5 Proven Steps Toward Starting Your Own Side Business


How many of us are thinking of having our own businesses when we are no longer working in the future?

The truth is, one does not need to quit his or her day job to start a side business. There are many employees out there who have succeeded in building their business or working part-time in their spare time. Check out some tips from those who have been running their own business successfully.

1. Identify problem

The easiest way to start a business is by solving a problem that we face every day. At its very core, every problem leads to an opportunity. You can start by asking yourself about something that you need but has not been provided by anyone.

See one example from Dina, 34, who started her birthday party organizing business after realizing how difficult it was to find a suitable vendor for her son’s 5th birthday party.

“Most vendors offered parties with mainstream themes, such as cartoon characters. We wanted an elegant yet fun party. My husband and I finally decided to do all the work ourselves; from conceptualizing and designing, down to the smallest of details. As it turned out, we were not the only ones satisfied with the result; our guests were also impressed by the party,” explains Dina, a mother who works full time as a secretary to the director at a local automotive company.

2. Conduct a research on market demand

The next step after identifying the problem is understanding the market demand. This can be done by conducting a simple survey, i.e. asking directly to the right target market, observing the market behavior and needs.

That was exactly what Dina did. She listens to market demand and implemented her idea as their side business.

“Many guests who came to Dio’s birthday party asked for our help in designing a party that would meet their demand. We finally managed the business seriously as our side job. The business is very profitable,” she says.

According to Dina, she and her husband listen to every demand from client, while also giving suggestion based on what is trending and their own experience.

3. Prepare time and energy

The biggest challenge in starting a side business lies in the limited time and energy that one has to divide his or her time as a full-timer. Theoretically, this can be handled by setting your own priority scale – although the implementation is not as easy as coming up with the theory.

[Read: How to Jump-Start Your Career as a Freelancer]

Rena, 42, a bank employee who has a small cake-making business, has a strategy to tackle such challenge.

“To be able to manage my time and energy well, I stick to my monthly, weekly and daily target and to-do list. If I have a target to sell 50 cakes this month, I would make a breakdown of how many cakes a week I have to sell, how to sell and produce them so that I’m not behind the schedule,” Rena says.

“I will break this down to a daily to-do list, containing the things I have to prepare for the day to avoid it disrupting my work hour,” she explains.

For Rena, maintaining the quality of her product is the most important thing. Therefore, sometimes she needs to reject orders due to lack of manpower. Luckily, her nine-year-old only daughter often helps her around the kitchen.

4. Connect through your network

One of the advantages of having a side business while you are still working full-time is that you can make use of your professional network, such as your colleagues, bosses or clients. So long as your side business does not interfere or compete with your main job, it is okay to offer it to your business network.

For example, if you are in culinary business, you can offer to supply food whenever there is an office event, or send cake for clients during certain holiday. If you are in fashion business, you can also offer the products to your colleagues.

However, make sure that your company is not in the same line of business or competing with your side business for the same target market. You would not want to be deemed unethical or get fired from the company because of it, right?

5. Make a decision

The most important step in running a business, whether it is a startup or a part-time job, is making quick decision.

The four steps mentioned above would mean nothing if you are unable to implement this fifth step.

Do not let ideas stay in your head just because you are more afraid of failing than executing them. There is an old saying, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. However, do not wait until you have the perfect plan to start, because you can lose the momentum.

[Read: 20 Promising Home Businesses that You Can Start with Small Capital]

As quoted from “The Lean Startup” book by Eric Ries, one of the common principles for startups in this era is to “build-measure-learn”. In other words, you need to turn ideas into products, see how customers respond, and then learn from mistakes. Do not wait until you have the perfect product or skill to run the business! You can always fix your product based on market demand.

Lastly, enjoy the process as much as you would enjoy the result. Good luck!

Read also: Are You Ready to Start Your Own Business?

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