Entrepreneur With a Day Job

Entrepreneur With a Day Job September 16, 2011

I read the book Quitter this year, but I don’t want to quit my job.  I actually enjoy what I do and don’t plan on quitting any time soon.  But I still read it.


I read it because I’m an entrepreneur.  I’m an entrepreneur with a day job who wanted to hear how another entrepreneur turned a bunch of day jobs into a dream job.  The author, Jon Acuff, spent years working at jobs that paid the bills all while paving the path to allow his entrepreneurial drive to finally kick into gear.  Besides, reading is just plain good for you, which is why I love the post a friend of mine did at Good Financial Cents called – “The Top 25 Books for Entrepreneurs that Seriously Kick Butt.

Some of you know exactly what I mean by the phrase entrepreneur with a day job.  It means that you have a passion to do something that reaches beyond the normal 9-5 job.  It means that you love to craft ideas into sustainable businesses during the early morning hours and watch them grow as you put countless hours into it each night.  While other people are satisfied to hang up their hat after punching out at work, you’re just getting started when you get home.  For you, the passion to build something out of nothing keeps you up at night and each small bit of progress keeps you motivated day after day.  You do all this while working a day job – that’s what I mean by entrepreneur with a day job.

I get excited when I meet people who tell me about the entrepreneurial ventures they have outside of their day jobs.  You can almost always see their passion when they tell you about what they love to do.  Of the entrepreneurs I’ve spoken with, those with successful businesses outside of their day job are usually very successful with their day job.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence.  When you’re passionate about what you do, your work ethic and integrity should grow both in your day job and in your business after work.  That’s why I feel that workers with an entrepreneurial drive make the best new hires.  The successful ones know how to prioritize tasks and think up new and better ways to do the tasks at their day jobs.

A Word of Wisdom to These Entrepreneurs

I know you’re probably a hard worker both on the job and off the job – but your coworkers and supervisors may not understand how you can do it.  They don’t understand why you wake up at 6:00 am to work on your graphic design business.  They don’t see how anyone could write for three hours after work.   They don’t know why someone would spend all weekend working on something they’re passionate about.  Their misunderstanding can eventually lead to false accusations that are based on assumption and sometimes jealousy.

Hear this: There is a very good chance of this happening, especially if what you’re doing after work starts to become successful.

No one may pay any attention to you while you’re going through the tough baby stages, but once they smell a little bit of your success, be prepared for the worst.

I hope you work for a place that embraces your entrepreneurial spirit and uses your talents to their full extent.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case for all entrepreneurs with day jobs, which is why it’s so important to maintain these virtues.

Work with Integrity

You can define integrity with one word: undivided.  It means that when you’re working for someone, they have your full undivided attention.  No, I’m not naïve.  I understand that employers can’t expect to have their employees full attention.  It’s called shirking and studies have shown that employees will slack off at work.  It’s a fact of business, and I don’t deny or defend it.

As an entrepreneur with a day job, you need to make sure your attention at work is focused on the task at hand.  It seems almost too simple, but when you can show your supervisor that you can remain focused while also growing a business after work, you begin to build trust at work.  On the flip side, if you use the time at your day job to grow your business and neglect the tasks that you’re paid to do, you erase trust faster than you can imagine.  Don’t jeopardize your paycheck by bringing your side business to work with you.

Maintain Excellence

If you’re driven to do work beyond the 9-5 day job you have, I can pretty well guess that you the kind of person that does a job to the best of your ability.  Keep that drive to excel alive at your day job.  Use what you learn during your side business to help you stand out even more at work.

I know that through writing every night after work, my ability to craft an article has improved significantly.  Instead of limiting my writing skills to this blog, I started to use them to create articles for my day job.  The response has been tremendous and those above me have recognized the value it brings to the company.

Work Harder Than Everyone

You probably already feel like you’re working harder than others at your day job.  Chances are that you’re the kind of person that likes to keep busy and accepts the extra jobs when no one else wants to do it.  That’s what makes a successful entrepreneur with a day job.  They’re not one to slack off and do as little as it takes to get by.

Forget about the job description.  If you want to stand out as a valuable asset to the company, make an effort every day to go above and beyond what you were hired to do.  Do yourself a favor and keep record of the improvements and extra projects that you’ve been a part of.  If your integrity is ever questioned at work, you’ll have detailed notes of how you’ve actually voluntarily added more responsibilities to your plate.

Ignore the Insults

A lot of people at your day job won’t understand why you even pursue this ‘passion’ thing.  They’ll say things like “it can’t be done,” “it’ll never work,” “it’s already been done before.”  Take it with a grain of salt.  In my opinion, those who say it can’t be done need to stop trying to interrupt the person who is doing it.

Don’t let the insults bother you.  Don’t let jealous remarks of others keep you from doing what you love to do outside of your day job.

If you work with integrity, excellence, and harder than those around you, it’s easy to ignore the naysayers because you know that you’re giving 100% at your day job and 100% to your passion after work.

Are you an entrepreneur with a day job?  What’s your passion outside of the 9-5 job?  Meet us in the comments!

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