I was chatting with a client recently about a dilemma she had.
She was starting to put the wheels in motion for a potential career change, but felt guilty about not sharing her plans with her boss whom she has a great relationship with.
She was particularly worried about her boss finding out about her new business by accident, or through someone else rather than her.
So we hatched a plan to help her manage this tricky transition and stay on good terms.
And when the time came to have 'the chat', her boss was actually incredibly supportive and could fully see how the new skills that my client was learning could be of benefit to her current role.
So here are my top tips for keeping your boss happy when you are starting a side business:
Check your contract, just to make sure that you are in fact allowed to take on work outside of your current job, and whether there are any clauses about the type of work or clients you can have.
Just remember that there is a lot of prep work needed when setting up a business e.g doing a course or re-training if required, building your website, networking, marketing etc, so until you're actually earning money then it's technically just a hobby and you won't need to legally disclose it to your boss if you don't want to.
However, when you are ready to start taking on clients and getting paid, then it's probably best to get ahead of the curve and have 'the chat'. You can keep it low key, say it's a side project for now and emphasise that you are learning lots of new skills which will be of benefit to your current job. Your employer just needs to know that you are still fully committed to him/her, and don't need to know every little detail about your future business plans.
It might take longer than you expect to build up a client base and start replacing your salary, so it's always worth keeping your boss and colleagues happy in the meantime. Just keep doing your job well, don't 'blur the lines' by talking about your business when you're at work, and you should be absolutely fine.
Are you in a similar situation? Or have been through this in the past? What questions do you have? What tips can you share? Share your thoughts in the comments below!