This project is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme

Is it possible to start a business while working full time?

Finding the right time to launch your own business is rarely simple. Most of us will be working in full time positions with financial responsibilities and family commitments to balance so taking the plunge into entrepreneurialism can seem like quite the stretch. Many new businesses are started ‘on the side’ as a business owner continues to work full time while planning, launching and growing their business. Some business owners take the decision out of necessity – the stability and continued salary of a full time position can be essential especially until a new business starts to turn over profit. Other business owners choose to work full time while they research and launch their own business, finding the two complement each other or one provides a break from the other. Whatever your reasons, it’s important to know that starting your business while still in full time employment is not only possible but it’s more common than you might expect.

So how do you go about it? Is it possible to work two jobs while still managing the rest of life? What are the secrets to continuing to perform well in your full time position, while investing time and passion into your side business? Here are a few things to consider that should help you get on the right track.


Start by choosing a business area or product that you are truly passionate about. The amount of time you spend in your full time employment is considerable and now you’re considering starting something else outside of those hours, you’re going to have to be sure you actually love it. Being passionate about your new business is essential to remaining committed, motivated and inspired. You have free rein here so take time to really hone in on your strengths and your weaknesses, your plans for the future, what it is that makes you feel inspired and excited and find your business within that. Best intentions are not enough with a new business, it takes a joy or belief in what you’re doing that supersedes the hard work.


The juggle of full time work and starting up your own business is all about planning. Plan, schedule, plan and schedule some more. And crucially you need to stick to your plans. If you know you have time after work each day of the week and more time over the weekend then map out all of those time slots and use them carefully. Make sure you’re clear on all the components of the business you’re building, what you need to do and in what order, and carefully schedule in time to take care of each of those. Be honest, hold yourself accountable and make sure you also schedule in family time, time with friends and time to relax which are just as essential.


New businesses are not about immediate success. Consider progress your goal. Mark out strategies and goals and check in with those on a weekly, monthly and annual basis. Again, you have to hold yourself accountable, are you hitting the targets, do you need to adjust them based on changes you’ve experienced, is there something you can be doing differently to stay on track?


Look at your life as a whole and consider when is the best time. If you’ve just started a new job or you’re moving house, if you have very small children or are caring for elderly relatives, all these things will add to your responsibilities considerably so starting your business may have to wait. If it’s possible, choose a time when the rest of your life is relatively manageable (!) and you may find the launch process slightly less stressful.

Start Small

Working and launching at the same time means that starting small is the goal. Yes, it’s important to have big goals but on a practical level, being realistic and starting small will serve you well. It’s always easier to upscale than to have to wind something down that isn’t working so launching with a minimum viable product and going from there is smart. Keeping things small means you have a handle on your budget and the resources of your own time, it allows you to test out your research and your planning and shift your plans quickly and easily. Needing to grow is a lovely place to find yourself.


You may be working with a small budget but consider when necessary outsourcing some aspects of your business. Identify what it is you’re very good at, what you have to do, what you can do and set those tasks aside for yourself. The things that would cause you problems, take up a huge amount of time or you’re not confident you could do well yourself, might be things to consider outsourcing. Technical aspects of the business, marketing campaigns, drop shipping etc, these might be components that you decide you’d like to invest in someone else to take care of. Doing so will free up your time and energy and in the long run may save you money through process and performance alone.


Don’t forget to execute your plans. It is very easy to get sucked into the endless planning void. In particular when you’re holding down your full time job at the same time as your side business, it’s very common for business owners to end up planning forever and never quite taking the plunge. Identify the planning components of your business, and the execution that needs to take place and find time within your planning schedule to factor that in.

Having a clear idea of your day and your week is vital to small business owners who continue to work in their full time positions after they launch their business. Knowing that turning a profit can take a few months or more, the security and stability of that full time role can be essential as well as reassuring for many but knowing how to maximise your time and energy around that is fundamental to making both businesses in your life a success.

Whatever your business idea, whether it’s just something you’ve been mulling over or whether you’ve taken some steps on the entrepreneurial path already, we’d love to help. Read some of our Go For It Success Stories and get in touch. Our business experts will be delighted to hear from you and to talk you through everything you might need to know to move forward with your business concept.

call 0800 027 0639 or click here