Even if you’ve long dreamed of starting your own business, it’s a wise idea to think about whether this is the perfect time in your life to jump in with both feet, or whether you should ease into it. There are certain situations — like the following examples — when it’s better to start a business alongside whatever else you’ve got going on. Then, when you’re raking in the profits, you can make it a full-time endeavor.
Scenario 1: You’re in College
Do me a favor and erase the images of Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs out of your head. While it’s absolutely possible to start a business while in college, you should never forsake your opportunity for a college education in hopes that you’ll strike it rich like these icons.
If you do start a business while earning your degree, do so in a balanced manner. Never let your company interfere with you attending classes or affect your grades. That means you’ll probably have to go slower in launching and growing your business than you’d like, but trust me: having that college degree in hand is a great backup plan should your business not be everything you hoped it would be.
Scenario 2: You Don’t Have the Capital
Starting a business is expensive! If you don’t have at least 6-12 months’ worth of funds for both business and personal expenses, don’t quit your day job. Instead, consider moonlighting with your entrepreneurial efforts while continuing to earn a steady paycheck (and get those great health benefits!).
Then, as your company succeeds and starts to bring in enough profit to create a nice little padding in your bank account, give your boss your notice and get ready to be a full-time entrepreneur.
Scenario 3: You Just Had a Baby
It’s not impossible to have a baby and a business, but if this is your first child, you might not be prepared for the amount of energy, time, sleep, and money this baby will devour. Starting a business right now will only take your focus away from where you want it to be: on that tiny, amazing creature.
If you can put off starting your business until things are more settled at home, do it. If not, go slow and get help. This is a great instance where having a business partner can be a huge boon. Just clearly outline each of your roles so you ensure you’re holding up your end of the bargain.
Scenario 4: You Want to Start a Second Business
You’ve been successful with your first business, and now you’re ready to start another. Serial entrepreneurs will tell you that this is a great idea…as long as you have eased yourself out of being a necessity in your current business. In other words: does every decision and action pend on your approval? If so, start that second business small.
As you can, hand over your duties and responsibilities for your first business to others. Decide on your exit plan: will you sell the business, or take more of a silent partner role while you work in the second business?
Be smart when you start a business and make sure you’re set up for optimal success. If not, start slow and grow from there.