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Smart tips for those looking to start a part time business

Many people who want to start their own business start off with a part-time company because this will make them so confident they know all about the trade before they eventually launch a full scale business – and make it work.

And that's really smart!

The smart thing about starting a part time company is that you get to learn lots of things about the business on the side and it makes you more prepared when you take the big plunge and get started full time. You have time to adjust the business concept and the procedures and identify weaknesses before you “go all in.”

What to consider if you want to start a part time business:

1. Choose a business that can be ran part time
If you have another job, it's important to make both of your jobs work, so you don't become stressed by having to handle both jobs with the ”left hand”.

2. Take this opportunity to do some really thorough research
This is where many full time businesses fail. Determine the need for making money, who is going to put up a fight for the money and the market and what they do that you don't intend to do yourself – but also find out what they don't do and what you can do to create competitive advantages.
Finding out as much as possible while you can afford to spend time on it, is smart because it creates a good foundation for your business when you let go of the job you have now.

3. Think of money
How much will it cost to get your part-time business off the ground and how much do you need to make to survive?
Make a pessimistic estimate. Imagine there is another person who will start the company and that it is you who will lend money to him/her. This is a great way to become sufficiently self-critical and stingy about the calculations. You know how it is - when we really want things we tend to just highlight everything that is positive about it.

You must ask yourself whiny questions such as:
• And why will this idea work?
• Is the location of my business good enough? Why is that?
• Why should customers buy from me and not from others?
• What happens if I don't sell as much as I thought?
• Do I know everything I need to know about my future clients? Tell me what you know ...
• Do I know everything I need to know be able to sell? Tell me more ...
• Is it reasonable to assume that this idea can support me?
• Is it reasonable to assume that this idea is just as relevant in one, two and five years time? If not - can I add or renew it so that it can stay current?

4. Are you mentally prepared?
It's important to know that entrepreneurship can be rough if you don't have the ability to pull yourself together when things go bad. Some days are worthless and the resistance is tough. But if you know that all entrepreneurs have both difficult uphill battles and long rewarding scenic stretches going downhill with lots of tailwind, you can handle the resistance easier. Sometimes it will rain and sometimes it will be sunny - but rarely will it be dull.

5. Get your loved ones aboard for the trip
Don't underestimate this point. If you live with someone, it's important to get that person on board. This can be a struggle because you may find that he/she really prefers to go for security a lot more than you do. He/she might think that your business idea is a stupid risk, something that will jeopardize your financial security.
I don't think it's your job to take responsibility for both the company and for keeping your partner happy. If you have a dream, if you have checked the plausibility if it'll work, then you need to let other people worry and go for your dreams. In two years they will say that they supported you all the way even though they didn't – but that's life. What I mean to say, is that entrepreneurs must carry a strong fire inside to handle all the things that they will face. That fire must not be extinguished by the slightest resistance and the reward is that you get a much freer life.

Don't be a coward. Life is not there for us to take baby steps through it.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.