The biggest barrier to starting a business isn’t access to resources, support or mentoring. It’s simply not being able to quit a day job, to spend time developing a concept. With responsibilities to manage and bills to pay, the option of handing in that resignation letter is often an unaffordable and unrealistic luxury.
But not being able to quit a job shouldn’t mean we have to quit our dreams – instead it should complement it. Some of the world’s most successful companies began as side projects, with their founders working evenings or weekends to turn their ideas into realities. ICON is a prime example of this – all of our businesses started while we were working on something else.
Zaltanpharma Laboratories was originally a side Project, as part of ICON Group. The fact we were doing this on top of working didn’t bother us as we were completely passionate about music. Passion is the key to juggling work and business. If do what you love and love what you do you’re more likely to be successful.
When we went into technology, again, we started our operations as side project while we were running ICON and Zaltan. We saw a gap in the market one day talking to a client who did not have enough budget to hire external resources to promote established brands. With a desire to change the comercial outsourcing for good we started with 10 employees, and worked hard to grow i-konekt into an international player, counting today on more than 3,500 eReps/telepromoters/eDoctors.
The reason we’ve always started a new business while still working on an existing one is because it’s essential in entrepreneurship to limit the downside. Entrepreneurship by its nature is an incredibly risky vocation, so much so that eight out of 10 start-ups fail within the first 18 months. So, having to completely quit your current work to pursue a new idea can leave you open to failure on many levels.
At ICON CUBE we’ve seen the benefits that come with starting a business while working. We give support to entrepreneurs through access to capital, networking and coaching/mentoringship. We’ve found that those who apply and plan to grow their idea while still working their day jobs are more confident in their ability to manage their money and time. Not having to be reliant on their new business to provide them with a full time income, they are given a bit of breathing space and time for their idea to gain traction. By working, they are able to make their loan last longer and go further.
Starting a business while working can also have a positive impact on your day job. You’re often the head of marketing, operations, business development and technology in the early days of business. I had at least 10 titles at the beginning, depending on who I was talking to. Working across so many areas enables you to learn quickly and broaden your skill set – something that will undoubtedly make you a better employee as well as an entrepreneur.
This is a view we take at ICON, where we encourage our people to work on projects in their spare time. It’s one of the best ways for staff to gain extra training and knowledge. I certainly learned more in the first year of launching and running ICON than I did across 20 years of schooling.