A Business on the Side. Why Should You Have One?

Why does someone become a Halfpreneur,  begin a Side Hustle (Pamela Slim’s, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation, term for a tiny, independent venture you do during your free time) or begin a Second Act Semi-retirement career (Nancy Collamer)?   The idea of starting a side business may have arisen from:

  • seeing family or friends lose their jobs and realizing no job was truly secure
  • your own job loss and long term unemployment
  • an early retirement or retirement when you want to continue working and earning an income but you also want to work  fewer hours  at something you enjoy,
  • being one of the many millennials who want a challenge while waiting for the job market to open up.

The current government shut down may spur some individuals who work for government agencies or for businesses doing business with the government that they too should have a side business.

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The reality is that even if we have a full-time job, we are all self-employed.   Even if you are happy and feeling secure in your current position, it may be wise to become a Halfpreneur and start that side business as a form of career insurance.  Your side business  can:

  • provide extra income or a financial cushion.  The extra revenue can go to what you think is important – home repairs, paying down debt, retirement savings, a vacation.
  • serve as a backup plan just in case you lose your job.
  • be an opportunity to experiment with new fields and ideas which along with exercise will keep your brain healthy.

Once you organize your thoughts, you may discover there are almost limitless possibilities for potential businesses. Contrary to popular thought,  Everyone has skills, experience and attributes that can be used to successfully launch a  small business.  Begin by focusing on something that is in demand, fills a need and has growth potential.  If you can find an under-served niche you will have an easier time getting customers and establishing a reputation.  But don’t waste your time and energy by just starting a business that meets a demand.  This will be your business , choose something that interests you and that you are capable of doing.

Two warnings!

  • If you have a full time job, make sure you are not prohibited from performing outside work.
  • Check the local and state laws to be certain you can comply with the laws.  For example there may be zoning laws or regulations that food items be prepared in commercial kitchens.  SCORE and  local government small business associations can assist you,

Finally avoid potential financial and legal problems by:

  • choosing a legal structure for your business, most likely you will operate as a sole proprietor or as an LLC (limited liability corporation)
  • setting up a business bank account
  • checking with a CPA to learn what are your tax requirements.    You’ll also want to know what deductibles you can take.
  • getting any business licenses or permits that are required
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