Be Successful at Your Day Job or Build an Online Business? Can You Do Both?

Call me crazy, call me a traitor but I have a secret…the purpose of my online business is not to “finally” get me to quit my job… What?

What I am trying to say is that I do like my job (most days) but I have a very deep desire to be able to put my family in a position that if we ever so chose I could leave my 9-5 (I mean 7-6) job and move my family anywhere (most likely back to our hometown – great skiing and biking!).  So my goal of generating $15k/month of reliable net income by the age of 35 still stands.

This post will address one of the most common questions I get when people from the “real world” find out about my online business and the 10-30hrs per week I put into it.

 

Wouldn’t you be better off focusing on one either your day job or your online business?

My answer is always the same – working on my online business makes me better at my day job and working at my day job makes me better at my online business. Maybe I am not currently maximixing my immediate financial return but I am developing more skills doing both than I am if I was doing just one. This learning will hopefully pay dividends going forward.

“Working on my online business makes me better at my day job and work at my day job makes me better at my online business.”

There are a lot of ways that my day job benefits from my online activities and vice versa.

That being said there is the obvious downside…time! With only so many hrs in the day and a “rule” that when my son is awake I do not work it limits what I can do online. On the flip side if I spent the time I work on my online business getting more work completed at my day job I would be further ahead there.

 

3 Ways A Day Job Can Improve Your Online Business

I am sure this will be a little different for everyone depending on your online job. For reference I am a mechanical engineer working as essentially a Project Engineer/Manager for an energy company.

  • Learning a Broader Range of Skills – For me this has meant learning project management skills. At my day job I am looking after a 7,500 activity $30M project plan so thinking through the complexities of my online team and sequence at night is less daunting by comparison. My online business still is very complex with lots of moving parts but seeing skilled people work through more complex problems at work gives me a framework to do the same for my online business.
  • Organizational and Managerial Skills – Every business has an organization with managers. Not always skilled managers but it is still a good starting point to see how other people organize and manage their business. TPS reports or equivalent feels like a lot of BS but getting some form of updates and control to your online business you learn is very important.

  • Confidence to Build Something Bigger than 1 Person – If I had gone full time online immediately after College my goals would have been much simpler. $2k/month and the ability to live on a beach may have been what I was after. Nothing wrong with that but having a job and interacting with small-medium businesses that have been built by a couple of people through blood, sweat and will power is inspiring. The longer term goals for what I want to grow my online business into are bigger now then I believe they would have been if I hadn’t started working.

 

3 Ways An Online Business Can Improve Performance at My Day Job

  • Technical and Computer Prowess – For anyone that uses computers daily the ability to get more out of the tool is a benefit. The ability to do things on computers co-workers can’t is something that I can attribute directly to my online business pushing me to learn new skills. Plus for a lot of people the skills of online marketing can make them an even more valuable employee.
  • Ability to Make Decisions More Quickly – Being the ultimate decision maker for your online business is great training for making decisions when you need to at work. I know I am now more decisive with decisions at my day job after being the decisions maker for my online business.
  • Outside the Box Solutions – People approach problems through the lenses of their past experience and current knowledge. When we have a broader range of experiences it provides more opportunity to identify different solutions. So, compared to someone who is grinding out their same 9-5 job and then doing what normal people do at night (watch TV) they have limited other experiences to draw on to solve problems. I now there have been several times where the solution we ran with came as a result of my online business experience. Perhaps if the people in the video below had an online business (or equivalent for their time) they may have made a better decision…

What not to do with a dead washed up whale…the exploding whale disaster…

So, although many of us dream of making enough money online to be able to quit our day jobs it doesn’t have to be that way. If you are working towards making enough money online to be able to quit your job I wish you all the best…but while you are still in your job I encourage you to leverage both to get more out of each!

About the Author Jon Haver

I am a 31 year old husband, father of 2, engineer and a huge fan of developing systems to build useful and profitable websites. The reason I build online businesses is to provide financial independence for my family and yours. I am not a GURU but just a regular guy who is grinding out 12+hr days to build a life for my family on terms.
Jon Haver, Online Entrepreneur

Leave a Comment:

34 comments
Miki Vicioso says May 5, 2014

Great post John! Also you should include you have a new baby born (cough cough no sleep). You are really organize and get things done instead of wasting time like most people do. Keep it up buddy!

Reply
    Jon Haver says May 5, 2014

    Hey Miki,

    I’m glad you liked the post. Its all about prioritizing things in you life.

    Cheers
    Jon

    Reply
John Shea says May 5, 2014

Great post Jon! I think if you love your day job why not stay if you can do both?
For me personally I was in the same tech support job for 6 years with no raise and felt very limited in growth, as time went on the job also became much more demanding and my desire to build something big was really aggravating me on a daily basis.

