Starting your own business and working for yourself can be both exciting and nerve-racking. One way to ease into being a business owner is with a part-time business. Some people decide to start a part-time business while raising kids or maintaining a regular job working for someone else. There are advantages to a part-time business, including the ability to maintain another job that may have more security. Starting a business part-time also provides more flexibility and a chance to learn about running a business before jumping into a full-time business.
Decide on the amount of time you have to invest in the business. "Part time" may mean different things to different people. Consider all your commitments and responsibilities, such as another job, family and volunteer work. The number of hours you have available to start a part-time business will help determine how involved your business plan will be and what type of business you could start.
Do something you already know. Consider starting a business doing something that you are familiar with. For example, if you have worked in accounting, consider starting a part-time bookkeeping business. Running a business doing something you are experienced at reduces the time it takes to learn new skills.
Develop a business plan. Although the business is part time, you will still need a plan to make it work. Determine the mission and need for the business, the startup costs and marketing strategies. If outside financing is needed, make a list of lenders you will contact for a business loan (see Resources below).
Consider running it from your home. Although a part-time business can be lucrative, it may take a while to see profits. Setting up shop in your home can reduce costs and may help your business succeed. Keep in mind there may be tax exemptions for using part of your home for business purposes.
Think about buying a franchise. Although a franchise may not be right for every business owner, it can have some advantages. A business that already has a customer following and a team to support the startup may help with the time constraints involved in starting a business on a part-time basis. Determine what assistance is involved from the franchise at startup and afterward. Find out about restrictions and franchise rules that need to be followed (see Resources below).