Should I set up my business on the side of my work?

I have been working in the financial services sector for two decades, but am really keen to do something different and to use my skills for something else. I have been looking at buying a creative arts franchise, but, although I have some savings, I am worried about going into it cold turkey. Would it be better to try and work on it in the evenings and weekends before taking the plunge or is it better to commit fully? I am worried that if I will not have enough energy to make it a really viable business if I am doing it in my spare time as my job is quite demanding.

light bulb ideas

 

Taking a stepping stone approach to a big change like this makes sense. The risk of an all-in commitment is that you probably haven’t pinned down what it will take to make it work, and it sounds like you don’t have enough information to know if it’s a good idea. Playing with an idea involves one kind of thinking; anticipating what this will feel like as an experience is another.

So, learn from others who have trod this path before you. It will be particularly useful to talk to people who have set up something similar on an easing-in, part-time basis. The energy question is also something to explore, and depends on how you feel about working alone some of the time, and what support you need to keep motivated. Hearing about the ups and downs of the life is valuable, and so is learning from other people’s mistakes.

Think about the big ‘why’ here. Why do you want to do this? What work do you want to do, with what kind of outcomes? These questions aren’t designed to slow you down, but to get you thinking about a bigger picture. If you are clear about who you want to work with, and what you want to deliver, you might just be able to start your own thing in hours that suit you rather than getting locked into a franchise, which may impose a number of things outside your control around success.

*John Lees is one of the UK’s best-known career strategists and author of 15 books on work and careers. How to Get a Job You Love (now in its eleventh edition) regularly tops the list of best-selling careers books by a British author and was twice selected as the WH Smith Business Book of the Month. His other McGraw Hill titles include ‘Get Ahead in Your New Job’, ‘Knockout CV’, ‘Knockout Interview’ and ‘Career Reboot’. 



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