I took my online experience and got a job working for a company doing eCommerce work, I’m actually now encouraged to spend time on eBay & Amazon daily finding ways to boost a business that still fits into the category of “online marketing”. At my old job if I was caught browsing Amazon all hell would break loose!

I suppose for those of you reading out there, if you dislike your 9-5 and want to become a full time entrepreneur you should REALLY focus on making enough income so you can quit.. don’t go home and watch TV every night after work.

Your other option would be to do what I did, get enough experience to get into a full time role that could also help you with your online endeavors (Just like what Jon is doing). There are tons of SEO jobs and marketing jobs out there that certainly can help you with your online goals.

Reply
    Jon Haver says May 5, 2014

    Hi John

    Thanks for the response, I agree that there is a lot of SEO and marketing jobs out there.

    Cheers
    Jon

    Reply
Dan says May 5, 2014

Nice post Jon! Sounds like you’re in an ideal situation if you enjoy both roles, you musn’t get much sleep though.. I find it quite challenging focusing on multiple roles an feel like my effectiveness is diluted somewhat. However it’s unavoidable due to the necessity of income 😉

Reply
    Jon Haver says May 5, 2014

    Hey Dan

    Thanks for the comment. I absolutely agree, balancing has its advantages and disadvantages.

    Cheers

    Jon

    Reply
Rob says May 5, 2014

Great post Jon.
I have a 100% commission day job and an online business. What I like most about my online business is that it “covers my nut” financially. This relieves the enormous stress I used to feel at my day when my income fluctuated. Knowing that my family is going to be just fine financially lets me feel calm and happy in the day job and I actually perform much better because of it. Hope that made sense 😉

Reply
    Jon Haver says May 5, 2014

    Hey Rob

    Financially it does take the load off your full time job. It also allows you to govern your expenses more, since your second source is dependent on your own time and effort. Thanks for the post Rob.

    Cheers
    Jon

    Reply
Randy says May 5, 2014

Jon-

I am an engineer by day also, and I agree with what you’re saying. I actually believe that my online work is helping my day job more than the other way around. It forces me to learn a lot of skills that I would not have even known about otherwise. I can talk to another set of people now at work that I wouldn’t have before. Keep up the good work…

Reply
    Jon Haver says May 5, 2014

    Hey Randy

    Thanks for the post.
    Keeping yourself on the ball and up to date with new and exciting challenges helps your professional career.

    Cheers
    Jon

    Reply
Nathan says May 5, 2014

Good point about thinking outside of the box. I too have come across situations at my work where knowing what I know has helped me solve our problems.

Reply
    Jon Haver says May 5, 2014

    Thanks Nathan

    It is about being ahead of the game. Thanks for the post.

    Cheers
    Jon

    Reply
Alistair Cochrane says May 5, 2014

Hey Jon

I’m going to predict that you will quit your job eventually… because I think you are getting too good at this sideline of yours.

Keep the good content coming )

Reply
    Jon Haver says May 5, 2014

    Hey Alistair

    Thanks for your post, and that is the plan for the future. I appreciate the acknowledgement.

    Cheers
    Jon

    Reply
Rob says May 5, 2014

What works better for one, may not work for others,.
A lot it depends on the risk profile of each of us.
Thank you for sharing

Rob

Reply
    Jon Haver says May 5, 2014

    Hey Rob

    Thanks for the post and I couldn’t agree more.

    Cheers
    Jon

    Reply
Jeff says May 5, 2014

I totally agree with this jon. I dont hate my day job, but I would like the option to leave if it ever came to that. Working on my side business(es) keeps me focused and my skills sharp, and allows me to bring more to the table than one person who just practices what they do in their regular 9-5 job every day.

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    Jon Haver says May 5, 2014

    Hey Jeff

    Thanks Jeff for the post.

    Cheers
    Jon

    Reply
Josh Escusa says May 5, 2014

If you enjoy your job I can see why you stick around. For me I felt the constraints of the company I was working for and I’m use to an environment that’s a lot faster paced. I got so bored at my job and I found it hard to get interested in anything that was going on there.

The result, was me leaving that job two weeks ago and enjoying the increased productivity for my business. I’ve done quite a bit in the last couple of weeks. I’m making more and I’m happier doing it. I’ve got a lot of big goals for my blog and for my business so I need all the time I can get.

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    Jon Haver says May 5, 2014

    Hey Josh

    Im glad that you have found success in your online business and you choose a route that fits your preference.
    All the best. Thanks for the post.

    Cheers
    Jon

    Reply
Ryan Cote says May 5, 2014

Hey Jon, this post hit home because I have a full time job working in my family’s marketing agency…and I’ve had a side hustle the last few years providing small business seo services (doesn’t compete with my job). I also have 2 young kids.

