There are over 5 million people doing it and a book ...
... (including a profile of Moanaboutmen founders, Sue and Angie) has been written to help many more follow in their footsteps. We?re talking about ?Working 5 to 9? which involves holding down a day job and building a business at nights and weekends. The book?s author, Emma Jones, offers 8 steps showing how you can do the same.
Don?t give up the day job (just yet) start by ?Working 5 to 9?
If you are in a job but not sure for how much longer, or wanting to turn a skill/hobby/passion into a way of making some extra cash, then you?re a perfect candidate for becoming a 5 to 9?er. This is the name I apply to the millions of entrepreneurial people who are employee/Mum/student by day and working on building a business in their spare time. It?s a great way to become your own boss as you give yourself time to build confidence ? and the all-important cashflow. Here?s how to get started:
Find an idea ? in the book I offer 50 ideas for businesses you can start in your spare time and they range from book publisher to personal trainer, toymaker to rare breed pig farmer, and all else in between. Come up with an idea that is a) connected to your hobby/passion/skill or b) fills a gap in the market or c) is something you see someone else doing and think you can do better yourself.
Make a plan ? with your idea in mind, make a plan. It only need cover 4 pages or so to include your idea, how you?re going to promote the business, ways of getting your product or service to market and the financials that show a profit at the end of the day. There?s a template in the book for a basic business plan that will help you draft this.
Promote thyself! ? promote the business and watch sales roll in. Issue a press release, host an event, enter an Award and have profiles on well populated platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Your marketing will set you up as an expert in your field, and in the book I show how you can do this without spending a single penny.
Make the most of technology ? the book carries a good number of tips on this topic. Have the business work whilst you?re at work with a website that attracts an audience and makes it clear and easy to buy. Time is your most important asset when Working 5 to 9 so make the most of it by using web based email systems, time tracking software and Sky + to ensure you catch up with all your favourite shows!
Create space ? have space in the house that is reserved as your office/work area and adorn it with furnishings and items that increase productivity; a vision board, decent sound system, and a sturdy desk and chair.
Tell the boss ? so long as you?re not doing anything that is in competition to your day job (and out of all the 60 profiled 5 to 9?ers in my book, not one of them was) then it is wise to tell your boss you?re earning outside office hours. In the book I outline how to go about this conversation and conclude that most employers see Working 5 to 9 as a good thing as you are gaining new skills, with the employer realising the benefits, without having to pay for the training.
Tell the taxman ? we have a duty to inform the tax man of activities within three months of trading. Registration is straightforward and the book will guide you if you?re at the point of considering whether you should set up as a sole trader, partnership or limited company. It also shows how to keep the tax bill as low as possible by claiming business and homeworking expenses.
Do what you do best and outsource the rest ? a strategy that applies throughout your business life, from starting up to growing into a full time venture. Stick to the activity you know best and get help from others in areas such as accounting, admin, sales, fulfilment, PR and marketing. Keep in touch with partners using free or low-cost tools such as Basecamp, Huddle, Glasscubes or Tinychat and the business will run smoothly, and profitably.
As well as 50 ideas for businesses you can start in your spare time, the book profiles 60 successful 5 to 9?ers. All of them speak about how exciting (and busy!) life has become since they started their part time venture; I hope you will read their stories and be inspired ? and then take the tips and advice to become your own boss, in your own time.
Visit www.working5to9.co.uk to learn more about ?Working 5 to 9 ? how to start a successful business in your spare time?
Emma Jones is founder of Enterprise Nation, a business expert, and author of ?Spare Room Start Up? and ?Working 5 to 9?.
Stories from ?Working 5 to 9?
Name: Barbara Steadman
Company name: Another Gorgeous Day
Day job: Finance director
Barbara Steadman describes her life as ?numbers by day and words by night? because her day job is finance director at a college and at night she heads home to
develop Another Gorgeous Day, which sells gifts with special quotes written upon them.
?I had my light bulb moment in November 2008. At first it was just an idea going around my head but then in February 2009 I visited the NEC Spring Fair to see if the products I wanted to sell were actually available. They were. After that I started to plan. A designer created the logo, the website was developed, products were purchased and the business went live in August 2009.?
In 2003, Barbara was holidaying in Australia and bought a greeting card because she loved the quotation on it. Five years later she read an article about the most treasured gifts people had received; many had special words connected to them and Barbara spotted a gap in the market for a single shopping destination that offered a range of quality gifts featuring special sayings or quotations.
Barbara sources the gifts through supplier fairs and is always on the lookout for new products, whether in shops, on websites, in friends? homes or in magazines.
Part of this is sourcing items that lend themselves to being printed on, allowing customers to add their own words to a gift, making it even more meaningful.
