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Business with pleasure: Starting a sideline company

Even if you’re happy in your current job, you may have dreamed about launching a new business on the side. Perhaps you have a hobby that’s become a passion that consumes you during the workday. Or maybe someone has asked you if you’ve ever considered making money off something you do well in your off-hours.

Many New Jersey professionals have found ways to make a sideline business work. In November 2010 an anesthesiologist in Hoboken with more than 25 years of experience in medicine decided to open a hair salon. He met a stylist who wanted to open her own business, and he decided to invest in it. Although that partnership fell through, it put the doctor on the path to starting his own salon. After working with designers and hiring stylists, he opened the business and it found success. It was one of five finalists for a Salon Design of the Year award in 2011.

“The beauty industry has enabled me to add something totally outside the box to my life experience,” says the doctor, who is the first to admit that he relies on two senior stylists for day-to-day management of the salon. In doing so he’s practicing an important element of running a side business: He’s not just keeping his day job; he’s keeping it separate from his new venture.

Keeping your work lives separate ensures continued success in your primary occupation. Although the second business is bound to produce distractions, they shouldn’t leak into your day job because they could negatively affect your work — something the anesthesiologist can’t take a chance on. Keeping your businesses truly separate may mean you have to schedule meetings for the sideline in the off-hours, but it’s better than having these meetings interrupt your work.

That said, if you do decide to break off and devote all your time to the new business, you may be able to court the one you’re leaving as a new client. If your contract allows it, it can be a great way to form partnerships with colleagues with whom you already have mutual respect and trust.

Of course, starting a sideline business isn’t easy, and mistakes are almost inevitable. This is where a business law professional can help by advising you on your business plan, financing and other details so can you avoid as many distracting pitfalls as possible.

Source: American Medical News, “N.J. anesthesiologist makes hairpin turn and opens beauty salon,” Victoria Stagg Elliot, April 23, 2012

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