I actually enjoy my full time job and feel very fortunate to have the opportunity of working with my family and have no plans of quitting. But at the same time my side hustle is “my baby” and I couldn’t imagine not doing it…I would get the itch again to create something new from scratch. But I’m very conscious of burn out and if I feel it coming on, I just back away from my side hustle for a day or two.

So right now both co-exist and I think they benefit each other because some of the skills are transferable. The only thing I can’t stand about my day job is being glued to the office 9-6 Monday to Friday, in the same office, under the same florescent lights. I’m trying to convince them to let me work where ever I want as long as my work gets done (office, home, starbucks, etc.).

Anyway, great post!

Reply
    Jon Haver says May 5, 2014

    Hey Ryan

    Thanks for the post. I agree with you, If both jobs keep you happy, then balance and make the most of both.

    Cheers
    Jon

    Reply
Richard @ http://www.TechToucan.com says May 5, 2014

I’ve long seen my job as the safe/conservative way to pay my bills while providing “investment” funds for my online activities. This has eliminated the pressure of *having* to make your sites a success – thus making them more enjoyable to work on. Furthermore, by living entirely on my paid salary (infact, just a % of it) I’m able to reinvest my online profits to keep growing venture.

So far it’s worked well – but I have to admit I’m getting to the point where I’m considering quitting the day job to go full time online.

Reply
    Jon Haver says May 5, 2014

    Hey Richard

    Thanks for the post and reinvesting in your online business will definitely pay off. Who knows you might be faced with that decision sooner then you think.

    Cheers
    Jon

    Reply
Doug says May 8, 2014

Hey Jon, Excellent points. Your efficiency is nothing short of remarkable!

So, I was not familiar with the whale disaster. WOW.

Thanks for enlightening me. I just watched the whole video with a cringed look on my face. There is no way that was going to turn out well.

Reply
    Jon Haver says May 9, 2014

    Hey Doug,

    Thank you, I am glad you found my post beneficial.

    Cheers

    Jon

    Reply
Steve says May 9, 2014

Jon,
This is a great post. I think that for most of us, when we start out we are hoping to leave that job and work for ourselves full time. That seems to be a general goal and mission for a lot of people working online. The thought of paying health insurance and not having a guaranteed income is a scary thing. It makes me thankful to have a full time career and allows me to work when necessary and as much as I currently feel like working. I am enjoying the journey so to speak and eventually believe I will be able to make it on my own. When will that be? Who knows, I am not in any hurry to leave my current job and it’s security.

I think that the biggest motivating factor with starting an online business for myself was that there is a direct correlation between the amount of money I earn and the time I invest. In my career, I make the same amount regardless of the effort (to an extent) that I put in. When working online the sky is the limit. Want to earn more? Work hard, prioritize and earn it.

I always get an extra bit of motivation once I read that someone has cut the cords and become a full time online marketer as that is truly an accomplishment. Out of all the blogs that I follow in this niche I would have to say that you are probably one of the closest to achieving that goal. Keep up the great work.

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Jon Haver says May 9, 2014

Hi Steve,

You are absolutely correct, there are a lot of questions that we ask ourselves when we begin an online venture.

Cheers

Jon

Reply
Rafael Garcia says May 12, 2014

Hi John,

Great post. You really nailed it, exactly what I think. I do like my day job too and want an online business. But want to do both. I’m a system analyst and it has help me get start faster and the skill for the online business do help my day job as well. However I’m just getting starting and still consider my self a newbie. My site which is dedicate to newbies only has only to post that’s how new I’m in this business but hopping to reach where you are at now. Hopefully one day my site will looks just as nice as yours.
Keep doing a great job and inspiration for all of us just starting out.

Rafael

Reply
    Jon Haver says May 13, 2014

    Hey Rafael

    I’m glad I could help.

    I’m sure you will achieve the goals in which you will set yourself. All the best.

    Cheers

    Jon

    Reply
Dominic Wells says May 17, 2014

Haha excellent Jon. Although sometimes I think my online business makes me WORSE at making quick decisions, I seem to over analyze everything.

I do have some great respect for what you’re trying to achieve though. Most people want to build an online business to get out of their job, or simply because they have no job. Maybe your unique approach is what makes you more successful than a lot of people who try to earn money online?

Dom

Reply
    Jon Haver says May 18, 2014

    Hi Dominic

    Thanks for the post.

    Cheers

    Jon

    Reply
Hitesh K says June 26, 2014

Hi Jon, I article is really inspiring. Will surely help most of the bloggers (like me).

Reply
    Jon Haver says July 1, 2014

    Thanks

    Reply
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