Part Time Entrepeneurs are people who have a full time job, but will spend recreational time creating an enterprise. Sometimes it’s the same enterprise, other times it will be two or more different enterprises, and they just do that, throughout their career, without an intention to transition full time and leave the work place.
For others, it’s a stepping stone on the way to leaving the traditional workplace and working on their enterprise full time.
In this post, I’ll share some of my own journey and experience in transitioning from a corporate employee, to Part Time Entrepreneur to making the leap.
I was quite fortunate when I started the business as I had a period of maternity leave, however I only took 6 months, as I really missed my career. I used a lot of that time thinking and as I had done the coaching qualification, it was quite easy in those first few years to actually bring the coaching through as a value-added skill into what I was doing within corporate life.
What I would do is plan my diary to accommodate a few private clients and mentoring sessions, so it certainly wasn’t high volume business and when I had my second daughter, I knew that I was going to take a slightly longer time with maternity, so that was when I really started looking at what workshops I wanted to run, and what were the things that I wanted to create for people.
I was very fortunate that for me, having kept journals and notebooks along the way in the earlier few years I was able to reflect on things that I had been picking up and learning in corporate life and sifting through, evaluating, “How does that sit with my values?”.
Keeping your journals and writing down every idea is a really key thing to do, always have a pen and a journal with you.
This led me to thinking, what do I want other entrepreneurs to know and learn? How can my time in big business help and support those in smaller, younger enterprises who have the worthy ideas and innovation? How can I use my talents and skills to contribute to their success? I used my experiences of networking and speaking with small business owners to inform this.
So, the Authentic Branding and Confidence in Sales Conversations workshops were born in 2011.
Many of the workshops and speaking work that I was delivering over the next few years, outside of corporate life was very much focused towards another class of entrepreneur, the ‘mumpreneur’.
There’s a real trend that we are seeing now, where women who have had successful corporate careers have their children and despite policies for flexible working, maybe find in practice that it does not balance with family.
So they have they’ve got these skills and they are out there creating their own businesses. And it is one of the things with the statistics that are currently out there, that this if there is one rising trend that has come out of the economic crisis, it’s female led business.
What’s wonderful to see now is so many networks, so much support for all entrepreneurs, male and female, so much access to experts through technology, webinars, conference calls, the ability to create a successful business as a ‘solopreneur’, (some working on their own).
You maybe don’t need an organisation with a hire to be your head of marketing anymore, because everything you need to learn, you can go and find it and create it yourself, or outsource it to a part-time specialist in that area.
There are so many emerging trends right now that it’s a really exciting time to be considering starting a business venture. These resources weren’t really in place 17 years ago when I took the decision to join a corporate over creating and running my own business.
I think the route to entrepreneurship does depend on the energy levels that you have, I think one thing that gave me good training for that, was the fact that as well as doing a full working week, I had studied part time for years and years.
It’s about priorities and what you want out of life. I think I was in my mid-twenties when decided to ditch the TV, I don’t have a TV in the house or read newspapers apart from occasionally at the weekend and usually online, specifically for research. You have to be selective and focus on quality activities.
There are so many ways that you can save time. If you have a strong message that you want to get out there, or a community project that you have real passion to create, you will always find the time.
Sit down, look at your schedule, look at what ideal looks like, and then look at ways to create it or negotiate it.
I found the ability to negotiate was critical for me when I was creating a business and still fully engaged in corporate life hitting KPIs and targets. Often I’d have customer deadlines at the same time as having pre-booked speaking engagements.
If you’ve got supportive managers and they understand what you are doing and you share a bit of yourself and what your passions are, I found their enthusiasm then meant I could move things around and create schedules in a way that is supporting both directions, as long as the exchange is fair and you are putting 110% in the day job as well. Don’t forget, for my employer, I was honing great communication and presentation skills, which was an asset for them, particularly as by that time, I was also chairing the BT Women’s Network.
For employers, and managers, I would say it just makes good business sense to nurture your employee’s passions and talents and support rather than try to curtail their contribution outside of working hours. That creates real loyalty and a positive exchange between the manager and the team member.
It’s that thing about having the opportunity to try something new, and discovering new skills and confidence that can be brought back into the workplace too, whilst somebody is in the Part Time Entrepreneur phase.
Where we see organisations where managers don’t support employees, there will often be an underlying culture where there is management by fear, and very narrow definition of the employer/employee relationship.
That is where the conversations need to happen and this is where things need to change. Managers need to be educated about the benefits of entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship in organisations as their objective is to help the individuals employed flourish whilst achieving business objectives[link to page for workshop]
If you think Part Time Entrepreneurship is for you, maybe with a view to starting a venture full time, you also need to share the vision for your venture with your family, and your friends. Try to bring them on that journey with you, because that way they will understand and help you. My journey would not be possible without the support of my husband’s family with childcare as my speaking and client work often means I need to travel away from home.
And what has been interesting in that journey is discovering a real sense of community between those brave enough to start a venture – daily I see the fantastic connections and collaborations being created. It’s exciting to be part of something where we see communities of entrepreneurs being created with shared values and a drive to solve real-world issues.
To become part of a community of individuals with that passion for being change-agents, to be bold enough to strike out, and make their ideas for businesses and lifestyle a reality on each individuals’ terms is very inspiring and empowering place to be right now.
That’s why I am very proud of the work The GameChanger Consultancy does supporting business owners to make a real success of their ventures.