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How to Build Your Side Business While Working a 9 to 5 Job

Do you have a full-time job while trying to start or manage a side business?

The number of young entrepreneurs starting their own business has been rapidly increasing. And why wouldn’t they? The risk of starting a side business is often minimal – you commit some of your free time, while having your daytime job to fall back on if things do not work out. There is, however, a significant lack of time when it comes to running a business while working 9 to 5 because you still need to commit yourself to your full-time employer first. That is often the reason why even some of the smartest, hard-working and experienced entrepreneurs fail.

Is it even possible?

Yes. The good news is it is possible to have a successful business on the side and people do it all the time.

Let’s start with one thing – don’t quit your job before you start your side business. Here is why! Your full-time job is your primary source of income (i.e. how you can afford to live, eat, have hobbies and go out with friends). Even if you have savings set on the side, it’s quite a pressure to have to rely on just those money for living expenses, for initial investments to get your business started and to help it grow quickly.


When you are about to start a business on the side you need to have a focus. You time and resources and limited, so pick a niche you wish to serve or the product line you want to sell. If you start selling a wide variety of products or services, you will be committing to serve a large variety of demographics. Marketing to ALL of them would take a lot of time and effort! There are tons of different strategies, marketing and social media tools to choose from and learning all of them takes time you do not have. So, instead of serving everyone between the age of 5 – 70 years old, why don’t you focus on, let’s say, stay-at-home moms or a specific geographic area? By focusing on one specific demographic you will discover it is much easier to figure out what works and what doesn’t in a short period of time. Just make sure your niche market is large enough to sustain your business.

Discover your strengths

Knowing what you are really good at will help you choose which tasks to delegate to other firms or independent contractors. Planning to design your own website but have never built one? Deciding on where to advertise and promote but have no background in marketing? Maybe you should outsource those tasks to someone who has this specialized training and will do those tasks in much shorter time.

Schedule Everything

You will have a limited time for your new business and you need to start scheduling your tasks and what you need to get done every morning or evening, after work. It could be as simple as using Google Calendar. Just make sure you keep your full-time job calendar and side business calendar separate. Start by making a list of all the activities and commitments you have during each week, consider how much time you need to devote to each task and include everything in your calendar.


This goes back to focus, discovering your strengths and committing your time to what you do best. Look for opportunities to outsource tasks. While it could be great to make your own eCommerce website from scratch, just learning how to do that could take you months!


Using online tools such as Hootsuite, Mailchimp, Buffer, for your email marketing and social media management. Those tools let you schedule emails and social media posts ahead of time and in bulk as well as create email workflows, so don’t have to do that every day or week.

Knowing when to make that leap

Many entrepreneurs wait for years for that one clear sign that it is time to quit their day job and commit full-time to their side business. It is best to establish at what point (think of exact criteria) you can commit full-time to your side business. Those criteria could vary for different businesses. Some signs could be:

  • you are able to pay the bills from the side business income
  • you understand the business
  • you’ve established a good network of professionals around you
  • your side business has stagnated

Starting a side business while working a full-time job is difficult, but it is definitely possible. Whether you want to just use it as a source of extra income, or develop it into a full-time business, the choice yours. Take the above steps into account and hopefully you soon will enjoy the benefit of being your own boss!

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