To tell or not to tell that is the question? So you have a blog, or better, a small business on the side. Should you tell your boss about it? Most bloggers are anonymous for this reason; they don’t want their boss to make the link between the blog (or side business) and the individual working for him.
Why is that? Is it because we are afraid that our employer would spy on us because they think that we would work on our alternative source of income instead of concentrating on our day job?
Is it because we are afraid to be asked to stop our extracurricular activities?
Is it because we are afraid of being disciplined due to “inappropriate” statements found on our blogs?
All these reasons and many others are related to one simple thing: FEAR.
In all honesty, my boss knows about my online empire. She knows about the fact that I am making money online, that I blog about personal finance and that I am a shareholder of a small corporation. I’m sure you can find plenty of reasons to not declare that you have are making money on the side through your blog or any other kind of small venture. But you might have not considered the benefits you can get from telling your employer that you run a business. This is why I am going to give you a few benefits of telling your boss you have a small business.
Please note that in my case, due to legislation around my day job, I have to declare any participation in a corporation and all additional sources of income. In fact, even volunteer activities have to be reported in my field!
Being Job Independent
This is probably my biggest advantage: my boss knows that I could easily live from something else than my day job. She doesn’t know about all the details obviously, but she knows that my company is generating sufficient income to support my lifestyle. This makes a huge difference in the relationship you have with your employer. They know that you like your job (if not, you have the ability to quit) and they also know that they should take care of you (up to a certain point). Being job independent doesn’t mean that you can be arrogant, far from it! However, it helps you to negotiate with your boss in order to get what you deserve. Corporate structure dictates that, sometimes your manager will have to “put you on the shelf” instead of giving you what you expect (promotion, salary raise, etc) right away. They do it because they don’t always have the choice (they still have to generate profits and manage their whole department) but they will pick someone else if they know that you are a little bit more independent financially…
Create a Wow
Having my own company helped me earn credibility from my boss, my peers and my clients. While most of them don’t know the details of what I do (I make sure to draw a clear line between my business and my day job), they are intrigued and impressed by the fact that I can manage everything at the same time. When people around you are impressed, it helps you shine (and obviously increases your chances of getting a promotion!).
The key point is not to brag about it and stay VERY HUMBLE. I don’t talk much about my company and I keep some mystery around it. Most people just know that I run websites and make money out from it. I tell everyone that I don’t get clients from my online business and that I don’t mix my financial planner job with my blogs even when I talk about personal finance. I actually do more than tell them… I don’t mix both in the real world either!
Get more Exposure
I am now known for being a great financial planner as well as an entrepreneur. The last time I had an interview (it was for the Canadian Business Magazine), I had the photographer to come to my branch and my boss was quite happy of having her branch shine at the same time!
The last thing I want: is to create a bad surprise for my employer. I don’t want them to find my sites or my incorporation by chance. If it happened, I would be in serious trouble. Why did you hide it from us? What are you doing exactly? This is where you get tons of questions as if you were a criminal while you actually do everything by the rules. Being honest has always served me (even though I hate paying taxes 😉 ), so I applied the same guidelines with my employer.
Final thoughts on telling your boss
Since I first started The Financial Blogger, I didn’t know that I was going to make some serious money with the internet but I knew that someone I know could identify me. This is why I have decided to write only things that I feel comfortable with (or that I can defend if you turn it the other way around). Since I’m okay with what is being published, it means that I am also okay with people reading my stuff… including my employer!
I think that it is very important that you don’t bad mouth people you know on your blog because you do have a “louder” voice than most people through this medium. Therefore, you have to be careful with what you do with it. After all, with great powers, come great responsibilities!
What is your take on this? Are you comfortable telling your boss you make money online?
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