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How to Keep Your Job While Getting Your Own Business Off the Ground

"If anyone comments about how tired or distracted you seem, or notes a slippage in your attire, performance or output, you're overdoing the new business," Swedberg says. "If you are tardy or taking more sick days than usual or you feel more easily upset or frustrated at work, you are definitely at risk."

The best way to prevent this is to "completely compartmentalize" and refuse to shortchange your current employer, Swedberg says. Entrepreneurs should look to reframe both positions, and instead of thinking of a "full-time, bill-paying job," they should think of their day job as "what I do from 9 to 5." Instead of a "time- and money-sucking start-up," think of their venture as "what I do from 7 to 11 p.m. and Saturdays."

"This is a small mental shift, but it provides a huge release," she says. "There is no reason to jeopardize one for the other if you are willing to put in the hours at both." 


Taking that strategy one step further, Swedberg says all entrepreneurs should have one full day per week that's a true break--no work at all.

"You will be amazed how many more ideas and energy you have for both," she says.

During this phase in the life of your business, it's important to focus on one task at a time, says Matt Julian, director of customer acquisition at BizFilings, a small-business incorporation provider.

"Focus on the task in front of you. By lending your focus to one challenge at a time, you'll generate better ideas -- whether for your current position or your start-up," Julian says, adding that savvy entrepreneurs understand that launching a company involves an enormous sacrifice of private time.

"It's a no-brainer that entrepreneurship requires personal sacrifice," he says. "To efficiently manage the effort required to start a business as well as your current job, be prepared to give up your personal time. Your hobbies or time spent with friends may be temporarily sidelined, but if you're willing to make some small tradeoffs in the beginning of your life as an entrepreneur, it proves you're passionate about your business idea and want to see it succeed."

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