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7 Tips for Keeping Your Day Job

It's okay to be awesome at your day job.

It’s okay to be awesome at your day job.

I’ve often heard that you can’t half-ass a startup. While that’s true, not every entrepreneur has saved up between six and 24 months worth of living expenses.

In other words, while you’re laying the groundwork for your startup, there’s still the pesky reality of rent, mortgages and other bills.

Since it’s not always practical to dive in head-first, you have to know how to ease into the waters. That usually means relying on a steady job’s stability and cash flow, while moonlighting as a startup founder (or early employee).

Here are seven tips for helping you balance your day job with your passion.

1. Know (and obey) your employee contract.

If you don’t already know the contents of your employee contract, revisit that paperwork. Look for any guidelines regarding a noncompete clause or your “after work” hours. Are you explicitly barred from working a second job? How much overlap is there between your current job and startup?

You particularly need to make sure that any intellectual property you create outside of work is yours and yours alone, and that your current employer can’t try to make a claim.

2. Be a rock star at work.

It’s going to be obvious fairly quickly if you’re not holding your own in the workplace. Working a second job often means late nights, so it’s understandable that you may roll into your day job later than normal, or yawn throughout the sales meeting. However, you can’t let your performance in the office suffer; both your steady paycheck and reputation are on the line.

You will no longer be able to stay late or work weekends for your day job, so you’ll need to make every minute in the office count. Master the arts of prioritizing and delegating, so you can get as much done as you can during normal work hours.

3. Create a regular routine.

Develop a steady rhythm for working on your startup; having a fixed schedule will help you stay disciplined. A common routine is dedicating one or two weeknights and one weekend day to the startup. If there are any other early team members, try to keep the same schedule, and ideally work in the same place.

Read the remaining tips at Mashable.

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This entry was posted on September 11, 2013 by in Career and tagged , , , .
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