When you’re building a side business, it’s easy to trick yourself into thinking that your job is “in your way”. It’s one more obstacle between you and sitting with a cold mojito on the beach next to your infinity pool.
This gets hammered into our heads by social media and most articles on entrepreneurship. Punch in “entrepreneurship vs. employment” into Google and you’ll see a flood of articles crapping on 9-5 jobs.
But this way of thinking ignores a HUGE opportunity for you. Your job is not only a source of secure income and benefits… your job is also a vehicle for fueling your business efforts.
And above all, your employer will LOVE you for taking advantage of that opportunity!
With every skill you learn, you increase your value to your company. And believe me, your company doesn’t just want what we call in my industry “wrench-turners”… people who don’t want to think on the job; they want to do tasks on a list that they’re given.
Three Ways Your Job Can Supercharge Your Side Business (Legitimately)
(1) You can invest your money to maximize your investments in time.
Companies grow in one of two ways:
- Investing time and “unpaid” effort to grow it.
- Investing money to leverage any time invested.
As an employee, you likely have more money than you do time. So use your money.
This doesn’t mean you have to invest thousands of dollars in your business before you get started.
In fact, starting a coaching business doesn’t require that much capital at all.
All you need to get things going are:
- a website,
- a mailing list,
- a landing page,
- and an offering.
All which costs about $100-200 per year. I’m pretty sure you can swing that.
Some ways I’ve invested in my business are:
- Using ConvertKit: Opt-in boxes were a PAIN to manage in AWeber, but ConvertKit makes this super easy so I can focus on my content instead of how my style codes kept breaking down…
- Hiring RipplePop to iron out my website hiccups: One time, I tweaked something that not even an elite hacker would dare duplicate… all my articles disappeared from my home screen. After a few days of wrestling with WordPress, I was tearing my hair out. I didn’t want to get a developer on the job, so I hired RipplePop to fix it up. For $80/month, they saved me a lot of time (and hair).
- Back ups with WPEngine: This ensures I have regular backups and security set to avoid losing any of my work in case of a bad update.
- Testing productivity software packages: I buy a lot of productivity packages to test them out and later suggest them to you. Most of them suck (as some investments do). But every once in a while, I get my hands on a VALUABLE tool like Anti-Social to help me focus as I write.
Using a little money can go a LONG way in speeding up your business’s growth, and earning your side income.
(2) Your job wants to pay you to improve your business skills (not just your specialty skills).
Companies pay thousands of dollars executing personal development plans in their teams. Most of which fail.
When you show your employer that you’d love to drive your own personal development plan, and make a solid case for them, your boss will not only LOVE it… they’re happy to PAY for it.
Who wouldn’t want to spend $15 to 10x their employee’s effectiveness?
Now hold off before you go ask your boss if you can expense “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”. Remember that your material must align not only with your business, but also with your job description.
Some common examples that most companies would love for you to dive into are:
- Productivity, i.e. time management, project management.
- Business systems & models, i.e. value propositions, channels, infrastructure, etc.
- Basic finance, i.e. how to read a balance sheet & P&L statement.
- Data analysis, especially if you’re in tech.
- Programming, i.e. Python for automating work.
By getting your employer to sponsor your self-development plan, you’ve untapped a new well ripe for skill acquisition.
(3) You can build true relationships with clients because you’re less hungry for the sale.
In The Prosperous Coach, Steve Chandler & Rich Litvin suggest a 4-step process to onboard new clients:
- Connect with potential clients by being genuinely interested in what they are up to.
- Invite potential clients on a free call with you.
- Create a client by solving their burning pains during that call, showing what you can do, and get them to say “HELL YES” to continuing with you.
- Propose a coaching plan with what they’ll get out of it.
Notice that out of the four phases:
- 3 of them involve investing more time to understand their unique pains, rather than hard-focusing on closing a coaching deal.
- You have to invest a lot of your focus, time, and energy into the first 3 steps before a sale occurs.
Sales is a noble profession when done right. It’s noble when you take the time to work with someone, show that you can resolve their pains, and that working through their challenges can actually be fun when they’re teamed up with a mentor (you).
But unfortunately, most new coaches accidentally come off sleazy as they appear desperate for the sale.
But with a steady income, you won’t be desperate for that sale. You can feel confident that if this interaction doesn’t turn into a sale, you can say, “OK! No problem. When it comes to coaching with me, it must be a “Hell Yes!”, or it’s a no. So I can understand you better, can you tell me why you’d rather not proceed?”
If you tell them that from the heart, most people will LOVE to give you insightful feedback. You can then take that feedback to improve your coaching package, your sales process, whatever.
Let Your Job Help Your Business Grow This Week
Besides being a great place to practice our skills, our jobs can be a true acre of diamonds when cultivated right.
And you can start mining those diamonds this week with one simple task.
This week, ask your manager if you can expense ONE book that will help you build a skill for both your job and your business.
Give your case by answering this question:
“My manager wants to achieve X goal — how will this book help me help them achieve this goal?” Write it down and get ready to make the case.
Choose from 1 of my favorite 5 business books to get started:
- The Power of Less, by Leo Babauta (productivity)
- Accounting Made Simple, by Mike Piper (accounting)
- What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, by Marshall Goldsmith (leadership)
- Work the System, by Sam Carpenter (systems thinking)
- The Effective Executive, by Peter Drucker (corporate skills & entrepreneurial skills)
If you’d like more insights on how to build your business as you continue to achieve at your 9-5 professional job, sign up for my list below.