I can confidently predict that as I write this article there are thousands of people at work dreaming of how they can start their own business.

Unfortunately most will never leave the (false) security of their full-time jobs.

But it doesn’t have to be a black and white decision.

It is possible to setup your own online business whilst still receiving a full-time salary.

Here are my top 10 tips to starting your online business whilst still holding down a job:

Tip #1 – Write a Business Plan

First time entrepreneurs hate writing business plans. The thought of trying to analyse a business before it’s started creates mental paralysis.

But it doesn’t need to be hard. All you need to do is think about three things:

  • Where do I want my business to be in a years time?
  • Where am I today?
  • What do I need to do over the next 12 months, to get from where I am today, to where I want to be?

That’s it.

If you are trying to juggle a full-time job and start a business, you must be able to prioritise what is important.

Tip #2 – Create a Dream Wall

Don’t skip this step; it’s as important as all the others.

Find a space on the wall near to where you spend time working, both in your office and at home. Stick pictures of all the things you would be doing if you succeeded in building your own successful business.

They could be pictures of a tropical beach, a yacht, a sports car or a fairway from one of the world’s top golf courses. They could be photos of you playing with your kids or working in your garden. Maybe they are cutouts from magazines of places you dream of visiting.

Whatever your dream, visualise it on your dream wall; it will keep you going when the going gets tough!

Tip #3 – Prioritise What Is Important, Not What is Urgent

Entrepreneurs always have more things to do than time to do them. It has always been the case, always will be. Therefore your success will be determined by identifying the things that will move your business forward quickest.

I recently worked with an entrepreneur who took six weeks to design a logo and stationary for her online business. That’s six valuable weeks wasted.

Before you do any task ask yourself “will this move me nearer to my ultimate goal quicker than any other task on my list?”

Tip #4 – Write What You Need to Do In Your Diary

It is not enough to have a business plan and a ‘to do’ list; you must actually add all the activities to your diary. If you don’t, they won’t get done.

There will be times when you get home from work and all you want to do is collapse in front of the TV. It’s the people who stick to their plans even when the going gets tough who end up living their dream.

Tip #5 – Fund Your Start-Up From Your Earnings and Savings

Try to find a way of funding the business start up from your savings and earnings. There are several reasons for this:

  • If it is your own money you will be very focused on how you spend it
  • Self-funded businesses usually become profitable faster than businesses started with other peoples money
  • Raising money from outside sources is time consuming and frustrating
  • If you raise money, you will probably have to give up part ownership of the business

Consider your employer as your banker and set aside a portion of your salary to fund your business.

Tip #6 – Get Help

Get help from wherever you can.

Ask friends, family and colleagues. Email successful entrepreneurs on the internet. Find a mentor who you respect and who has already achieved what you want to do.

Never be afraid to ask for help. The worst that can happen is people will say no. The best thing that could happen is they provide the help that leads you to success.

Tip #7 – Use a Managed Service for Your Website

For someone who has never run a website before, there is a lot to learn. You should minimise this learning curve by using a managed service to run your website. A managed service simply means someone else takes care of the technical stuff (hosting, maintenance, backups, upgrades, security, etc) and you simply use their online service to run your website in exchange for a monthly fee.

Examples of good managed services are:

  • SubHub – www.subhub.com - a platform for running an online magazine, paid blog, membership website, advertising funded website, online newsletter, etc
  • Volusion – www.volusion.com - a platform for running an online shop

Tip #8 Outsource, Outsource, Outsource

Outsourcing is paying other people to undertake specific business tasks. Over the last 10 years outsourcing has become critical to the success of millions of businesses around the world.

So what could you outsource?

  • Software development – Find a developer at oDesk
  • Copy writing for your website – Find writers at eLance
  • Invoicing – Try using a service like Freshbooks
  • Design  - Again eLance eLance
  • General admin – Try YourManInIndia

If you can learn to outsource business tasks you will be able to run a reasonable sized business without the need for any full-time staff.

Tip #9 – Use As Many Free Online Services as Possible

It is amazing how many fantastic services there available for free on the internet. Take a look at this list of services that I used to get my business started.

35 Free or Cheap Resources for Your Internet Start Up

Using these services will enable you to work anywhere with an internet connection, co-ordinate your virtual team, manage all aspects of your business and ensure all your data is safe.

Tip #10 – “It is Darkest Just Before Dawn”

The biggest breakthroughs in many small businesses come just after the entrepreneur is at their lowest point.

Setting up your own business is not easy, but the difference between those who succeed and those who fail is perseverance when you feel like giving up. Battle your way through difficult days and you will be successful.


There is no security anymore in being a wage slave. However, for many people it is very difficult to move from a paying job to starting their own business.

The best compromise is to start a business whilst still working. This is challenging, but many people make it happen. If you follow these 10 tips they should make the process much easier.

Good luck!