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Focus: Starting a part-time business

Part of living the American Dream is to own your own business. But then reality kicks in and the scramble for money to start this business begins.

 Carlee McCullough

Part of living the American Dream is to own your own business. But then reality kicks in and the scramble for money to start this business begins. While some people can jump in with both feet and devote all of their time to a new business, there are others that have responsibilities and bills that prevent them from taking the risk on 100 percent.

Whatever your situation may be, do not let fear of the unknown prevent you from at least trying to fulfill your dream of owning a business. Many entrepreneurs have started ventures part time while still employed. They simply did not have the luxury of committing to the venture full time from the beginning.

The part-time focus provided the aspiring entrepreneur an opportunity to generate additional income to satisfy existing responsibilities and still venture out to try something new.

When pursuing a business opportunity part time, there are a few potential pitfalls to consider:

Family time

Although your time commitment may be part time, the time away from family could be significant. It is always wise to seek family support prior to pursuing the business opportunity. Not only do you want their emotional support and understanding, in some situations you may need their labor contribution. So, communication goes along way when starting up a new business.

Slower growth

If you commit to the business part time, then your growth will inevitably be slower than if you had committed full time. You will have less time to market and build a clientele. Don’t expect the profits to reflect a full-time work commitment. Be realistic with your expectations, goals and planning.  

Burn out

Working a full time job can be challenging. And when you add the stress and time commitment of a business, well, it can be exhausting and even overwhelming.

Current employer

Make sure that your business does not present a conflict of interest with your current employer. Do not use your employer’s resources – such as phone, copier, computer and/or email – to start your own business.

Also, be mindful of the time commitment to your current employer. Get a full understanding of just how much money you need to generate with your new business venture to position yourself to walk away from your full-time job. Through your business plan and actual financials, you should be able to tell where you are in the process and when it is time to commit to your venture full time.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, there are a few businesses that are ideal for part time opportunities. But remember to pursue your passion and it will seem less like a job.

Artisan food purveyor

A growing number of people are conscious of the food they consume. Farmers’ markets are popping up like never before. Opportunities exist in handmade items such as desserts, breads, fruits and vegetables, and jams.

Check with the Health Department for rules and regulations. Then prepare a great product and seek out the local farmers’ markets to start selling. This is a great part-time business because the markets are usually on nights and weekends.


Remember that bakers are not just relegated to bread. There has been an explosion in the cupcake and dessert market. Competition is fierce. Your product must taste great and have a polished and professional appearance. We want our baked goods to taste like Momma made it, but not look like it.

Start with selling to friends and relatives. If they don’t want or like it, the likelihood that anyone else will is low.


Entry into the catering market is not difficult. Begin with marketing to your friends, family and co-workers. Develop a niche such as intimate dinners, which include you preparing the meals in their home.

Remember to include service and treat the clients as if they were in a 5 Star restaurant. Picnic baskets are another niche. The more creative your concept, the better it will be accepted. People want to try and experience something new. Try to provide something that they cannot easily do for themselves.


With a small investment, you can be up and running in the neighborhood planting flowers, trimming trees and cutting lawns and hedges. Remember that this business tends to be seasonal in and probably will not generate a load of income in winter months.

(Contact Carlee McCullough, Esq., at 5308 Cottonwood Road, Suite 1A, Memphis, Tenn. 38118, or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)


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