While having two jobs is now considered a common thing, keeping your day job while developing your own business is a different story altogether.
Commitment issues, indeed. This is the common dilemma most rookie startup founders face when deciding to pursue their dreams of building a startup enterprise. Seek help from “been there-done that” founders and they will probably recommend you to ditch your current employment commitment so that your focus will be solely directed to the development and deployment of your business.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the privilege to up and leave their day job. As Startup Business Development Consultant, Gary Ozaeta explains, “Keeping your day job is part of the transition period. Eventually, (when your business is already fully operational) there will be no other choice but to quit your job so that you can focus solely on your startup.”
In the midst of this career conundrum, we are lucky to have examples of a few brave souls willing to take the steep terrain of entrepreneurship while retaining regular employment. Believe it or not, they’ve managed to live double lives, surviving the dynamics and intricacies of this Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde kind of setup.
It’s doable… challenging, but doable!
As impossible as it may sound, initiating a business endeavor while staying employed works well for some industry young guns. For Abbie Victorino, who is currently double-hatting as a Digital Commerce Specialist for a digital innovations firm and CEO for her styling subscription box company, Style Genie, the balancing act is a challenging feat. But despite the physical exhaustion from her employee/boss life, Abbie embraces these obstacles and translates them into a learning tool. “As I work twice as hard, I also learn twice as much, and the learning from either (working environment) can be applied to both scenarios I’m dealing with.”
Meanwhile, Gian Mañosca’s 6-year tenure as a Junior Systems Engineer for a multinational BPO plays a key role in developing his mobile app project. “I love my day job since it involves everything about IT and technology, which is a passion of mine. I always think of ways to automate things and processes. That’s the reason I decided to get into the mobile app business. I wanted to create something that can help people or businesses with their day to day tasks.”
Roll the dice and make the sacrifice
With two balls in play, you have to constantly keep an eye on both your day job and your business to ensure a steady pace. Unconditional sacrifices and self-discipline will be demanded from you during this crucial time frame.
Ozaeta also stresses out the sacrifices one has to endure for this setup to work. “In doing both, you have to be super organized, particularly in managing your time and schedule.” He specifically adds, “Expect to lose sleep and social life.”
Mañosca follows through with the same firmness, “For this to work, expect to be a mediocre employee at work. Prepare yourself to work longer hours. Get used to hearing complaints from your family. In my case, I have to sacrifice family time, my hobbies, and even my personal time. But I feel no regret because I’m doing what I love and I know that someday, all of these sacrifices will pay off.”
More so, engaging yourself to such commitment will eventually necessitate you to sidetrack your employment task to fulfill your startup obligations. As Ozaeta asserts, “(Startup founders) need a support system from other founders. You also need to prioritize sales pitch to get investors and partners for your business to get the money.”
It’s not for everyone
Juggling your time between assembling your pitch deck and beating deadlines with your boss is certainly tasks that are not for the weak of heart. Furthermore, committing to both undertakings is a huge professional gamble that is not intended for those who want to play it safe. Betting on two cards at the same time is a high risk, unorthodox move that could either pay off or could result in giving up the security of having a steady job, watching your business crumble down to obscurity as you choose the convenience of employment, or worse, losing both due to lack of focus.
Patience also plays an essential driver in keeping you on track towards your target. To elaborate, Gary points out that people tend to lose focus on their business goal because “startups, in general, don’t make money for the first 2 to 3 years. Hence, you will be tempted to prioritize and focus more on your money-making gigs and steady job to live.
To rationalize, Mañosca states, “different people have different priorities. It really depends on what venture you are going to pursue because some business models compel you to be physically present all times, while others can be managed passively. As long as you are ready to make sacrifices and willing to take chances, then go for it.”
For Victorino, it’s more of a chance vs. choice scenario. “It may be more difficult if you’re part of a traditional company that requires you to be in the office from 9 to 5, but it’s certainly not impossible as long as you take care and manage your hours.”
Fight or flight
Building your own business takes a lot of time, effort, patience and ultimately, resources. On the other hand, leaving your day job will strip you off of your sense of security, professional stability, and guaranteed regular income that you can actually use to fund your project.
Accommodating both roles may seem plausible at first but as you go along, the pressure will eventually actuate during your pace to test your limits. In the end, it is inevitable to choose between staying in your comfort zone of having a normal job or jumping into the entrepreneurial pool and accelerating your business full time.
As for these individuals willing to ride these two horses at once, it’s fitting to say they’re rather enjoying the experience regardless of the outcome.
The question is: are you up for the ride?