ll need to play harsh when it comes to managing your time, make sure you divide your time well and do justice for matters most to you, be it family or self-time, allocate as many hours as you can afford after counting those, remember that you’ve only got so much in your day that you can spend on extra work, to begin with, so you’ll have to be super-efficient and harsh to get results, might look weird and systematic in the beginning but it’ll begin to feel organic and regular in no time, knowing how to use your favorite calendar is a straight must.
Setting priorities straight
Nothing comes cheap, having a business on the side earns you good cash flow and serves other sentimental purposes too, but it doesn’t come cheap. For a starter, sleep and rest is something you’ll have to be super careful about. In fact, you’ll not be able to compromise on that if you intend to stay long in the game; however, this is easy in theory but damn hard to realize when you’ve got serious priorities (like babies).
The gist of what I’m trying to convey here is that setting priorities right is an absolute priority (pun intended). Having a business on the side takes time and effort, you’ll have to choose well, when things become great with proper planning, later on, you might be able to delegate and offload some of the workloads and attain some of your capacity back. Still, starting fresh requires setting your priorities straight, which means missing out on gatherings, hangouts, and sleep, unfortunately. By the way, this turns out to be a breaking point for many individuals forcing them to exit the game, no shame in here, everyone’s priorities are different, totally fair.
Commitment and credibility
Having a business is a complete shift in mentality. There are moments where you’ll find yourself cursing the very moment you agreed to a gig, especially when they sound great on the outside but suck big time the second you get to work with the client. I’m very notorious for using this analogy over and over again: “working with a bad client is like is getting into a bad marriage”. Yes, it’s eccentric, but you can’t deny how true this is almost all the time, that’s why it’ll become second nature to say no to the gigs you’re not comfortable with even if the cash is tempting. I’m very again very notorious for saying no to most gigs I get offered, my sanity, along with my team’s is a top priority of mine.
In business, apart from saying no, sticking to your guns and word is probably the most important commodity at stake here, you’ll want to make sure when you commit to something, you deliver. Estimation becomes an art. You don’t want to risk your credibility, especially at the very start of your business, although this might be super hard with low experience.
Having two careers will almost always need you to keep separate personas, I found it crucial if you want to keep your sanity as you’ll want to make sure the two worlds never collide. Becoming formal in certain situations is a huge must to sustain customers and your PR image, so you’ll need to capitalize on that throughout your journey to become a second instinct for you.
Having your own thing on the side is a beautiful experience in many aspects, and it’s rewarding financially, but it needs a serious amount of perseverance and proper planning. Let me finish with the idea that it’s definitely not suitable for everyone, as you probably heard.