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First Steps in Generating a Side Business

Starting a side business

Leverage the educational opportunities at your disposal at your current job

By Sylvie Golod

We know the best time to search for a new job is while you already have one. Why not expand this statement to include starting a side business? The realities of the pandemic vividly revealed how quickly one’s present work situation can change. Two glaring statistics drive home the point: Two million Americans age 55 and older are out of work, and only 28,000 jobs for this age group have been added back since August 2020, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Be proactive. Leverage your present employment with intentional professional development while simultaneously carving out an entrepreneurial venture.

Tips for Leveraging Your Way to a Side Business

  • Take advantage of your present employer’s workforce development opportunities. Evaluate your present position; research internal career pathways; and assess your weaknesses, strengths and interests in order to strategically plan for successful outcomes, both as an employee and entrepreneur.
  • Be aware of employment projections to understand the fastest-growing industries. One in 10 workers in the U.S.  (that’s 17 million!) might need to find new occupations by 2030. Research the growth industries and occupations that are in demand. Then, correlate your findings with the goals of your employer’s development opportunities and your potential side business.
  •  Seek upskilling and continuous professional learning opportunities. The most effective training will utilize technology that offers a more personalized, tailored learning experience, which better engages employees, such as online gamification platforms, rather than traditional upskilling programs, like webinars and online courses.
  •  Assess, elevate and promote your behavior skills (aka power or soft skills). Behavioral skills dominate the list of core competencies that global executives seek in employees, according to an IBM report. These soft skills are now replacing technical skills as the most sought after for the first time.
  • Research additional employee development methods. Look for diverse development opportunities in your present workplace or through outside training facilities or agencies. These could be coaching and mentoring, the nine-box grid, cross-training and job shadowing, stretch assignments, and corporate universities.

Now is the opportune time. Companies are investing in workforce development as the strategic tool for continued growth, productivity and retaining valuable employees. So take advantage and grow professionally as an employee while designing your own side business.

Tips for Starting a Side Business

  1. Make a commitment
  2. Evaluate and list your strengths and interests
  3. Research and validate your Idea, aka due diligence
  4. Determine what makes your business distinctive
  5. Project detailed, measurable and realistic goals
  6. Construct a timeline
  7. Farm out your weakness
  8. Seek objective feedback
  9. Keep your day job and side business separate
  10. Reach sustainable profitability before quitting your job