Nine times out of ten the new biz owners that I meet are in the phase that I call…
Launching While Working
In other words, they are launching their dream biz while working full time. This is a smart way to move a new business forward, particularly while you still have the safety net of full time income. However, as with any business decision, you have to make sure the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed. This post discusses the three things you must do to legally cover your tail when Launching While Working.
Review your employment contract. The employment contract is your Launching While Working bible. For example, it may provide details concerning limitations on outside work, no-solicitation and no-compete. If your new business can be considered a competitor of the company you currently work for, you want to closely review the contract’s no-solicitation and no-compete clauses. Basically, a no-compete is your ability to work for or start a competing business after leaving your company. I encourage you to consult an attorney and/or your company’s HR Department to provide a full explanation of your contract. You don’t want any ish to happen after you’ve launched that could have been easily avoided with a simple call.
Do your Launching While Working business on your own time and on your own equipment. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, any personal work done on company time can be considered stealing company time. Second, essentially, any work done using the company’s equipment, can be considered owned by the company. The general, default rule is that the intellectual property associated with any work done by you and within your capacity as an employee is owned by your employer (“work for hire”). This rule generally pertains to work related to your employment duties. Let’s assume that your dream business is completely unrelated to your responsibilities at the job. In this situation, using the company’s equipment can tip the scale in favor of your creations being considered work for hire. Don’t create a gray zone – use your own ish.
Hire paid help. Let’s be honest. It might be overwhelming to manage a full time job while building your dream gig. There will be some emails, calls or other random things that may need to happen during the working day. Hire someone to help you (think, virtual assistant) on an as-needed basis. You need to keep the company time and building dream biz time as separate as possible.
What about lunch time?
If you completely leave the office on your lunch, obviously it’s okay to use your time as you please. But, if you are sitting in that beige cubicle…not so much.
We will dig further into the topic of Launching While Working. In the meantime, do you have a LWW story to share? How did you make it happen?