Do you know what I really think? Part-time entrepreneurship is for hard-core workaholics with nothing else to do except work. Most normal humanoids would rebel against giving up their lunch breaks or after-office martinis to slave over the latest financial figures and think about ways to expand the business.
I should know because I'm currently in the midst of starting three businesses myself and have found myself not having time for any of them--given my current job.
It's a bit frightening and overwhelming but you really just have to trust your gut that somehow and someway everything will work out the way you want it.
That's something a business plan will never tell you. Because while these business plans will tell you how to best minimize risks and possible exit strategies, it will never tell you how to manage your life and what to do when your spouse starts giving you the cold shoulder. And trust me, this always happens.
Here are six tips to help you in starting and growing your part-time business:
1. Manage your time wisely as a part-time entrepreneur.
Sounds simple? It's much harder than you think. Especially when you're just newly-married with children on the way. Or consider the situation of a baby, a high-schooler, and one child on his way to college. Add to the equation a very angry spouse who thinks you don't spend enough time with him or her.
Simple solutions to the problem? Write to-do lists. Map out your day. Learn to say no. Know how to prioritize. And especially don't miss out on family events--UNLESS IT'S REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT. And for pete's sake, don't miss your son's graduation. It's the stuff entrepreneur cliches are made of.
But if it's a million-dollar deal.. Well.. Entertain that second thought.
I'm kidding. I hope so, anyway. Haha.
2. Do not be afraid to involve your family in your part-time business.
As much as possible, eliminate resentment by making them understand what the business means to your future as well as theirs. Ask your spouse's advice on certain matters--he or she will be thrilled to have some say. Or better yet, make them your partner. Successful entrepreneurs have been known to mention supportive spouses as part of their recipe for success. If you have kids, allow them to help out. It's good training. Aside from this, it's also cheap (or even free) labor.
3. Get some much-needed R&R--part-time entrepreneurs need a break, too!
But seriously? You have no idea how much I've been in violation of this. It may be difficult for the average person to fathom since work is supposed to leave a bad taste in one's mouth, but I truly truly love and enjoy working. It's not as horrible as people paint it out to be especially if you're doing part-time entrepreneur work on something that you're truly passionate about.
However, I must stress that you still need R&R. Go out. Watch a movie. Have dinner with your friends. Read a book. You'll find that you'll be working more efficiently and with much more gusto. Ideas come faster and you'll feel more refreshed. You'll accomplish twice the amount of work at a lesser time.
4. Don't overwork yourself when running your part-time business.
Health is wealth. Part-time entrepreneurs should have that plastered everywhere because it's not even funny how easily they forget that. So much that some of them eventually earn so much money only so they can use it to pay their medical bills at the latter stage of life. Some sadly don't even get to live long enough to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Always remember that everything comes with a price. Health lost is difficult to regain.
5. Your part-time business is easier to run if it's about something you love.
Love is a funny thing. When you love someone, you work hard at keeping the relationship alive, you do things that you normally wouldn't do for anyone else and most of all, it's hard for you to call it quits and walk away. That can be good or bad for a business. I think it is always good to love whatever it is you start. At the very least, if you don't love the business, love the game of starting businesses and making it grow. Because tell you what, my friend, if all things are equal and some other part-time entrepreneur out there loves whatever it is you're doing more than you do, chances are that person will do better. Love, love, love your part-time business. But like any love relationship, you should also be able to recognize the time you should walk away. Don't get caught holding the torch for something that isn't making you money.
6. Hire an employee when your part-business starts getting too big.
Part of being a successful part-time entrepreneur is knowing how to manage your time. Don't even try to play Superman. (Sorry, girls, Superperson just doesn't seem to have the same effect.) Hire yourself a secretary and build your team as you go along. Delegate. Being a successful entrepreneur doesn't mean being chained to your desk.
Free yourself from the admin work--you'll feel happier and be much richer not just financially but also in health and relationships as well.
Remember that the goal is to enjoy life and not work yourself to death. Good luck! (And tell me all about it.)