Tag Archives: work

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 !

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My first blog of spring

It’s been a bit too long since I’ve posted anything here on my own blog. It’s not that I haven’t been writing lately, because I have. Just not here.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve written web content for a cosmetic surgeon, a physiotherapy clinic, and a renovation company as well as lots of articles about SEO, web design and re-marketing among other things.

I’m also writing again for Weather Democracy – a new social site where weather enthusiasts can test their forecasting skills.

And then there’s my gardening articles that I’ve been doing for close to a year now … I was recently congratulated by that client because I was successfully able to come up with enough season-appropriate topics related to gardening (albeit sometimes loosely related) to make it through the winter. Now that it’s spring again, writing about gardening should be considerably easier.

And now that it’s spring (the first full day of it in fact) it’s also a good time to take a few moments and post something for myself. I for one, am very happy that we are starting to see some sun and warmer weather – and I feel sorry for the folks in the Maritimes who have snowstorms again in the forecast this weekend.

For me, the first full day of spring was spent with my husband and in-laws. We took them out to the Pinecroft for lunch at the Green Frog Tea Room, stopping en-route to purchase some honey from Clovermead. If you live in the London area, I highly recommend both of these places. Pinecroft is incredibly beautiful and romantic and Clovermead is the only place we get our honey.

This weekend also happens to be the last weekend of March break for schools here in Ontario. Now as far as work goes, this means nothing to me – I still have to work at my day job. What it does mean though is a week long break from Seikido (my martial arts class). And that meant free evenings – something I don’t have very often. It was a great break but I’m definitely ready to go back.

And it was the ideal time to have a break too because this coming week at work promises to be especially busy with two major events, a board meeting and a strategic planning session.

And I’ll be back to martial arts.

And I’ve got lots more freelance writing to do.

But spring has sprung, the days are getting longer – and hopefully soon, it will be warm enough to do at least some of my writing el fresco while enjoying the sights , sounds and aromas of springtime.

The art of doing (almost) nothing

Well, today is the last day of my mini vacation from my day job. I took the time, not because I was heading off to some exotic location (although that would have been wonderful) – but essentially because I have vacation time that I’ll lose if I don’t use it up by our corporate year end.

My plan was to get a few things done around the house, get my hair done, do a bit of shopping as well as work on my freelance business. Not exactly a movie script I know – but it’s exciting to me. 🙂

Did I get everything that I planned to do done? Nope!

Of course some of my lack of productivity was my fault – a combination of procrastination and just being over tired. And part of my productivity was derailed by other circumstances (like my brother-in-law from Tennessee coming to London for almost a week) 😉

But I definitely feel more rested and ready to become a productive member of society again 🙂

And it was good building my business too – I was able to gain a new client and have also had some communication with two other prospects.

So while I feel like I’ve done almost nothing this past week – I do feel rather refreshed and recharged. Maybe I accomplished more than I think I did…

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?

Setting Goals… and Limits

It’s no secret that running what has now become a full time business as well as working at a full time job can fill your days. Over the last six months or so the writing business has grown to the point where I could quite possibly be sitting in front of my laptop banging out content 24/7 – if that’s what I wanted to do.

To be honest, sometimes that’s tempting. I love what I’m doing.

But never ending work – even work that you love – is far from a healthy way to live. So, I must have a way to manage my work – especially if I like to enjoy a social life as well!

I’ve always been good at setting goals for myself – but I’ve been less good at setting limits. And I think that setting limits is important too. That’s not something you hear a lot in business circles. You are more likely to hear cliché’s like “the sky’s the limit” or “don’t limit yourself.”

And in the context of human potential, I agree somewhat with these sentiments.

But in terms of what you can actually accomplish in a day – you have to set reasonable boundaries – because cardiac wards are full of people who didn’t believe in setting limits.

So recently, as a freelance writer – I’ve set a daily word count goal/limit for myself. There have been days where I have failed to reach that goal – but there have been other days where I just seem to get into a groove and I exceed the limit.

But overall – having a set number of words to reach for has been tremendously helpful – both in the operation of my business and allowing me to have a social life as well.

And the word count is not going to stay stagnant either. I’m working on ways to increase it and grow my business  – because I definitely think that there is growth potential.

The point is, that if you have your own freelance business – you know that goals are important – but set some limits too. Because there is more to life than work!

On the Side – Running a Successful Side Business When You Are Not Ready to Leave Your Job

When my current employer was interviewing me for the first time, he asked me if I had an entrepreneurial bent as it would be beneficial toward my success in the position. I told him that I did. And that’s the truth. Over the past ten years, I’ve had a brief stint with an MLM, a business in which I made and sold vericomposters and my present business of freelance writing and social media management.

I’ve always thought that someday, I might venture out into exclusive entrepreneurship – and someday I still might.

But today, I find myself with a full time job and a full time successful business. And the truth is that I still love my job and I’m not ready to leave.

So the question is, how do I manage both?
Here are a few tips that I’ve learned so far:

Manage Your Time

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not “a list person” but lately I’ve found that lists have been a real lifesaver and timesaver. I make a list of things that I want to accomplish each day and then stroke them off the list as I progress.

I’m careful not to put an unrealistic amount of “to dos” on my list as I want to make sure I have the sense of accomplishment that comes from stroking off all the items.

I also set clear parameters around my job time and my business time – respecting both! I will not rob my employer of his time but equally important, I refuse to rob myself of time set aside to work on my business.

Get help when you need it

There is only so much time in the day so it makes sense to hire help! There have been times in my business when I have gotten so busy that I have needed to hire administrative help on a contract basis. I no longer view this as cutting into my profits but rather an essential investment to better serve my clients and preserve my sanity!

Let unimportant things slide

Again, there is only so much time in the day. Up until recently, I have been an avid contester. Actually I still like to contest – and yes, I have won several fairly decent prizes including 3 tablets, 2 barbeques, a cell phone and a $2000 shopping spree.

But with the growth of my business, contesting has taken a back seat. And that’s ok.

Make time for the important

I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that between my job and my business that I could work 24 hours a day. But if I did that, life would probably not be very fun – not to mention it could mean sacrificing health as well as relationships.

So I deliberately make sure that I have time for other important things in my life such as church, going out with friends, having date nights with my husband and attending my martial arts class on a regular basis.

And yes, to me these are ALL important.

So there it is – I love my job – I love my business – and for now at least, I’m doing what it takes to manage both.