Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Become a 'chicken entrepreneur'

Interesting article but true.

No, you won't have to work on a farm or do a funny dance. It just means starting your own business on the side while keeping your day job.

By Jessica Seid, staff writer
July 21 2006: 2:28 PM EDT

NEW YORK ( -- Always dreamed of starting your own business but too chicken to quit your day job?

Don't worry, that's not such a bad thing; in fact, you may already be on the right track to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Over 50 percent of small businesses fail in the first year and 95 percent fail within the first five years, according to the Small Business Association. So it may be wise to hold on to your day job until your side business not only launches, but really takes off.

Although it's tempting to devote yourself full time to building a business, working as an employee for someone else means that you have a steady paycheck to rely on if things don't go as planned, said Michael Masterson, author of "Automatic Wealth for Grads . . . and Anyone Else Just Starting Out."

And if your job happens to be in the same industry where you're planning to launch a business, or if you're just out of school, being a chicken entrepreneur gives you all sorts of advantages you couldn't have if you were on your own. For example, you can use your 9-to-5 work to gain experience, amass contacts and build a network in your field.

"I favor this approach because it allows you to extend your wealth and business experience, while working under a safety net in case things don't work out," Masterson said.

Bryan Sansbury, who has formed a group with members of his family to open several Tossed restaurant franchises in the Houston area, is following this strategy.

Sansbury plans to keep the job he has had for the past 11 years, as a human-resources executive with consulting firm Hewitt Associates. He said the skills and knowledge he continues to gain from his work will help contribute to the new venture.

"Frankly I love my job, and it is very operationally focused," he said. "I could bring some of those talents I use on a day-to-day basis" to the business.

In addition, having a steady income makes him and his team more attractive to lenders and banks associated with the restaurant venture, Sansbury said.

Sansbury said the first Tossed salad shop is slated to open this December.

You can follow these tips to start building your business while you're working for somebody else.

Learn something about small businesses and how they are run. Look for what's not working well at your place of employment and what could be done better.
Make sure the job you have now allows you to get experience and contacts in the field where you're hoping to start a business.
Save as much of your salary as possible to invest in your business.

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