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More often than not, startups in Africa are started by people who have no savings stashed away or a hand from family members let alone friends. Instead, these entrepreneurs have to juggle between gigs and jobs to ensure they support their new ventures.
Not forgetting that the lack of up-to-standard incubators across the continent dictates that most young startup founders need that exposure to a real work environment to acquire a certain set of skills like managing a team, finances, and others.
This leaves them no option but to juggle two or more things at ago. Though some are able to pull it off, most struggle and often end up abandoning their startup. Those that hold on tend to deliver below their true potential on both their 8-5 as well as their startups.
Here are 6 tips on how to ensure you don’t quit your job or gig world but still not putting your startup at risk.
As long as you enter the world of part-time entrepreneurship, time should become your new currency – guard it jealously. Make sure you only attend meetings that are a must attend, pick calls that are a must pick, engage in conversations that are a must.
You now have to keep a close tab on how you spend each and every single minute of the day to eliminate any wastages. Start taking note of how long each task takes you to accomplish. If it is a repetitive task, make sure you try as much as possible to cut down that time.
All in all, you have to make sure that your time is only spent on stuff and people that are helping you build your startup or improve efficiency at your day-time job. Do note that this does not mean doing away with alone and family time.
2. Similar Industry
This goes to those contemplating starting part-time entrepreneurship. If possible, make sure your startup and current field of employment are in the same or similar industry.
This will save you a lot of time and energy. For example, if your startup is in recruitment services and your current job is in recruitment services, it means that you can leverage the same connections you’re building for your current employer. Not forgetting the skills. It’ll also save you the opportunity cost in terms of energy of switching your mind.
It’ll also save you the opportunity cost in terms of energy of switching your mind from one thing to another. Just imagine working in a services industry and at the end of the day, your startup is in the manufacturing of products.
So, the recommendation is that you try as much as possible to startup in an industry similar to your current employer’s
This, of course, has now become a cliche. But, its re-appearance on the list is the emphasis on how important it is. As an individual, you only have 24 hours in a day of which you lose 6-8 to sleep. When you factor in an additional 8-10 hours you dedicate to your employers, it means that you’re left with roughly 6-8 hours per day to work on your startup.
As an individual, you only have 24 hours a day. Of which you lose 6-8 to sleep. When you factor in an additional 8-10 hours you dedicate to your employers, it means that you’re left with roughly 6-8 hours per day to work on your startup.
Just imagine you brought on board someone else to give a hand with an additional 6-8 hours per day? That means you can accomplish almost twice as much as you can – assuming they’re at almost the same level of productivity as you.
Secondly, as you start taking your startup off the ground, a number of work increases. You’ll have more meetings to attend, more paperwork, more (networking) events to attend and the list goes on.
But, not all of these will be equally important. Others just need you to show face or have a representative from your startup. So, make sure you have a right-hand man/woman that you can always call up to shadow you.
4. Collaboration tools
This is applicable to every startup – no matter which industry you’re in. By the fact that you’re still working for another company, it means you don’t have offices yet. Which implies that, if you have a team, everyone is scattered.
So, how do you bring everyone “closer” and ensure you keep tabs on each and every team member? Make use of collaboration tools. Take an example of creating a WhatsApp group or use of Skype groups as well as Google suite.
These tools will ensure each team member gives in as though they’re working from an office close to you. However, having these tools in place doesn’t mean your team members will just ship automatically. You must ensure you put in an extra effort to follow-up with your team on a daily.
This applies to startups that have certain tasks that are repetitive. Take an example of running social media accounts. This is something that can be automated by use of tools like HootSuite or Buffer.
Make sure you identify those repetitive tasks and look out for tools or ways to ensure you stop doing them manually and instead have them automated. You’re likely to find some free tools online or some on a freemium model.
If you’re looking at jumping into part-time entrepreneurship and really balance both your job and startup, you have to say bye to procrastination. Make sure you’re ready to eat the frog whenever it presents itself.
Sure, there are some boring and “impossible” things that’ll come your way more often than not. However, quit pushing these to a later day or time and instead tackle them there and then.
Otherwise, be ready to have a growing to-do list each and every day of which majority will be tasks that should have been done a long time ago. In the end, this cripples your morale.
To avoid procrastination, you need to become more organized than ever before. Because any slight task overflow leads to not accomplishing another. Also, make sure you rank priority tasks higher on the list.
Ideally, every person starting out desires to have the entire 24 hours to focus on their startup but that is not possible.
But, in Africa, having a steady paycheck or salary coming to one’s pockets is the surest way to predict the lifespan of their startup. Other than that, the majority of startup founders have ideas that always remain on paper.
Making use of the above tips won’t give you the same productivity that you’d have had if you were working on your startup 24 hours a day but will ensure you balance 8-5 more efficiently.