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Column | Denise Rawls | Why you should get a job when you start your business

Denise Rawls is a seriously experienced business development consultant and founder of The Hackney Hive. Denise is expert at helping SMEs make more money and impact with the resources they have. In her monthly column, she will share tips, advice and comment on all things marketing!

Here is a chart of what life is like for a startup. It was designed by Paul Graham of Y Combinator.   I use this chart in my masterclasses to show just what it’s like when you start your own business.

Many people think a start-up will just accumulate sales and growth with no bumps in the road.  The reality is that over three-quarters of start-ups fail in the first three months!  This is why I recommend starting your business while you still have a job or getting a part-time job to sustain you in the early months of being your own boss and there is lots of evidence that agrees.

Having a job when you start your business means you are not constantly worried about money, therefore, your head is less full of stress and so you are more likely to succeed.

When Steve Wozniak was an engineer at Hewlett-Packard, he designed what was to become the Apple I. While he agreed to partner with Steve Jobs to market it, he didn’t give up his day job. Wozniak didn’t leave HP until seven months after starting Apple, after he designed the Apple II for general release.

When Virgin Start Up ran a survey they found over 60% of their members’ had been employed when they started up. And of these, an impressive 67% were working full-time.

Combining working and entrepreneurship gives you security and time to test your passion, time to test your product and time to test your commitment. It also gives you time to see what more you need to learn before you will start making and taking money from your business.

Each of these steps are critical and get you along the curve until you reach the point at which you are ready to scale. When you get to this point you know your business, you know your strengths and weaknesses and you have started to think outside the box to get things done in this business you love. And you do all of this without racking up thousands of pounds worth of debt.

This advice comes with one massive warning though; make sure you give yourself regular downtime so you don’t burn out. Working two jobs alongside being a woman is so tough and the risk of burnout is so real.

Despite what we are taught to believe we are not invincible.  I still plan monthly days out with the family, often we just have a day out to Margate or Broadstairs. I never change that commitment despite what may be going on in the business, I’ve learnt I need this time away to make sure I really switch off and distance myself physically and mentally from the business.

Big love to everyone combining working and business building, keep going, it will be worth it.

Denise Rawls is the founder of TheHackneyHive.com a boutique business and media strategy consultancy which works with organisations of all sizes who want to grow their profitability and influence. @Denise_Rawls

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