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:
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).
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
|How I Suck at Not Paying Debts||Hitting 6 Figures Income at 28|
|How I Get a Huge Income Raise Each Year||Making $125K Online in 12 months|
|How I Buy Blogs||Most Debated Articles: The Primerica Saga|
|How I Have Survived My MBA||What is So Wrong With Making Money?|
|How I run multiples blogs and makes money without burning out|