Q&A: Should I Start a Business on the Side?

Question: I am currently employed full-time but am considering a secondary source of income by starting my own business on the side. Is this a viable idea?

Answer: Starting and managing a side business requires a considerable amount of effort and resources – perhaps more than you think! A great deal of time, effort and resources need to be invested in order if your side business is not to end up in the red – permanently.

What is Your Motivation?

Know that there are two main benefits to be had from starting a side business: greater financial security and the passion of making the most out of a long-term hobby. Consider your true motivation. Is it simply a form of distraction from all the pent-up work stress and frustration? Or is it the desire to jump on the bandwagon, seeing the rise in the number of such ventures in Singapore? If your motivation is not sufficient to sustain you through the pain of setting up and establishing your business, it definitely won’t be enough to keep you going.

Commitment and Time Management

On that note, if you have a real issue with commitment, you might also want to think twice about starting your own side business. The importance of commitment cannot be stressed enough - when you start something, you have to keep it going till the end, especially when a substantial amount of money is involved (your own or your co-investors’). To give you an idea on your commitment level, test out a basic business with little to no fixed costs (selling your old stuff on Facebook, etc.) for a week or two first. Are you able to handle it well? Is it worth continuing for the long-term? If it is, then yes, starting your on business on the side might be a really great idea!

Nature of the Business

Having said all that, don’t be discouraged! If you are confident to see things through, you should then consider arguably the most important question of all – what side business to run? Different businesses have different requirements. For instance, running a cupcake business requires you to come up with a menu and much more – from preparing and baking the cupcakes to (most importantly) building a customer base. In addition, orders may come in at the last minute and leave you with less time to fulfill them. In comparison, running a blog shop can be considered less physically intense, because setting up the website and getting models for your items requires less manual labour.

In contrast, marketing your blog shop will be even more important (social media is very helpful in spreading the word and directing people to your site!) as there are a plethora of blog shops in Singapore. In this case, practicality may trump passion. If you enjoy baking but work overtime on most days, managing a blog shop may be a much more practical way of earning the extra dollar without taking you away from your full-time job. At the end of the day, ensure that your side business is something you can invest well in without interfering with your full-time job. If you can find a good balance between committing to your full-time job and committing to your side business, it will be worth a shot!

What are your views on starting a business on the side? What business would you start up? Share with us in the comment box below!

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