How To Survive Your Day Job While Starting A Business

While many of us dream of starting a business, the reality often is that we have to continue to work our day job in the meantime. Here's how to survive. 

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Many of us have entrepreneurial dreams. We want to run our own business, be our own boss and kick it to the man. But the reality is, we’ve got bills we’ve gotta pay (so we’re gonna work, work, work everyday – I couldn’t resist!!!). So for a lot of entrepreneurs, we have to work out how we are going to survive our day jobs while starting up our business.

Depending on how much you love your job and how far you’re into your entrepreneurial journey, this can be either quite simple or ridiculously difficult.

But there are ways you can make it all a little easier. While it’s incredibly tempting to say ‘bye Felecia’ to your job and run of chasing your dreams, there can be a lot of benefit to keeping your 9 til 5 while building the foundation when starting a business.

Identify Your Why

Get clear on why you are still in your day job and why you need to be there. And just so you know – money is a perfectly good answer. Entrepreneurship is hard, it’s risky and going ‘all in or nothing’ isn’t the most appropriate choice for a lot of people.

Sometimes having the stability of a job and something to fall back on allows us to take bigger risks in our businesses. It can allow us to explore new opportunities that we may not have been able to before and gives us that little bit of comfort knowing we still have an income coming in.

Try reminding yourself of your ‘why’ as you’re getting ready for work and be sure to remind yourself again when you have a rough day. While it may be tempting to throw caution to the wind and go all in on your business, this might cause more stress in the long run.

Create Mini Vision Boards

For anyone who is a visually focused person, create a mini vision board for your workspace. If you can’t have one on display at work get a little creative – have it as your home screen on your phone, hang it on the inside of your locker door, pop it behind your visor in your car so you can see it easily, even have it printed on your coffee mug.

Visual reminders are great to help us gain focus and perspective. Perhaps you’re working so you can still have family holidays away – then make sure you have pictures of your favourite holiday locations. Or maybe you’re working until your business reaches a certain monetary milestone then will look at reducing your hours – have that monetary amount written everywhere. No one has to know what it’s for other than you.

While many of us dream of starting a business, the reality often is that we have to continue to work our day job in the meantime. Here's how to survive. 

Write Down Your Goals Daily

It’s been shown that those who write their goals down daily are far more likely to achieve them than those who skip this task. Writing out your goals will keep them are the forefront of your mind and give you something positive to focus on.

You don’t need to be incredibly elaborate here. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and write out a handful of goals. You might choose to focus on your immediate goals – that is those you are going to achieve within the next week, or perhaps your more long term goals.

Keep these goals with you while you’re at work – and whenever you’re feeling like you are struggling with your job, have a look at your goals and remind yourself what it is you are going to achieve.

Celebrate Your Wins

I am a massive stickler for celebrating your wins, both big and small. Made it through another week at work bringing you one week closer to running your business full time? Celebrate it. Made a massive leap in your business? Celebrate it! Manage to work on your business in your lunch breaks for a whole week? Woohoo – celebrate it.

How you celebrate is up to you – perhaps you’d like to take yourself off for a manicure or a spa day for some of your bigger wins (or even your small ones – your call) or even just buying your favourite magazine and sitting in a cafe for some quiet time (my favourite).

Lately I’ve been rewarding myself with new Kindle Books and I think it’s been one of the most fun rewards I’ve had.

Give Yourself Milestones

Milestones work in similar ways to goals but give you another form of concrete timeline to work towards.

Maybe you can negotiate part time hours once your business starts being able to supplement your income and work your way down to leaving your day job.

Or maybe once your business reaches a certain level you can step down your job to a less consuming, lower paying position to free up some time and mind space for your new business while still having the security of a full time job?

Whatever your milestones are write them down, make them achievable and remind yourself of them daily.

Above all, remember to stay positive. As much as you may loathe going to work, you are moving towards something bigger and better and something that makes you incredibly happy. Progress is progress.


    1. Congratulations on being able to quit your day job! I bet that felt amazing!! It’s incredible how important that one detail is… your WHY. Awesome work Lady Boss!!! 🙂

    1. I’m so glad it has helped lovely. Sometimes it can feel like things are going so slowly when you want to just be your own boss… but looking at the big picture definitely helps. x Good luck to you!!

  1. This was very timely. I left my day job about 8 months ago to focus on my business but became very stressed because its taking longer than expected to grow. I took in a border and recently went back to my former employer as a contract worker. It allows me to work when and where I want so I work 5 hours a day for them and the rest of the time I focus on growing my business!

  2. I found this article at the perfect time! I’m in limbo right now – writing pros and cons lists and making plans to quit the day job and dive into my business head first. These are really, really good points and things to remember. I’m printing it and keeping it on the fridge for inspiration!

    1. I’m so glad it helps! It’s such a big decision, to say or go, and there will always be pros and cons on each side. I hope you find your answer and I wish you so much success! <3

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