Home Start-Ups How to set up a side business when still working in corporate

How to set up a side business when still working in corporate

Anastasiia Leiman

Published: January 18, 2024

Happened it be, you decided to create something of your own while still working in corporate - the first thing you need to do is: to believe that it is possible. From there you need to develop a strategy, a long-term and a short-term tactical plan.

Setting up a side business while still working in a corporate job requires careful planning and time management to ensure success without compromising your current employment and mental health. Here are some steps you might want to consider before you embark on this exciting yet challenging journey:


Be clear on your ‘’Why’’

Understanding the main driver of your decision to set up your own business is critically important. This will be your guiding star in the moments when it gets difficult along the way. It will be your driving force to persevere despite all the odds and not to rely only on motivation which tends to come and go.


Choose a Viable Business Idea

Select a side business that aligns with your skills, interests, values and has market demand. Consider your expertise and how it complements your current job. See what strengths you can tap into that you have used already in the current corporate job, which will be of great value in your start-up business.

Explore the Japanese concept of ikigai to come up with your business idea. Ikigai is the intersection of what you love, what the world needs, what you can be paid for, and what you're good at. It's where personal passions and societal contribution meet, resulting in a life rich with purpose and joy.


Create a Business Plan

Outline your business idea, target market, competition, marketing strategy, and financial projections. A solid business plan can guide your efforts and attract potential investors or partners. You need to understand how much investment you need and what appetite you have in terms of risk.


Be Transparent with Your Employer and Check Employment Contract and Policies

If your employment contract requires it or if you feel it's necessary, inform your employer about your side business. Transparency can help build trust and prevent conflicts. Review your employment contract and company policies to ensure there are no restrictions on pursuing outside business activities. Some companies may have non-compete or conflict of interest clauses.


Build a Strong Online Presence

In the modern world when everything is digital – building your online presence is extremely crucial for the future success of your start-up. Even though creating a professional website is not usually the first thing to action, establishing social media profiles, and using some online platforms might be a good idea to start your marketing and advertising journey. This can help attract customers and clients.

‘’Everything is possible. The impossible just takes longer’-Dan Brown.

Network and Build Relationships

Leverage your existing professional network to promote your side business. Attend industry events, join relevant groups, and connect with potential clients or collaborators.


Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Register your side business, obtain any necessary licenses, and ensure compliance with local laws and regulations when needed. This will help you avoid legal issues in the future.


Financial Management

Keep your personal and business finances separate. Open a business bank account and use accounting software to track income and expenses. Be mindful of taxes related to your side business. If in doubt - seek professional advice.


Maintain Confidentiality

Avoid using company resources, time, or proprietary information for your side business. Maintain confidentiality and avoid any conflicts of interest.


Define boundaries, Stay Committed and Manage Stress

Clearly define your working hours for your side business and stick to a schedule. Ensure that it does not interfere with your primary job responsibilities.

Juggling a full-time job and a side business can be demanding. Stay committed to both but be mindful of your stress levels. It's crucial to define clear boundaries and protect them. This will help you to organically prioritise and juggle between daily life, corporate job and side business.


Remember, successful side businesses often require dedication, time, and effort. By carefully managing your time and responsibilities, you can build a side business while maintaining your corporate job. Also keep in mind – that you do not have to do it all alone: whether you are looking for a subject matter expertise or goal execution strategies, there are plenty of coaches and consultants who can support you on the journey of creating something that matters for you and this world.


Ana Leiman is a senior finance professional with 15+ years of experience in corporate finance having held middle and senior management roles in blue chip companies in Europe and Australia. She has also been successfully developing her life coaching practice which she is extremely passionate about. Ana is a goal execution expert with the focus on high-performance and resilience. She is also a mum of two young kids and a keen traveller. If you are lacking clarity, direction or feel overwhelmed – feel free to connect with Ana for a free chat via her linkedin profile Anastasiia (Ana) Leiman | LinkedIn.

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