Is it possible?

I have a friend who has a good job with a good company. As we all do, this friend is concerned about being laid off if a reorg happens, but recognizes that it is out of her control. What is in her control is her future, back-up plans, networking, etc., in case the layoff happens.

One option she is considering is becoming a consultant. While there is quite a bit of paperwork involved in setting up her own business, her biggest question is this: can she start setting it up/even begin doing some work, WHILE she is still employed by a company?

In addition, what other advice, pointers, hurdles, etc., would you share with her?

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Susan Cellura is a marketing communications professional with over 20 years of experience. She is a dynamic communications professional and enthusiastic team-builder, with a progressive history of success in designing and implementing communications programs for global organizations. A strategic thinker with the ability to understand the needs of multiple audiences and deliver solutions, Susan is a results-oriented problem-solver with exceptional interpersonal and negotiation abilities. Having worked in a variety of global industries, she has grown business communications in her current position via a strong mixture of strategic resources, including social media.

6 thoughts on “Is it possible?”

  1. sooo cliche, but if you fail to plan, you plan to fail…definitely focus on what is in her control and think about what could happen and her response. i do not think there is any fault in taking steps towards setting up her own business while she is still employed, especially brainstorming what she would look for in a consultant.

  2. She should confirm there is no conflict of interest or code of conduct violations with the current employer before moving forward on her own, even while still gainfully employed.

    Have a business plan drafted; potential client list and resource contacts and documents ready to go.

    After reviewing the conflict issue – if you confirm no conflict in at least getting the groundwork laid, firm established – even if not active immediately – why not have the foundation to launch from if / when needed?

  3. As Amy states, it is very important to find, read and understand the company’s policy about work outside the firm to ensure she does not violate it. However, that said, most companies non-compete/moonlighting policies prohibit “doing paid work” outside your current company.

    That doesn’t mean she couldn’t obtain a business license, purchase a web url/start thinking about creating a website, start gathering/creating portfolio samples, as well as the items noted by others such as putting together potential client lists and networking aggressively in the area she would be considering.

    It may also be a good idea to consult with an attorney at a later point [if she decides to seriously consider going ahead] to have the employee contract with her current company thoroughly reviewed to identify all potential issues BEFORE she starts up a business, particularly if the services she would provide would in any way compete with the employer.

    Finally, if this is something that is under serious consideration, I would suggest she needs to start putting money away into savings or a short-term investment of some kind. Starting a business can be costly and if it will take time to build up a client base, there will need to be a cushion of money to pay the bills in the interim as well as fund that set-up and development. Putting money away in increments while you are working is easier than trying to find money after you get down-sized [I’m speaking from personal experience!].

    There are a lot of behind the scenes things that can be planned or done before actually starting a business and that would not put one in violation of a non-compete clause with a current employer.

  4. I see some good advice and bad advice. Working outside the company is just fine so long as you do not do something that is in competition with the company you are working for. Also, very important, always do the work on your own time (lunch is not your time!), after working hours, use your own computer not the companies, your own paper, software, ink, pens, use nothing that belongs to the company you work for!!! Do not use any ideas whether you have submitted them or someone else has of the company you currently work for! Follow this and you’ll be fine.

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