Recently at a training event, I overheard two guys talking. They seemed mesmerized by the ability of Kenyans to juggle employment and business (side hustles) effortless or so it seems. Of course they did not invite me to join in their discussion. So I decided to blog about it. It’s an age old question. Should you combine both employment and personal business?
There are usually two routes to entrepreneurship. There are those who dive straight into the deep end of business while others take the long route through employment first and then ease themselves through the shallow end. The second longer route is the one commonly taken by most people due to the advantages it offers;
For most people, we grow up without any experience with doing business and even handling money. Working for someone else gives you a chance to learn the ropes under the guidance of your bosses and supervisors. Working with colleagues gives you the chance to share your ideas and try out new ideas with their support. On top of this, you learn a lot using another person’s money and carrying very little risk as your employer underwrites most of it. Once you feel you have acquired sufficient experience, you can then start out your side hustle very small initially and then grow it progressively. The key here is to get a job that matches up with the kind of business you want do in future or look up for a business tying up with the experience you have gained.
For most people, we start off life without much savings to our names. In fact, for most, you finish schooling with so much more responsibility on you than your income. So we then have to work as a matter of necessity so as to make ends meet. If you have intentions of getting into the business in the near future, the employment income can provide you with some regular savings until that point you have raised enough for your capital and subsistence until you start making money.
- Fail safe
When in employment, you will start your business small and try to shift time and resources from employment into full time business. This will be good initially especially since in most cases the business environment doesn’t guarantee immediate success. Having a job gives you the added security of knowing that should things not turn out good, you can cut your losses, hold onto your job and live to try another day.
Knowing exactly when to make the transition from employment to business then becomes a key challenge. This is mostly so because of two aspects;
- The Morality question
On the moral dimension, most people believe it is wrong to use your employer’s resources to grow your business. In most times, as you start yours, it will mean that you will have to steal your employer’s time, internet, telephone, office space etc. At times, you even have access to your employer’s network of partners including suppliers and customers. Should you really then run your business while riding on your employer? When you eventually start your business and realize that some of your employees are riding on you to do theirs, how will you feel about it? My advice is if you have to do it, then you have very little time on it. Just move on at the soonest.
- The success question
Even though some people manage to pull off employment and business for some time. It usually is a complex trap. This is because you are living two lives concurrently. You are therefore unable to dedicate the resources needed to grow either. You hardly are able to give your business your all, and it requires so much at the early stages. You are also unable to dedicate yourself to the job you are employed for. You then do not end up with much success either at the job or in the business.
I am sure this short article wouldn’t be exhaustive on the question of juggling the job and the side hustle. I also know that better ideas are out there with you guys. Please feel free to discuss them in the comments section