The business is growing through word of mouth and Barbara also devotes time to marketing and promotion.
?I have put adverts and editorial pieces on social and marketplace websites, I am on Twitter and Facebook, I am networking, I send editorials to magazines and newspapers, enter awards, attend shows and work on search engine optimisation and pay per click advertising. Oh, and I also tell every single person I meet and hand out postcards with details of my website to anyone who talks to me!?
Plans for the future include maintaining a great shopping experience and adding a stream of new products whilst retaining a firm focus on quality.
Give up the day job?
?Yes and I?d love for my husband to leave his. I have set my sights high! Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you will land amongst the stars.?
Name: Karyl Iles
Company name: Arbonne International
Day job: Training facilitator
By day Karyl Iles trains and coaches individuals and by night she builds a business with networking marketing company, Arbonne, which sells Swiss-formulated, botanical skincare products.
?I actually discovered the Arbonne opportunity by accident. Over the years I?ve delivered training and team building to a number of network marketing companies.
One of my clients referred me to Arbonne?s sales director when they were looking for an experienced trainer for their first national sales conference in September
It was after delivering her session that fate played its part. Karyl was amazed to see Sue Cassidy (wife of seventies popstar David Cassidy) as the next presenter; it turns out he is a keen advocate of Arbonne products.
?I listened with great interest to Sue who is a vice president of the company. Indeed that presentation made quite an impact. I?ve always been encouraging others to seize opportunities and suddenly I was faced with my own ? I was seriously tempted to join Arbonne, but wondered how it would affect my training business and what would my friends and family think??
Karyl decided to try the products herself and after seeing how well they worked, she then learned about the company?s Success Plan (Arbonne?s version of a pay package).
?Taking everything into consideration, it was such a compelling business proposition that I decided to grab the opportunity. I worked out how I could fit Arbonne in amongst my other commitments and joined the company the following month.?
Karyl spends around 12 hours a week building her Arbonne business. Sales are growing fast and Karyl is benefiting from the bonus programme that sees consultants receive rewards after reaching certain levels of sales.
?Maintaining my current growth of sales means in 3 months time Arbonne will be providing a higher income than my training business, and I?ll be driving a new car which is also part of the package.?
Give up the day job?
?Fortunately, I?ve always enjoyed my work, apart from the travelling and being away from my family. Choosing to work only with clients that are close to home will automatically result in my having less training and more Arbonne time. It?s going to be a natural progression.?
Name: Gwen Howell
Company name: Pigs in Clover
Day job: Estate agent
?We never intended to become pig farmers,? says Gwen Howell, ?we?re estate agents, running a busy agency, and we just wanted a couple of pigs for ourselves, one for bacon and one for pork.?
Little did Gwen and husband Steve know that a plan to buy two pigs would lead to a thriving part-time business. The Howells happened across an ad in their local paper for some Saddleback pigs. When Steve went to see them, they were being kept in bad conditions in a concrete bunker so he bought the lot. All ten pigs. The Howells got to work building an ark (home for pigs) with a decent-sized run and on 10 March 2009, their first pigs arrived.
?On 12 March, Steve went on a pig-keeping course, run by Tony York, which was an absolute stroke of luck, as it turned out that Tony is a doyen of the pig world, hugely respected, and enormously helpful to new pig keepers. He fired Steve up so much on that course that Steve metamorphosed overnight into an avid rare breed pig breeder. One month later I did the same course and was equally enthused.?
Since then Gwen and Steve have invested heavily in arks and fencing and now have over 70 pigs. The company supplies pork to private individuals and several local restaurants. There has even been some common ground with their day job.
?I dress in a suit and high heels in the day, then I go home and change into old jeans and wellies, to become my alter ego ? pig farmer. I deal mostly with the pig marketing so the skill set is the same and I use all the same equipment as I do at the agency ? computers, printers, laminator, etc, etc.?
Pigs in Clover has quickly developed a high profile. The most recent coverage being on the back of their trampolining pig, Scarlett, who was entered for Britain?s Got Talent. This led to appearances on the Alan Titchmarsh Show, Sky, and the BBC. The company has sold sausages and pork to customers through Facebook and is now supplying a Michelin-starred restaurant.
This business knows no bounds when it comes to getting word out and about.
Give up the day job?
?I would love to. I?ve been doing it since 1983 (with a short break to be a rave promoter and underground magazine publisher in the early 90s, and to do a degree). I like being at home, but think I would miss the office, especially in the winter. I?d probably get fat if I stayed home, as I like to cook big, satisfying meals when I get a day off, using all our own produce. Mind you, digging the veg patch burns off the calories.?