We recently spoke with Ryan Panchoo, CEO of Borough 22, a vegan and gluten free doughnut business. Together we discussed his journey from when he first started his business as a side hustle, to becoming a full-time business owner.
Are you a founder of a startup working part-time? Are you wondering whether to go full-time? Read Ryan’s tips and tricks, from someone who has gone through the process.
Should I start my business part-time alongside a job or dive right in?
It can be very tempting to jump in the deep end, quit your job and start your new business full-time. However, Ryan found many benefits of starting Borough 22 part-time and advises people to think about that option.
One of the perks of starting part-time is having the time to look at your market and figure out how you will grow your business.
“[When you’re part-time] you can research, you can see what other people have done, you can see how they built their business, how they scaled up – and that’s the way I did it. I looked at who was in the marketplace, and you can just put your own twist on it.”
When you’re part-time, and not financially dependent on your startup, there’s also the chance to try out different things to see what works best for you and your business.
“Doing it part time, you get to test the waters, rather than jumping in and having to do everything as and when it comes. I will always be an advocate for part-time to test the waters out, and you get to throw different things at it. You’ve got an income coming in as well, so you can use some of that to help build your business up.”
Ryan also believes that, by starting part-time, you can really focus on the important job: figuring out why exactly you want to start your business.
“It forces you as well to think about your why. It’s like, well I’m working, I’m in a job, I’m getting income, OK I may not be happy, but I really want to do this. And it’s that why that’s going to drive your business long into the future – what’s going to get you out of bed every single day.”
Making the jump to a full-time entrepreneur
OK, so if it’s best to start your business part-time, when’s best to take the jump to a full-time entrepreneur?
Ryan, like many side hustlers, never thought he would get to a stage where he could take his business full-time. Thankfully, in a strange twist of fate, Ryan had the opportunity presented to him when he got made redundant from his part-time job.
But, how did he feel about being pushed to take his business full-time, and how did he prepare to do this, with no job to fall back on?
“It was nerve-wracking, but at the same time it was liberating.
“It’s like when you’re riding a bike: the first push is always the hardest, but once you get two or three under your belt, you’re flying.”
In preparation to going full-time, Ryan also ensured that he had saved enough to survive financially for at least six months, assuming no income from his business. This relieved a lot of stress whilst the business transitioned and grew, particularly in the unsteady, early stages of any startup.
“I never really thought I would get to a stage where I could quit. But what I was doing subconsciously was just stacking it up.”
Avoiding burnout when you’re running a side hustle
Learning how to best spend the time allocated to his side hustle, while simultaneously attempting to avoid burnout, was a learning process for Ryan.
“I used to do everything on that one day I had off, because that’s the day I have set aside for this job, so that’s the day I’m going to do everything – and it can’t work like that, you’ll absolutely burn out.”
He soon learned that he had to take more time and effort to schedule his time, being more strategic, and spreading the time he had dedicated to his business over the week.
Particularly for his business, trying to bake and sell his doughnuts, whilst also completing all the behind the scenes work such as invoicing – it wasn’t plausible to complete it all in just one day and not experience burnout.
Ryan also believes it’s essential to make sure you take regular, allocated time off.
“Try to programme in some time for yourself, whether that is spending half an hour on FIFA or setting aside some time to watch a Match of the Day or getting out and seeing an osteopath: just some time for yourself to enjoy the fruits of your labour.”
Knowing when to delegate your tasks
From an outsider perspective, owning a business is relatively straightforward. You make the product, sell it and keep the profit. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
“I certainly was naive about it. You think: I make this great product, I wanna sell it, and that’s all I’m gonna do. That’s probably only 30% of your time, the rest of your time is spent doing sales, marketing, on social media, doing your accounts.”
Therefore, allocating your tasks is really important so that you can focus your limited time and resources on the important tasks, the stuff only you can do. Ryan also suggests outsourcing roles that you do not enjoy or you do not believe you are good at.
“All the jobs that you hate doing; look and see if there’s a tool that’s viable, that’s affordable, that you can use to take that off your hands. Because then you’re not robbing yourself of the joy of working for yourself”.
To hear more from Ryan about his experience of making the leap from part-time side hustle to full-time entrepreneur, make sure you watch the entire intervew on The Pitch YouTube account.