10 Killer Strategies For Running A Successful Side Business [without Quitting Your Job]

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The world is changing. And as new ideas are born, societal values are evolving to meet the demands of these new trends. One trend that has slowly taken center-stage however, is the surge of freelance and remote work opportunities into the corporate space. 

Interestingly, although the trend was catalyzed by the pandemic, many organizations had already started exploring the idea of hybrid work schedules long before the pandemic came into play.

Is It Better To Be A Freelancer Or an Employee?

One of the major perks of the remote work policy for employees was the abundance of personal space – and time too. It also helped to strangle micro-management, which is why so many employers frowned at it initially.

While it is not uncommon for employees to have or manage side businesses in a bid to supplement their wages, the success rate of such enterprises is usually low.

running-a-side-business-protenThis is mainly because the pressure of satisfying your employer and the demands of managing your own business can easily swallow up your time and resources, making you unproductive and your boss unhappy.

But remote work created an opportunity for employees to carve out more time for personal projects such as personal development and freelancing. This consequently made it easier for more employees to consider running side businesses.

Can You Freelance While Employed?

However, running a freelance business requires detailed planning and preparation. For employees with demanding schedules, finding time to manage a side business will be near impossible. 

But the good news is that with a few golden guidelines and careful planning, you can easily manage and grow your side business  – while crushing all your corporate goals. 

How Employees Can Maintain A Side Business

If you’ve made up your mind to run a side business or offer freelance services while employed, then there are certain guidelines you need to follow to ensure your side business blooms into the enterprise of your dreams. 

running-a-side-business-proten1. Ensure You Have Adequate Capital

Whether you’re running a side business as an employee or going completely independent, ensuring you have enough capital to cover startup costs is one of the first rules of a successful enterprise. Most finance experts advise earmarking two to three months worth of emergency funds as well.

Depending on what kind of side business or freelance service you intend to launch as an employee, you’ll need to consider if you might have to hire extra hands and factor their wages into your capital budget. 

Apart from ensuring that all your tools are in good working condition, you’ll also need to anticipate and budget for the costs that are likely to arise over the first few months.


2. Choose An Area Of Expertise

While there are a host of freelance services and side businesses you can start while employed, you should pick a field where you can put your current skills to use. This saves you a lot of time and stress and allows you to focus on providing quality service rather than developing new skills.

Examine your field of expertise to see if there is an opportunity for you to offer a freelance service using any of the professional skills you already have. And channel your resources towards mapping out a matching business plan.


3. Set Timelines For Everything

Set a timeframe once you’ve decided what your goals are. Check in at regular intervals to ensure you’re on track, and remember that it’s fine to alter your goals as you learn more about the market and the competition.

4. Clearly Define Your Goals & Milestones

It’s easy to get lost in the illusion of progress when you fail to set clear goals and objectives. Many people get comfortable with their side business as soon as a little income starts trickling in. 

Setting clear goals and defining milestones makes it easier to stay focused on the operations and processes needed to grow your side business.


5. Avoid Handshake Deals

Although handshake transactions can and do work, it is usually preferable to have a formal agreement with clients.

A contract will not necessarily help you reclaim money if they fail to pay, but it will help to manage expectations on both sides, keep honest people honest, and avoid surprises down the line.


running-a-side-business-proten6. Set Up An Accounting System; Document Everything

Once you’ve got jobs, you’ll need to set up an accounting system that keeps track of your bills and when you’ve been paid. Keep note of your costs as well so that you may deduct them at the end of the year.

You’re in fine condition as long as you keep (and keep track of) receipts, including costs, payments due, and payments received, as well as correctly arranging invoices and bills.


7. Vet Your Clients Objectively

Your customer should be reasonably straightforward to communicate with, and they should pay you on schedule and in full as per your contract.

A good client is one who offers you work that you want to do and are capable of doing, and who collaborates with you to achieve a positive outcome.

When selecting a client, always avoid desperation and emotion. This reduces the possibility of getting stuck with a bad client who wastes your time and resources.

8. Avoid Under-Charging Or Over-Charging

Setting prices for your services might be difficult. If you shoot too high, you can lose the job; if you shoot too low, you’ll be so overextended, financially and emotionally, that you won’t be able to perform your best work.

If your side business provides a service relevant to your present – or most recent – job, you can set your pricing based on your earnings.

Then, depending on your estimation of how long each job will take, charge hourly or by the project.


9. Advertise Consistently

Advertising your side venture at every chance will also help you grow your customer base. Your primary techniques of publicity will vary depending on the type of services your side business provides.

However, advertising on digital platforms and creating an online portfolio are common, effective ways to advertise your company and establish a strong client base.


10. Revise And Strategize

Once your company is up and running, don’t be hesitant to revisit your charges, update them, and negotiate accordingly—especially when taking on new clients.

Last Notes..

While the thought of running a side business or owning a venture is enticing, it is critical to recognize the risks before getting involved. Many people start side enterprises because they want to have flexible schedules and work for themselves, but many jump ship when the combined pressures of employment and business become too much.


Interestingly, strengthening your soft and hard skills in the corporate sector might assist individuals in establishing successful firms on their own. If you’re thinking of starting your own side company or freelancing service while working, you should also read this article on the most important workplace soft skills.

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