Juggling your current job and a start-up

Many may find their passion for starting their own business while still working a full-time job, but how can you turn that ambition into reality and balance the demands of both?

In 2023, SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) contributed an estimated £2.4 trillion to the UK economy.

While making the move from being employed full-time to running your own business may be your ultimate dream, balancing the needs of your start-up with the responsibilities of your current job can be a challenge.

If being your own boss is your goal, but you can’t yet commit to it full-time, we have some handy tips on how to manage your time and energy.

The benefits and challenges of working full-time while building a business

If you are looking to start your entrepreneurial journey but don’t feel ready to leave your full-time job yet, there are many elements to consider that could influence your decision.


  • you will maintain financial stability from your full-time job as you develop your own business – with smart budgeting, you could invest money into research and development, marketing, or business mentoring to help your business grow
  • you could still enjoy employment benefits such as health insurance, car allowances, and pension contributions
  • it could be easier for you to secure funding as you have a stable income
  • you could learn from your mistakes without the pressure of your livelihood depending on the success of your start-up.


  • your health may be affected, and you could have an increased risk of burnout as you work two jobs
  • your start-up may not grow as fast as others run by entrepreneurs who work on their business full-time
  • it could create time management issues that impact your social life or family responsibilities
  • you may have a conflict of interest if your start-up is in the same industry as your full-time job.

Remember – no start-up journey is the same, and you may face different advantages and disadvantages depending on your unique situation.

How to juggle your full-time job with your start-up needs

1. Check your work contract to avoid violating employment terms

Before jumping into starting your own business, look over your current work contract for any clauses about setting up your own company.

Some employers may not allow the use of company property, such as phones and laptops, to help you with your start-up, and your contract may include points stipulating that employees are restricted from starting a similar business.

Breaking these clauses could result in you being dismissed or facing a legal claim, so it’s worth checking in advance.

2. Set clear goals

Having a clear idea of your business aims and how you want your company to grow could be key to the success of your start-up.

If you’re uncertain about what you want to achieve or the best timeframe for reaching your targets, you may be unable to effectively plan ahead.

For instance, what is your vision for your company, and how would you like it to operate?

Setting clear goals could offer you a number of benefits, including better time and money management, easier future planning, and success when it comes to securing investments.

3. Be realistic

Having goals and objectives when running a business can be a great way to help you measure success and find your focus.

However, some goals might be loftier than others and may feel too ambitious within the timeframe of your business plan.

Consider setting realistic business goals by splitting them into daily, weekly, and monthly lists and deciding on what you will be able to achieve within those timeframes.

Daily tasks might include ensuring your inbox is cleared every evening, while a monthly goal could be to track trends in your market.

Having realistic, obtainable targets could also make you feel more productive and positive, setting you up to successfully complete larger goals in the future.

4. Manage your time effectively

Launching a business takes time and dedication, especially when spending much of your day doing your full-time job.

It’s worth considering how you can be smart with your time so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

You could spend an hour every evening working on your business or wake up an hour earlier if you’re a morning person.

By taking small but consistent steps every day, you could create a start-up schedule that works best for your lifestyle.

5. Outsource where you can

Outsourcing could be a valuable solution as you realise how precious your time is when working two jobs.

Although it may be challenging to give up some responsibility, it could be worth deciding which areas of your start-up need your attention more than others.

For example, investing in a virtual assistant could be a cost-efficient way to handle scheduling appointments, paperwork, research, or other tasks that don’t require as much attention and focus.

6. Make time for yourself

Balancing your full-time job and getting your start-up off the ground could help you realise your business dreams without sacrificing your health.

In 2022, 80% of UK entrepreneurs reported suffering from poor mental health, so it’s worth being mindful of your well-being.

Making time for yourself could include physically removing yourself from your work environment to give yourself a break, spending time with friends and family, exercising, or enjoying relaxing hobbies such as reading or cooking.

7. Use your time to keep testing

Before settling on a business idea, it is useful to know if the products and services you want to create are in demand – if not, you risk losing money.

If you have a full-time job providing a stable income, you may have more confidence to test new business ideas while facing fewer risks.

Market research and testing could help you keep your business ideas focused, while feedback from trusted friends and family could also help to guide you.

Asking for honest opinions, questioning target customers, and developing demos could help you build stronger, better offerings before you’ve invested too much money and time to make changes.

8. Ask for help when you need it

Some entrepreneurs may not have previous experience in their start-up market and decide to learn while building a business.

One way to make the process smoother when it comes to getting your start-up off the ground is to consider asking for guidance when you need it.

Expert advice from business mentors or coaches, other start-up owners, or industry leaders can be invaluable in helping you navigate challenges.

Think about making the most of free initiatives to build your skill set.

Start Up Loans offers successful applicants a year of free mentoring to help grow their business.

You can also participate in our Learn with Start Up Loans programme of free business courses created in partnership with the Open University.

When should I make my start-up the priority?

Making the leap from full-time employment to self-employment can feel daunting but exciting for many entrepreneurs.

But when is the right time to make your move?

There could be a number of things to consider before becoming your own boss, including your financial stability, confidence, support network, and work/life balance.

Having a solid understanding of the legal and tax obligations of your business will also be useful to ensure a smooth journey for your start-up.

Managing your time effectively to put the groundwork in place while juggling two jobs will help ensure you make the best choice at the right time.

Learn with Start Up Loans and help get your business off the ground

Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.

Our free Learn with Start Up Loans courses include:

Plus free courses on climate and sustainability, teamwork, entrepreneurship, mental health and wellbeing.

Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

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