FORTUNE Small Business:

How do I launch a biz while working full-time?

Can't afford to quit your day job? FSB expert Verne Harnish has advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who aren't quite ready to take the plunge.

ByVerne Harnish, CEO, Gazelles, Ashburn, Va.

(FSB Online) -- Dear FSB: I would like to start a concierge/lifestyle management service. I have done tons of research and found out about several successful businesses in this area across the country. I'm wondering how successful I can be in my state. And is it feasible to start part-time while I'm still employed? I can't afford to devote myself to this full-time right now.

- Randi Clark, President, Re3 Lifestyle Management, Maple Grove, Minn.

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Dear Randi: As your research has likely confirmed, concierge services are a key benefit in retaining talent, which is becoming a big issue for many large companies. The challenge with such ventures is that you need to be available primarily during the day. Is it possible that your present employer could become your first client? Could you make a lateral move to set up your service inside your firm? Doing this would allow you to perfect your offerings while remaining full-time with your employer. Down the road, you could offer to work by contract.

The other option I see is finding a partner who keeps his or her full-time job while you run the business. The two of you could cut back your living expenses and live on the one salary. Or you could do this without a partner by cutting your own living expenses in half, saving the portion you don't spend for six months, and using that to free yourself from the demands of working a full-time job while starting your company. Top of page

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