Should I Have a Side Job When Starting My Own Business?

Starting your own business is scary, especially when you quit your full-time job to go after your dreams. And the truth is that dreams cost money at the beginning, so it’s only natural to want to take on a side job for supplemental income to pay for your necessities while you get your venture up and running. My mentor Barbara Stanny calls these “bridge jobs” and I’ve written about them in a previous post.

I’m a big advocate of bridge jobs — as I’ve mentioned before, not having one was one of my biggest regrets while I built my consulting business. I know I struggled more financially and probably emotionally that first year because I didn’t have a safety net.

But recently I had a client who made me think that a safety net isn’t the best thing for everyone. As it turns out, some people need a challenge to be motivated, and a bridge job might hold them back from making their dreams a success.

During our conversation, my client confessed that because she was financially comfortable with her supplemental income, it was easier not to start her business, which seemed hard, scary and a risk. “This is why I’m stagnant,” she said. “Being comfortable is nice.”

I then asked her what was the number one thing she thought she needed to change in order to take the risk, even though it was scary.

“It needs to be the only plan,” she said. “Having a backup plan is comfortable. Knowing I have a safety net can make me sloppy. Even though I want this business to be up and running by January, does it have to be? No. Because I have a safety net, I don’t have the compulsion that’s forcing me to get on the ball.”

It made sense. She was comfortable, not only financially but in all areas of her life: her relationship, her home life, her finances… why take a risk when you’re so set, right?

We discussed her situation more and determined that having this safety net wasn’t the right thing for her. She needed a push and to believe that it was do or die. The truth is there are other jobs out there if this didn’t work out, but not putting everything into her dream was hindering its success.

Some people are motivated by pain rather than pleasure, and this woman was a perfect example of that. Do you identify with her? Does having a safety net make you feel so comfortable that you don’t need to push yourself further? If so, perhaps cutting yourself loose from it is something to think about.

Of course, you’ll want to strategize a plan before completely depleting all your funds for living. Before you quit your job to start a business, consider the following:

  • Do you have the kind of family (friends and romantic partners included) that will keep you accountable to your dreams but won't let you live on the street if things get really hard? Have you spoken to them about this?
  • Do you have a plan for monetization and a profitable business model? Have you discussed it with a mentor to make sure it will work? 
  • If things take longer than you expect to get going, where will you live and how will you eat?

Everyone is different. For some, the only way to start a business is to know that you are comfortable and have supplemental income. For others, it’s better to create an uncomfortable circumstance that encourages you to get moving. In either case, though, it’s important you have a plan to make things happen.

Which kind of person are you? Let’s talk about it in the comments below! 

Kristen Domingue is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here

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