November 30, 2011, 7:07 am

Can You Combine Your Business With Your Day Job?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business,Career
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Today I want to discuss a very touchy topic: having a side business (or a blog) on top of your job. Either on this blog or at work, I always get this question:

“How do you manage to have a business on the side and perform at work at the same time?”

And an even an even touchier question follows:

“Does your boss know?”

 

The first question is easy to answer, in my opinion, as it all comes down to time management (here are some of my best time management tips and also here). Managing a side business and keeping your day job doesn’t require you to work more hours but it requires you to work smarter and more efficiently. But being efficient is one thing, managing both your side projects and a day job while letting your boss know about it is another. Here are a few tips I’ve used in the past couple of years:

 

Be Honest

In my personal case, this wasn’t an option: I have to declare any side income / project or participation in any company.  If I don’t, I may lose my job. This is why my boss and HR know about my side business. However, even if I had the choice to declare it or not, I would tell them without hesitation. Why? Because it gives me leverage when negotiating. My boss is very aware that I have another immediate source of income. Therefore, I can easily decide to work elsewhere as I can count on my side business income to support my lifestyle in the meantime.

 

I’ve also noticed that I have gained more respect from colleagues and other managers. They see great potential in me and are impressed by the fact that I can manage 2 “careers” at the same time. So if you are serious about your side project and have started to make a few bucks already, don’t be shy to tell your boss. And if you are afraid of getting fired, just think that it costs a lot for a firm to replace an employee (the cost of not having someone working while they search, the cost of looking and interviewing candidates and the cost of training a new employee).

Productivity

 

There is one thing that you must be very careful with if you disclose that you have another source of income; make sure you do your day job well.  As cool as it is to impress people by my sense of entrepreneurship, it could also play against me if I can’t deliver at my day job. My sideline would easily become the target of any suspicions such as, when do I find the time to work on it. If I work on my online company while at work and don’t do my day job correctly, I will be asked to stop immediately. This would definitely make sense but still, it is important to be aware of what is waiting for you if you tell the world that you make money on the side.

 

Mind you, you may have the very same problem if your performance drops after a newborn or getting married. Remember, the corporate world is full of dream crashers ;-).

 

The fine line

There are a lot of shades of gray between what you should/could/would do when you think of running your own venture on the side while keeping your day job. For example, at no time would  I use/mention/represent my job or my employer on any of my blogs. I made it clear that this is my personal life and that I am not writing as a financial planner or an employee of X Corporation. My employer definitely appreciates this and I certainly want to keep him happy ;-).

 

The other point to be careful about is to make sure that the compliance department is okay with your activities. You may want to hide it from them but if they find that you did, chances are that you will be packing up your boxes a few minutes later. I would rather sit down with them and ask them what I can and can’t do instead of trying to play hide-and-seek with them.

 

Finally, you may mention that you are making money on the side to your entourage but don’t start bragging about it. For example, nobody at work knows how much I make and how I make my money online (unless they read this blog, lol!). While I want to be honest, I don’t want to draw too much attention on me either. Finding the balance between independence and showing off is very important. Plus, a little bit of mystery is always more exciting ;-D

 

 

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Comments

Blogging was just a side job before I decided to go full-time. My bosses know about this. They also know that I write for other blogs. But for as long as I do not use the company’s resources for my side job and I do my regular job efficiently, they wouldn’t care what I do on the side.

by: The Financial Blogger | November 30th, 2011 (9:38 am)

Hey Charleen,

that’s pretty interesting. I got a similar discussion with my boss at first but one more thing was added: the image of the corporation. They wanted to make sure that I don’t mention my employer in case I go down on a crazy mood and write stupidities ;-).

When I was teaching, people knew I was working on books and didn’t have a problem with it. But then, that’s not corporate America.

DH, on the other hand, daren’t tell anyone at his geek-place of any attempt to earn side income. You’re expected to be bedrock loyal to the company.

I had a similar discussion with a friend recently. There were a few concerns that we both came up with:

1. the topic of your blog. It really depends what your side hustle is. What if you started running a blog in a niche that your boss wasn’t fond of?

2. Confidentiality issues. What if you take a day off from work (call in sick) and a new blog post goes up? Can you get in trouble?

by: The Financial Blogger | November 30th, 2011 (6:02 pm)

@Emily, you don’t need to not be loyal to your employer even if you have a side business. Off course, some people won’t like it. But you can also prove that you are loyal to your company too (I’ve been with the same employer for 8 years now 😉 ).

@MD, interesting questions 😉
1- I guess you have to know where you limits are…. we have guidelines to follow as well (there are some no-no topics we can’t talk about 😉 ).

2- that’s an interesting situation. but I guess that you must be very bad lucked if your boss reads your blog with great interest. you can always tell him that you schedule your articles weeks in advance 😉

[…] 11. Can You Combine Your Business With Your Day Job? @ TFB. […]

[…] Money Cactus reminds us to invest at least 10 percent of our income, plus keep an emergency fund. The Financial Blogger discusses pro’s and con’s of having a side gig: it might give you some extra income, but it might also distract from your day job. […]

This is what scares me about possibly getting another full time job. I don’t want to lose my focus. With careful planning, I can continue freelancing.