Maintaining a 9-5 While Building Your 5-9
Hai Truong

Whether you can raise enough capital through friends and family, or have to bootstrap every cent, you should think through the timing of when to quit your day job to pursue your startup full-time. Investors value when a founder and their team goes all in on their startup. However, they also want to make sure the company they invest in is at the right stage so you don’t burn through their money either. We have provided some tips below to help you maintain your day job while you prepare for the transition to working on your startup full-time.

1.) Prepare to Live Lean

While the bright green lawns of the early years of Google with employees riding technicolor bikes across each campus may seem like a goal to strive toward, the reality is the first years of building a startup are challenging and not glamorous--but it can be fun. While you are working, set goals that gradually wean you off of some of the unnecessary expenses you may have recurring each month. The sooner you begin saving up while learning to adjust your lifestyle; the less jarring the transition will be when you transition to full-time startup mode. This change in lifestyle does not mean you cannot enjoy a few creature comforts and fun. However, expect to be more frugal and budget conscious. Building this financial muscle will serve you well when potential investors audit your books to see how you manage your money.

2.) Set Dedicated Hours For Each Commitment

While you are at your day job, be present and focus wholly on the task at hand. During your lunch break or immediately after work, you can put your startup hat on and concentrate without having to worry about the potential for diminished returns at your day job. Take time to have every member of your startup articulate what they can realistically commit. Make sure there are weekly calls and meetings to ensure you make progress. Though you may think two hours of sleep a night will be enough so you can squeeze in more time, remember that your day job is what enables you to continue building up the business. You may not move as fast as you like, but you will also mitigate stress related to not being able to pay bills before the startup is ready to pitch for investment.

3.) Negotiate For Flexibility At Your Day Job

This tip may not apply to every person, but if there are people in your organization that can work remotely, or can work longer hours each day or not come in on Friday, look into it. Build a case to show your boss why you should be able to exercise these work arrangements. Tracking the hours you spend on each assignment, providing transparency in your job, logging it in an easy to understand format, and showing them metrics that can keep you accountable will make them more comfortable giving you more freedom.

4.) Keep Building Value At Work

Whether your company knows about your startup or not, keep increasing your value at work by being an intrapreneur as much as you are an entrepreneur. It may seem counterintuitive to excel at a job you will eventually quit, however, you may find some opportunities to test out some small ideas you want to try in your startup at your day job. Regardless of what you do, innovation and proactiveness are rewarded more often than not, so embrace the time you have at your job to explore what you can lead, develop, or contribute. You will be glad that you can exit the job on a positive note. Remember that when the day comes when your startup has employees, you may need to implement some of the positive things you learned during your 9-5 days.