Leaving the stability and security of a full-time job is one of the biggest challenges for people who want to launch their own businesses. Building and starting a business requires a huge amount of energy and focus, which makes it hard to keep up with the demands of your current job while you’re also looking to the future. But at the same time, launching a business also requires money, which makes it hard to leave that same full-time job. And it’s not just your new business that needs the cash flow—you still have all your usual bills to worry about as well.
Still, leaving your full-time job can be the right move if you’re open to taking a part-time job or finding flexible or temporary work. These types of arrangements can help stabilize your income while also letting you devote more of your time to your new business. They bridge the gap between your old career and your new one, and they provide security without the stress.
Blair Badenhop, a wellness copywriter and brand visionary, says she knew that finding part-time work was essential to her sanity after she left the structure and predictability of her corporate job to pursue her own business. “I was incredibly fortunate to have stumbled upon Parsley Health at the perfect time and land a job as a health coach working two days a week,” she says. “Knowing that my base expenses were pretty much covered, I was much more relaxed and calm as I pursued the growth of my then-coaching and consulting business.”
Many people put their entrepreneurial goals on hold indefinitely because they’re restricted by the requirements of their full-time job. If that sounds like you, here’s how you can target a part-time or flexible job that will finally give you the freedom to take on your business.
1. Before you leave your full-time job, propose some part-time options.
In October 2014, I was working with a developer to build out my website and getting ready to launch my business the next month. I was planning to approach my boss to see whether she would be open to me freelancing with the company for several months while I got my business off the ground. As I was brainstorming how I would approach this conversation, my boss came to me, said she was restructuring the company, and asked whether I would be open to going part-time or freelance. I never believed in manifesting, but in this case, it happened!
While not every scenario works out that way, it is worth having a conversation with your full-time employers about whether they’re open to keeping you on as a part-time employee or freelancer. Your current employers may have strong feelings about how integral you are to operations, so I always encourage my clients to explore opportunities within their company as they gear up to launch their businesses. A client recently told me that she went to her boss to give notice, but was told she was too valuable to the company and they needed to continue to employ her in some capacity. She was able to work remotely on a part-time basis, which ensured that she had a consistent cash flow as she launched her business. It was a win-win for everyone.
2. Seek out part-time opportunities that don’t stress you out.
Makes sense, right? You can’t devote mental energy to your business goals if you leave work depleted and exhausted. The ideal job allows you to leave work behind when you walk out the door each day. You don’t don’t wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it. You aren’t distracted by it. And while you may not be used to a position like this, there are plenty of them to be found. Temp agencies can help you find gigs that meet these criteria. Assistant, receptionist, or data entry specialist temp jobs are plentiful, and they provide consistent, well-paid work.
The key is to determine what your personal work stressors are and avoid them without compromise. If you hate answering the phone, now is not the time to take on a front-desk receptionist role, regardless of how great the hours are or the pay is. There are plenty of options when it comes to temp work, so choose a job that plays to your strengths and feels easy.
That all said, if your current full-time job pays well, doesn’t add unnecessary stress to your life, and capitalizes on skills that feel easy and come naturally to you, it may be worth sticking it out. It can be challenging to start a new job (even a temp or part-time one that’s meant to be easy) while also focusing on your business. If your existing job gives you the space to do your thing, don’t feel that you HAVE to quit just because it takes up a lot of time on the clock. If it makes you feel secure, work around it while you build your business.
3. Consider jobs that allow you to work from home.
In today’s job market, more and more jobs allow you to work remotely. Many remote jobs also allow you to create your own schedule, which is a major perk when you’re scheduling meetings and calls related to your business. Working from home over the long-term might not be ideal, but it can be very helpful during transition periods. There’s no commute time, and multi-tasking can happen more naturally when you don’t have to duck out of an office to take a business call.
Of course, if working from home will add to your stress or drive you crazy, then don’t force it. Some people need to keep their work life separate from their home life, and it’s much easier to leave work at the office if you truly have to physically leave the building. Remote work may be a lifesaver for some people, but it’s not for everyone.
4. Use the time to take a breath.
You’ve bought yourself some time—literally. Now you can use it to your advantage. If you feel like you’ve been moving at warp speed, trying to balance your full-time job with all the demands of building a business, use this time to catch your breath. Take some time to really consider what you want your business to be, and what steps you need to take to make it all happen.
For Blair Badenhop, the stability of her part-time job allowed her to recognize how she wanted her business to evolve, leading her to shift the focus of her services. Without the job, she says, “I wouldn’t have been able to see things clearly and may have never gotten things off the ground.”
“Being calm in a storm of uncertainty is the only way to survive initial entrepreneurship, so I would highly recommend a part-time gig for anyone testing the waters now,” she adds. “Give yourself time to transition and to create your own business stability. It takes time."