Website Income

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

I am a 36 year old husband, father of 3, 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 AND so I can spend time outside skiing and biking with my family.
Jon Gillham, Online Entrepreneur

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