At some point, an entrepreneur will encounter a time when they must decide whether to quit their day job. I know most of us have had that daydream in which we get to tell our boss, “I am quitting, so I can run my business full-time!” Until then, let us try and see the value our day jobs provide, besides a paycheck.
For those who have other aspirations, we can assume that without our paychecks, we wouldn’t be serving time at our current job. For me, it is a very simple math problem. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I must target a certain amount of income before I can quit. When I zero in on that amount, it will be time to quit my day job and focus on my business full-time. Until then, I treat my day job as a very meaningful part of my business. In addition to my bottom line, I consistently take note of what I can carry over to my business. For example, I am responsible for assisting with formation and maintenance of limited liability companies. Because I wish to form my own company, the research I complete and steps that I take for my employer serve my side business as well. While there are other types of businesses that I plan on researching on my own (such as certified B Corporations and nonprofit organizations), my day job greatly reduces the time that I need to spend researching the type of business I may form one day.
My current role is also responsible for managing outside counsel expenses. While I prefer words over numbers, being exposed to an area that is going to carry over to my own business makes it far easier to digest. In my last role, I was tasked with managing the budget for our legal department. When I first acquired this project, my Excel skill set was mediocre. Several years later, my skill set was far more advanced and helped me earn my current role. While my side business is writing, I hope I need to exercise savvy Excel skills to manage my ballooning bottom line.
An added perk is that my company offers tuition reimbursement. How can I get my skill set to the next level? Should I take marketing classes? Should I set my sight on another degree? While my desk has been far too busy to check into this program, it is on my to do list. Sometimes, companies require that the coursework support your role or relate to the business at hand; but if not, I just found another valuable reason not to quit my day job.
While some are fortunate enough to have day jobs that mirror what they desire to be doing for themselves, others are not so lucky. If you fall in the latter category, do not fret as businesses are not powered by pure passion, they require a variety of skills, some of which we can continue to polish while maintaining our day jobs.