You made the decision to start your own business. Congratulations. But as it was/is for everyone else – it is difficult to do the jump. How are you going to pay your bills? How do you pay for food and for the mortgage? Not many new entrepreneurs have enough funds to quit their job and start the new business from scratch. You will not know when the new business (if at all) will generate enough income for you to pay your bills.
The most preferred solution would be that you could continue working your current job and at the same time build up your business. That way you still have income but also generate income from your new business. You’re not the first one in this situation and probably not the last one. How did other people do it when they started?
It is very important during the startup time to be available to your customers. If your current job does not allow you to access the Internet and your own email, it will be very difficult to start. Asking your boss for permission is usually not an option. If he knows you’re leaving …..! You will also need to be careful not to abandon your tasks and duties of your job. Remember – one day you could be the employer and you sure don’t want your employees to run down your business because they are concentrated doing their own gig. So, maintain a high work ethic – even if it is hard and difficult. If you are able to use the Internet at work for your own thing – be fair enough to do your job. You are still getting a salary from your employer.
So, what can you do to get your business going and still work for your existing employer? Try to automate things. Automation makes it look like that you are actually out there doing something – running your business. If you are selling domain names – automate it. There are plenty of scripts and software packages out there that will do this for you. Setup helpdesk software that includes a knowledge base. Fill the knowledge base with knowledge and how to information. Reduce the exposure of getting a helpdesk ticket for a simple question not being answered in your knowledge base.
If you cannot access email from work but if you have access to your corporate email – use forwarders on your own email and have messages being forwarded to work. At least you know what is going on and do not have to worry about open tickets or a new user signing-up. If worst comes to worse you would be able to reply from the corporate email (I still do not recommend doing this.) Ask friends for help. If you know somebody who has web access during the day while you work and is willing to help out – forward the message to him or her. Prepare those friends with email templates and knowledge of what to do. A new account can be set up easily – maybe even via a script that your friend can execute with the information provided. You have to plan for these contingencies though… have some people you can trust lined up in case you need them. You could also check emails before you go to work. Visit a library at lunch for Internet access and check email and work on tickets. As soon as you get home after work – dedicate some time to check email and to work on tickets.
If you have the funds – buy a PocketPC or a handheld phone like the Treo 650 and a wireless network card and sign-up for a data plan at your preferred cell phone provider. Instant Internet wherever you need it. Take a break at work and answer ticket. Or use that card in your laptop and bring it wherever you go. It’s not a cheap solution, but if you have a Pocket PC or a laptop – it’s not such a big expense anymore. You could also visit a Starbucks near work during lunch hours and sign up for the hot-spot Internet access.
Another option is to outsource work. Ask friends for help and pay them for their work. Very often friends are willing to help. If they do not want to be paid – pay them by taking them out to dinner or by providing free web hosting and a domain name. You get the idea. If your wife or partner can do some work and has time and Internet Access – get them to help you. Don’t force friends or family to help you. It is not worth it to create fights over this.
Make sure you have a cell phone with you at all times if you offer phone support. Again – if you are still employed with another company – don’t miss-use the time you are being paid for. Be fair to your boss and always remember – one day you will be the boss.
As mentioned before – many have been in the situation before you and many folks made it successfully through this time. It is hard work and you might be working 18-hour days quite often. Never lose your goal out of sight. Stay focused.