I read once that one of the kindest things an entrepreneur could do for herself was to get a part-time job.
I promptly set the article down. Far away from me – like it was carrying a disease I could catch. A part-time job? Not me! I was a purist, one of the elite – the dedicated few. I was working full-time on my dream, and I was not going to give a second of my time to anything less.
I moved back in with my parents after I started my business in order to minimizing my bills. I lived and built my business that way for a year. I felt that the more time I could spend on my business the better – if I could just block out a few years to work singularly on my business growth, it would take off and I could start my life over again.
Like many dream chasers, I didn’t realize that chasing down a singular dream can look like many, many different things along the way. That certainly changed in year two, when I landed a part time job so that I could bootstrap for my business, move to New York City, and take care of myself in the ways I felt I needed to.
Turns out, my business grew more, not less, due to my taking some time out to make some cash on the side.
Here are four questions to help you know if you’re in the same boat:
1. Do you need it?
A friend of mine often says that, “the most important thing is; you have to get to tomorrow.” You need a place to live, food to eat and clothing on your back. And, he’s right. When it comes to your first few years of entrepreneurship, this can often be the hardest part. Many people do as I did, and move in with family or friends for a period of time, take out loans or live off your savings. But, sometimes, circumstances drive you to it – and you have to buckle down, and work on the side. And, this is not leaving your dream. This is taking care of yourself and your baby (business) along the way.
2. Does your business need it?
In the beginning of my second year running Nakate, we desperately needed to rebrand in order to move towards growth I knew was necessary for the business. But this meant hiring someone to redesign the website, and that meant putting out money the business, as it were, wasn’t making. It was several situations like this that drove me to find a way to put money into the business myself. In the end, it was those 20-30 hours a week I put into a part time job that saved my business, instead of taking from it.
3. Do you want something you can’t have?
I cannot emphasize enough that you must be able to enjoy the process of building your life as an entrepreneur. So, I am here to tell you that there is nothing wrong getting a part-time job so you can have something you want. Whether you’re unable to buy new sweaters for months on end, can’t handle eating top ramen anymore or really, truly have to have a bright pink pant suit, you may just have to put in a few extra hours to provide that for yourself as you work hard on your business along the way. I’ve learned that it is necessary to keep myself happy in order to keep myself working my hardest. So, go! Make some extra money, and buy yourself some happiness. Trust me, your business will thank you.
4. Is it where you need to be?
Sometimes we think that because we work from home, we can work anywhere. A laptop, a desk, an americano, and we’re good to go. But that isn’t always necessarily true. There are some important questions to ask yourself, like any business does when they set up a location. Where is most of your clientele located? Where are most the resources for businesses like yours? Where are you likely to have the support system and economy you need to survive? If you find that it would be best for your business, you may need to get a part time job to finance the move and your life while you do it. Who knows? It could be the move that changes everything for your business…and perhaps even your life.