Tag Archives: job

5 Reasons Why You Should Start a Side Business in 2016

Every day, more and more people step out into the world of entrepreneurship – and many of these folks do so while still working full time. Some call this a side hustle and others call it chicken entrepreneurship but there does seem to be some evidence that business owners who start their venture while still having the security of a paycheck tend to do better than those who don’t.

Of course there are pros and cons to doing it each way, but if you need some encouragement on why you should get your side business started in 2016, here are a few compelling reasons:

  1. Security – Take a quick poll of your co-workers and most of them will probably tell you that working full-time in a salaried job is more secure than striking out on your own. And yet, chances are they all know of someone who was blindsided by an unexpected layoff. If the financial crisis of 2008 has taught us anything, it is that jobs are not as secure as we had been led to believe. Of course, there is no guarantee in business either, but if you are building a side business while still working full-time, you’ve got an added layer of security.
  2. Money – If you are like most employees, chances are that annual raises have not even kept pace with inflation. Operating your own side business can give you that extra bit of breathing room and even allow for some luxuries. Who knows, you may even find your side gig paying out more than your regular employer!
  3. Sharpen your skills – Should you decide to start your own business, chances are you will be doing something in which you already have some level of skill. In some ways, starting a business is a bit like taking a course – skills will be developed as you go along. At the start, you could find yourself undercharging for your services, but as your confidence grows, you’ll target specific types of customers and start charging what you’re really worth.
  4. Develop new skills – Starting a business will also inevitably involve developing some new skills. Negotiating contracts, keeping track of payments and invoices, or creating a simple website may not be your core business but they may all be necessary to get your business off the ground. Eventually, you may want to hire these tasks out, but if you’re low on capital at the onset of your business, you might just learn to do them yourself.
  5. Make new contacts – Most business owners really can’t have a successful business unless they get out there and promote themselves. Networking either in person or via the Internet can help you build valuable connections that can benefit you not only in business but in other areas of your life as well.

If you’ve been contemplating the idea of starting your own side business while still working full-time, then 2016 may just be your year. Why not commit to taking one step today to making your side business a reality. Whether that step involves placing an ad, creating a business card or simply doing a bit of research – get out there and get started !

Why flexible working from home is awesome and why more employers should offer it

More and more, technology is allowing many of us to do our jobs from home – or at the very least, telecommute on occasion. I am fortunate enough to be one of those lucky few that can work from home once in awhile as much of the software that I use is web based, and due to the wonderful fact that I can log in to my work computer remotely. While, it hasn’t quite got to the point of working from a SUP camp in Costa Rica, I haven’t given up hope.

Lately, with my freelance business growing the way that it is, along with my martial arts training, I’ve been thinking that if I could spend even more time working from home, it would really amp up my productivity in all areas. It would also help to provide some of the work life balance I’ve been missing lately.

To give an example of how this can work to everyone’s advantage,  I’ll tell you a bit about the last time that I worked from home. I was suffering with a migraine. Had I been at the office, I would have just suffered through. I would have looked at my phone, made idle chit chat with co-workers, and I would have spent some time starring at my computer screen trying to look busy because frankly that’s all I would have been capable of doing at the time. But working from home, the story goes a little bit differently. I got up and took a hot shower – felt better and got back to work.

Which scenario sounds more productive to you?

But if you require more objective evidence that more employers should offer flexible work arrangements, then consider some of the proven benefits to both employees and employers.

