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Juggling a Day Job and a Start-Up

Lauren Marinigh | August 23, 2016


Starting a business on top of managing your full-time job can be difficult, but for some people, dropping everything for a new business venture isn’t a viable option. Having the income of a full-time job in the early stages of starting a business can be incredibly beneficial and allow for you to continue to have the lifestyle you’ve grown accustom too while also building your passion project.

But starting a business is chaotic, draining, and it can overpower your entire life beyond a 9-5, so how do you manage a full-time job on top of that start-up hustle? Lana Dingwall founder of Arrow – Always Moving Forward, and regional manager of Public Outreach located in Ottawa, Ontario, is living proof that it is possible.

Her business, Arrow, is a coaching and consulting business which was created to push people outside of their comfort zones, challenge their own limited beliefs and get them moving forwards towards who and where they want to be in life. Lana works with people all over North America with her business, but also works to fundraise on behalf of various local and global charities through her job at Public Outreach. To top it off, she even has around 40 staff she manages in Ottawa.

Although this sounds next to impossible for some, Lana decided to keep her full-time job because she loves the comfort and security of a salary, and her business relies on continuously signing new clients (aka commission) which can’t always be promised. “There is a lot of instability when starting a new business and keeping my day job takes the financial stress off my shoulders,” she shared. “The health benefits and social aspects of the job are an added bonus as well.”

Ultimately, although Lana could quit her day job, the added financial stress would be more weight on her then working more hours. So how does she make it all happen? Here are four tips from her on how she has the best of both worlds and makes it work.

1) Don’t give up
A lot of the times giving up your start-up business can seem like the easy solution when you potentially already have a comfortable career and salary. Remember there is a reason you wanted to launch this business in the first place, and you knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Don’t give in to what is easier, push through that and your business will work.”

2) Share your start-up ideas
If possible; share your start-up business with your supervisors in your full-time job. If you are a valuable worker, they will want to keep you around for as a long as possible. See if there are things you can work out with them to keep you in the job longer, while giving you the room to still run your start-up. Maybe your schedule can be more flexible, or they can give you tasks to do at work that correlate to your start-up.

My manager has been really supportive and has allowed me to create coaching workshops that I can run with my teams, but that are also transferable to my business. Two birds, one stone is really helpful when you’re working two jobs.

3) Learn when to ask for help
My biggest struggle was learning how to do everything. I had to learn how to make a website, learn what SEO was and how to do it, how to market, how to sell, how to write a blog, and much more. It can become really overwhelming sometimes and I learnt that there are a lot of people I know out there (or professionals) that know how to do these things, and having them take things off my plate gave me the space to focus on other parts of my business.

4) Know when to take a break
Working on job can be stressful enough, trying to work a career and launch a business at the same time is a lot more stressful. Figure out what your boundaries are and learn when to take a day off. Your day job and start-up will both suffer if you’re running on empty. Taking some time to recharge and refresh can actually produce more work than just trying to grind through everything.

Lana is living proof that you don’t need to choose one over the other, you can have the security of a day job, and still make your passion project or big idea a reality!

Written By: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Creation Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada and Lana Dingwall, Founder of Arrow and Regional Manager, Public Outreach