How To Avoid Getting Fired When Starting A Side Business
Many employers have difficulties accepting the reality that an employee could be running a side business; especially when the side business conflicts with the company’s interests. The thought of a divided attention or a possible future competition gets them worried, that they always include intimidating clauses in the contracts the employees’ sign before fully joining the company’s workforce.
Starting your own business while still working for a company has to be carried out with extreme caution. With the risk of getting fired or a possible lawsuit, you have to ensure your side business comes across to your employers as an irrelevant and non-threatening entity. They need to perceive your efforts to make more money on the side as “trying to earn a little something extra”, and they need to know that no matter what you’re doing, it is in no way related to any of the company’s products or services, or violating any part of your employment contract.
If you’re thinking of setting up a business to either compliment your current income, or for a future prospective large establishment of your own, there are several things you need to pay attention to.
Here’s How To Avoid Getting Fired When Starting A Side Business:
1). Find Out If Your Company Allows It:
Before you decide what side business to start, first find out what your company’s policy says. Does your company prohibit employees from starting a side business? Do they allow it? If they do, to what extent?
Finding out if your company allows employees to start side businesses is crucial to you not getting fired. They may have mentioned it in the interview, at the weekly office meetings, or in the company’s guidelines.
Before you start taking measures to get yourself fired, find out how your company would react if they knew about your side business. This will help you determine what steps to take next or not.
2). Read And Understand Your Employment Contract:
Go through every single line of your employment contract before you start investing in that side business. The contract would usually state any terms or clauses concerning operating a side business and to what degree, while working with the company.
Starting a business without reading the terms of your current employment can lead to both a forced forfeiture of your investment and the realisation of a self-inflicted unemployed status.
Go through the agreement you have with the company thoroughly. Anything you have doubts about should be looked over by an experienced attorney. Going through your employment contract and non-disclosure agreement with an attorney will help you avoid steps or ventures that’d involve you breaching your employment contract with your company.
3). Don’t Use The Company’s Time To Work On Your Side Business:
While some companies will frown at the idea of you starting a side business, many others will have no problems with it, as long as it doesn’t conflict with their company’s products or services. What all companies would never tolerate, is you using their time to run your side business; like talking to a client while at work, heading out for a meeting during the day, working on a client’s project during the office hours, and several other non-conforming activities.
Doing these things at your employers time will get you fired! Period.
Let company time be company time, and let your side business time occur at any other period, or during the same time, without you physically there.
4). Don’t Work On Another Version Of Your Current Company:
Most employee contracts always carry a non-compete clause. This section is always explicitly stated, and will get you sued or fired!
Working on a side business that offers the same services as your company is wrong and highly unethical. A resulting job loss from this situation will not only leave you without the income you already earn from the job, but will slam an industry-wide negative reputation to your name.
Fewer people would be inclined to hire you, knowing you could someday go behind their backs and create a (better) competing business.
If you want to save your job, while trying to build a side business that could someday become a large company, ensure what you’re doing isn’t another version of your current company.
5). Don’t Use The Company’s Assets To Grow Your Side Business:
Just like you shouldn’t be using your company’s time to build your business, you must totally avoid using your company’s assets to grow your side business.
Using the office printer, internet subscription, computer, vehicle, and other resources to grow your side business would get you into a fix with your employers, and they’d never tolerate that. It gets even worse when the company is experiencing problems meeting their targets, then discover what you’ve been doing with their resources.
The mere knowledge of your activities wouldn’t only get you fired, but would also get you sued if what you’re doing is already turning in high profits.
6). Let Some Of Your Superiors Know About Your Plans:
Building a side business in secrecy can lead to a dent of trust in your relationship with your employers when they eventually find out.
As you start up a side business, take some time out to ask your bosses for advice. Let them know what you’re doing and how it’s success would show their mentorship prowess.
By being open about your business activities, especially when they’re not directly conflicting with the company’s products and services, one of your superiors could support you, ensure your success, and keep you in good terms with the company, even after you’ve long resigned.
7). Don’t Attempt To Steal Some Of Your Co-Workers For Your Business:
Be careful about involving some of your co-workers in your side business. Most employee contracts always prohibit employees from leaving together to form a competing business. Even more, most contracts prohibit an ex-employee from stealing employees from the previous company to start their own businesses.
Paying attention to these facts will keep you safe at your workplace while you run a side business.
Starting a business while you’re an employee can have both positive and negative effects. But acting according to a professional conduct in line with both your contract, reputation, and future engagements, would save you a major fall out and law suit from your employers.
What are your thoughts on these 7 ways to avoid getting fired when starting a side business? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
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