Benefits for the employer

  • Working at your own pace, without distractions like office gossip is more productive. A recent study conducted by Stanford University found that not only did the majority of employees not slack off while working from home, their productivity level actually increased by 13%.
  • It allows employers to recruit from anywhere. Since distance is no longer a barrier, employers can recruit the best and brightest no matter where they happen to be located. Looking at my list of clients that I freelance for, none of them are in London. The closest is Tillsonburg followed by Burlington and Toronto. I’ve also done work for clients in the United States, England, Germany and Australia. This simply wouldn’t have been possible if I had had to meet each one in person.
  • It encourages creativity. Let’s face it, looking at the same four cubicle walls day in and day out doesn’t provide a lot of inspiration. But when you stop segmenting “work life” and “real life” – when you’re not constantly weighing whether you are on or off the clock, it allows you to have more inspired ideas for the benefit of your employer whether your at your home office, your local Starbucks or on a tropical beach somewhere.
  • It’s cutting  edge. Despite the advantages of being able to work from home or on a flexible schedule, very few companies actually offer it. The idea came into the spotlight again about a year ago when Richard Branson announced that Virgin employees would now reap the advantages of this model – Branson even goes as far to offer unlimited vacation provided employees get their work done. But this didn’t originate with Virgin. Branson got the idea from Netflix.  That’s not to say that Virgin and Netflix employees can do whatever they like – they operate on a principle called Results Only Work Environments or ROWEs. Cali Ressler, co-author of “Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It” emphasizes that companies should be looking at the results that employees produce and not the face time. The fact that only a select handful of employers actually offer this type of arrangement can give those employers a distinct advantage – allowing them to attract and retain the best talent.

Advantages to the employee

Clearly not every job is suited to working from home or working on a flexible schedule. Retail and dining establishments come to mind. According to research from Global Workplace Analytics, the average employee who is permitted to work from home at least 50% of the time is 49 years old, has a college degree and works in a non-union, salaried, management or professional role. Over 75% of these earn at least $65,000 a year.

But those lucky few who can work from home and on flexible schedules tend to be happier and healthier because they have a greater work-life balance. Research from Penn State University also shows that these workers get an average of 8 additional minutes of sleep each night and have better sleep quality than those who must go into the office every day.

Employees who work from home may also feel more freedom to get up and move around once in awhile. Taking a five minute movement break every 25 minutes may well help them avoid certain health problems later on in life.

All this isn’t to say that working on a flexible schedule doesn’t have some drawbacks. It turns out that out of sight can sometimes also mean out of mind. And it’s not uncommon for work from home employees to be overlooked for promotion. But for the 36% of us who would choose working from home over a pay raise, the other cumulative benefits may well be worth it.

Why (just about) everyone should have their own business

Starting a business is not for everyone… or is it? I’ve come to the conclusion that if it is not for everyone, then it is certainly for most people. I’m not talking about necessarily starting the next Apple or even running a small local Mom and Pop shop for that matter. But I do think that most people should be running their own show independent from their employer (even if they love their job and wouldn’t dream of leaving!)

I’ve gained a bit of a reputation recently in some circles for helping others get jobs (or, at least interviews). My day job brings me in contact with a lot of business owners, so when a position becomes available, there is a pretty decent chance that I will hear about it. But when someone tells me that they are looking for a job, I almost always ask them why they don’t go into business for themselves.

This was the case recently when a friend of mine (who has a job but isn’t getting a lot of hours), mentioned that he was looking for another part time job. When I mentioned that perhaps he run his own side business – he explained that the idea frightened him. But while he was envisioning buildings, overhead, employees, etc., I was envisioning something much simpler – like posting an ad on Kijiji or Craigslist. You know… advertising his skills and seeing what happens.

If you’ve got a skill or service to offer, then starting your own business doesn’t have to be complicated.  And it doesn’t have to be a replacement for a job with a steady income either – if you need the security of regular employment (and there is absolutely no shame in that!), it can simply be a side gig. And if your side mushrooms into something even more profitable than your day job? All the better!

Need more reasons to start your own business?

It helps to keep you sharp – Even the best jobs can get routine – having your own gig helps you stay creative and passionate about what you do. It can arguably even make you a better employee.

You’ll develop new skills – I started my business because of my writing ability – but in the process, I’ve developed stronger accounting and negotiation skills.

It offers security – No one should be completely reliant on their employer. I personally know more than a few people who have been totally blindsided by a layoff or business closure.

More money – I might not have purchased those designer sunglasses before when all I had was my regular salary – but now who knows? Maybe even save up for that paddleboarding excursion in Costa Rica! (And I’m also socking more away for retirement as recommended by my financial advisor)

It’s fun! – And really, do you need another reason?