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My part time venture

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A growing number of Australian women are taking financial freedom by the horns by launching their own business while holding down a full time job. i love my job 

Sheree Lowe works full time in marketing at a government office, and runs an online store after hours.

She launched the business, which sells beads and jewellery making materials, because many of the websites she had come across were difficult to navigate.

“I have a background in freelancing and digital marketing, so figured I could give it a go to create the kind of online bead shop that I would want to use,” she says.

While it’s early days, the signs are promising, she says.

Deirdre Tshien is another juggling her time between her full-time role as a strategy manager for a retail bank in Sydney, and a chocolate dessert bar she opened nearly 6 months ago, The Choc Pot. She works a massive 95 hours a week.

Tshien is exploring franchising opportunities, expanding her product range and also opening up more shopfronts, but will only make the leap out of paid employment when the business builds to a size where she doesn’t need to rely on her corporate role.

These women are among a growing number working full-time while building a business on the side.

While it’s extremely challenging to juggle a job and then come home to work on your business, the promise of one day being able to quit their job and be self-employed drives many.

Statistics from BigCommerce set the scene. It analysed 1788 online stores, and found that about half of all activity was taking place between 5pm and 9pm, with a surprisingly large amount of activity occurring after midnight.

At 1am, more than a third of BigCommerce retailers sampled were still working, and at 3am, there were still 335 out of the 1788 retailers actively working on their stores.

Tshien says the key to surviving the juggle is to get some sleep and eat properly.

“It’s exhausting trying to balance it all, and not at all fair to the corporation or your own business if you’re tired and can’t compartmentalise between corporate work time and your own business work time,” she says.

When I’m at work, I focus on work as much as possible, except for the off phone call or email that can’t be avoided. It’s also really important to stay healthy as the business depends on your to be both physically and mentally fit to run it.”

Louise Glendon knows how hard the juggle can be. She quit a job with the RAAF in Adelaide a little over a year ago after running her Boudoir Photography business on the side.

“In order to juggle between my full-time job and the business, I would only schedule clients on the days I didn’t work, and then would often work until midnight editing images, or would get up extra early to package orders and email clients before work. If required, I would use my lunch breaks to return calls or emails whilst sitting in my car in the office car park.”

She took two months long service leave to run her business as a trial and discovered she earned significantly more than her usual wage, and was much happier and relaxed.

“Ultimately, my business was never going to expand when I was playing in safe mode.”


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