As the concept of a side gig becomes more common place, it presents a unique opportunity and quandary for new entrepreneurs. On the one hand, starting your business as a side a gig definitely has its benefits. It creates an opportunity for you to test the market and viability of your product. It gives an opportunity for market research and to make any necessary adjustments. As well as provide revenue to reinvest in your business.
On the other hand, it can leave you feeling burned out and hinder you from gaining traction. There are only so many things you can accomplish in a day. Having the responsibility of a full-time job and a side business can prevent you from fully focusing and being productive in either.
There really is no right or wrong answer as to whether starting off as a side gig is a good option. It’s strictly a case by case situation, but there are some things you should consider as you make your decision.
Experience and Comfort Level
The amount of business experience you possess and comfort level with the uncertainties that come with entrepreneurship should factor into your decision. I mention these two factors together because they often correlate to each other. First time entrepreneurs with extensive business experience often feel more comfortable diving into the business directly. They feel sufficiently equipped to navigate any unknown issues that may arise. This is specially true if it aligns with the type of business they are starting. I’ve also encountered young entrepreneurs with no business experience. Yet, their focus, passion and commitment are enough to make them comfortable with jumping right in. In general, I tend to recommend side gigs for people who are ambivalent about entrepreneurship. It’s something they want to try and think they would be good at, but if I don’t see passion or extensive experience, I would suggest a side gig first.
As I mentioned in my last article, market research is important. If your product is so new or revolutionary that it would benefit from market testing or requires significant customer education, then you might want to consider starting off as a side gig. Then you can refine your product and pitch before making a full investment. With professional service entrepreneurs, I ask them to consider how comfortable they are with selling. If they are not good at networking and pitching, I may recommend the side gig option. They should get a few clients under their belt first.
Time and Financial Investment
This would seem like an obvious factor, but I do encounter entrepreneurs who start a business despite the fact they lack either or both of these resources. I truly believe in optimism and mindset. But time and money are two things you can’t change with sheer strength of will. Be honest and realistic about how much time and money you have available. If the numbers don’t work, consider the side gig option.
Multiple Interests and Ideas
Entrepreneurs are naturally creative thinkers with a variety of interests and ideas they’re pursuing at once. If you’re someone who has 10 different business ideas you feel passionately about, then you should consider incubating them as side gigs before making any significant investments. Some entrepreneurs enjoy the flexibility that a side gig gives them so much, that they opt to pursue multiple side businesses instead of focusing all your energy and efforts into one growing one business into a full-time business (enterprise)