Can You Launch a Successful Business While Working Full Time? (2024)

Can You Launch a Successful Business While Working Full Time? (2024)

Do you have a business you’ve been growing on the side? Are you wondering how to scale your brand so you can leave behind your 9-to-5 job? Shanae Jones did just that, scaling her dream business without quitting her day job. 

Shanae founded Flyest, a hip hop–inspired tea company focused on music and herbal properties—all while she was still working full time. She launched her brand in November 2016, growing the business slowly until she left her job almost four years later. 

From the time she launched to her last day at her job, Shanae never stopped investing in her own education or growing her business. Ahead, learn how you can follow Shanae’s path and transition to full-time entrepreneurship.

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5 steps to transition from side hustler to full-time founder

If you’re looking to set yourself up to run your business full time and leave your day job, Shanae’s tips can get you there. Here are the five steps she took to become a full-time entrepreneur. 

1. Tell everyone your plan 

Make it clear you’re serious and start spreading the word about your business idea. The people around Shanae could see both her passion and how motivated she was to bring her ideas to life. This honesty made it easier when it came time to ask friends and family to help fund her venture. They knew she was dedicated, and they wanted to help. 

Shanae would also never lie to her co-workers or employer about her side-hustle. Instead, she made her commitment to her new business crystal clear, setting boundaries, such as telling co-workers,“I’m going to work on my business. I can’t do happy hour.”

This made it easier to leave her job behind. When you’re honest with your co-workers, they’ll see how passionate you are about your craft, and be more likely to uplift and support you.

2. Apply to an accelerator program 

Once Shanae had the support of the people around her, she felt ready to launch. She turned to an accelerator program to learn the basics of getting a business going.

Working a 9-to-5 job, Shanae didn’t have the luxury of time, so she chose a program that focused on going from an idea to a minimum viable product in six days. “I learned how to start an LLC, and the minute details you need to know, because when you’re starting a business, all you can think about is the end product or success,” Shanae says.

3. Conduct research

After learning more about running a business, Shanae set out to learn about her niche through an herbal apprenticeship. “I didn’t let my lack of knowledge hold me back,” she says. “I just went after all the info I could find.” 

This apprenticeship allowed Shanae to build a reputable brand backed by research. It also gave her the skills to educate her own community. “I wanted my brand to have authority and be backed by knowledge. This expertise gave me that confidence to keep going,” she says. 

The apprenticeship also introduced her to small businesses owners who eventually would help her build out a local supply chain. Shanae still uses the knowledge from her course to connect to her online community and suppliers within her area. 

4. Manage your time efficiently 

Working your full-time job while starting your business means you don’t have a ton of time on your hands. That’s why it’s important to find a productivity method that works best for you. Shanae used the Pomodoro Technique to stay on track. She also recommends creating time blocks to get more tasks done at once. 

As a full-time employee and part-time entrepreneur, it’s vital to use your time wisely. This maximization allows you to optimize each hour of your time for success, so you can make that pivot to a full-time founder sooner.

a bag of breathe tea, surrounded by marshmallows, asthma devices, blue triangles, and actual tea leaves.
Shanae used her time wisely by outsourcing packaging design to an agency to help bring her vision to life. Flyest

5. Get comfortable on camera 

Talking about your business is going to help it succeed faster. The sooner you can get comfortable talking about your brand on camera, the quicker you’ll reach new customers. 

One way to do this is to share more about your business and why it’s so important to you. Be authentic online and you’ll be able to grow a community that’s large enough to leave your day job behind. 

Another approach Shanae uses is sharing content she’s proud of, like showcasing some of the work that goes on behind the scenes. “I started filming myself at the warehouse and used it as B-roll,” she says. 

Shanae has grown a following of over 70,000 across social platforms by sharing her personality and passion online. 

Remember: Everyone’s timing is different. But if you share honest updates about your business and conduct ample research, you’ll feel ready to make the leap and go all in with your brand.

To learn more about how Shanae was able to balance her commitments and build out a supply chain, tune into the full Shopify Masters episode.

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