BACON AND BACON SEEDS
(Shout-out and thanks to PEAK member Valentina Escobar-Gonzalez, founder of Beyond Engagement: Social Media Management, for the title of this article).
While many individuals may have dreams to grow their own business, a great number of those same individuals cite a similar excuse for why they are unable to do so: they are already busy with a full-time job. The problem with this argument is that it places the wrong perspective on what your full-time day job is and what it provides for you. Rather than seeing your current job as a hindrance, realize that your job is your current source of “bacon” (income), and that having that bacon makes it easier to invest in growing “bacon seeds”, i.e., your side business, which can potentially one day become your primary source of income.
This is true for several reasons. Maintaining your day job will ensure that you preserve a steady income stream to provide for you and your family. You do not want to find yourself out of money and in “desperation mode” while trying to grow a business as this will have severe negative ramifications on your actions (such as rushing into less-than-ideal business arrangements or offering your product or service well below market value simply because you need cash). Plus, as starting a business will require capital, maintaining your day job will ensure you have a way to cover those expenses.
Keeping your job provides other benefits as well, such as access to resources such as personal networks and skill-building opportunities. It also ensures that you can take your time to test out your product and ensure that it has a competitive advantage in the market. That research should ideally also inform you as to whether or not someone else has beaten you to your idea. The last thing you want is to spend months building an online services website only to find that your idea already exists (this actually happened to me). Finally, given that 90% of new businesses do unfortunately fail within one year, maintaining your job ensures that you aren’t left out to dry if this were to happen to you.
It should go without saying that starting a business, even without maintaining a day job, is and will be difficult work. A day job already occupies one-fourth of your weekly time, and starting a business on the side can ultimately take up just as much (or more) time. Successfully managing and balancing your time, especially if you have a family, will be of the upmost importance if you want to succeed. Avoid burnout at all costs. As a word of caution, also be sure not to work on your side business while on the clock of your day job, and in reality it is best to be open with your employer about your side venture to maintain trust.
Perhaps you don’t envision your side business as a full-time job but rather simply a secondary stream of income. This is perfectly fine, and you are not alone if having such a vision. Last year, Success Magazine featured an entire issue around the idea of the YouEconomy, the growing number of individuals around the world who are using technology to facilitate the earning of secondary streams of income through side businesses and freelance work. Their research found several noticeable statistics, including:
- 33% of US adults had earned income in the YouEconomy in the previous twelve months, a percentage expected to grow,
- 4% of Americans are making more than 40% of their income through the YouEconomy,
- 54 million Americans performed some type of freelance work in 2015, and that
- An estimated 40% of the US workforce will be comprised of independent contractors by the year 2020.
These statistics should provide hope and inspiration to anyone looking to begin planting “bacon seeds”.
In summary, here are seven tips from Entrepreneur Magazine to keep in mind while growing your side business:
- Be crystal clear on the reason why you want to start a business.
- Be 100% committed to this reason (make sure you aren’t just pursuing a hobby).
- Create a personal vision for what your business will achieve.
- Join a mastermind group (an idea espoused by the once richest man in the word, Andrew Carnegie).
- Immerse yourself in learning.
- Stay positive about your day job (it’s your current bacon after all!).
- Set daily goals (remember, consistent daily actions and habits lead to success).
Jeremiah Clark, M.A., is a healthcare IT consultant with six Epic Systems certifications. He is also
a partner at Appalachian Digital, a local web development agency, and a founding partner of
MHQC LLC Real Estate Development. He and his wife Erin are natives of Kingsport, TN.