How to drive innovation in your startup if you have a day job?

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

What if I told you that having a day job can actually help you drive innovation?

While the thought of quitting your full-time role to work on your side hustle may sound appealing, it may not be financially realistic — and I’m here to let you know that having a day job helps fuel innovation.

Here’s why:

There isn’t one recipe for startup success, but most entrepreneurs will tell you that it includes a mix of drive, ambition, self-sacrifice, passion, and time-management skills.

When you have a 95, it means that your time is limited — making you an amazing time manager. And after working 8 hours per day, I can guarantee you’re passionate about your startup if you can come home after work and continue to grind — and venture capitalists/potential funders can see that too.

From a profitability perspective, who doesn’t want extra funds to launch their startup?

By keeping your job, you’re continuing to do yourself a favor, and provide yourself with extra cash flow.

You’ll initially have the funds to innovate, and with lower stakes (at worst, you’ll continue working your 9–5 and create a new idea if your first one fails).

A steady paycheck will also allow you to bootstrap your side hustle.

However, the benefits of working a day job don’t just extend to finances — it’s also a great sanity check to surround yourself with others who are experts in the same areas that your startup will eventually require: human resources, business development, marketing, sales and project management.

If you’re able to observe your job’s day-to-day operations, you’ll have a much better idea of how to market and sell your product when you’re ready to launch.

When you have a day job, it means that time is limited and precious.

It may be confusing to know what areas you should focus on first — it may feel like there are a million items on your to-do list.

If you only have weekends and post-work hours available, you should leverage your time to focus on the one area that matters most: your idea and your innovation.

First, focus on developing your idea — and solidifying that idea through trial and error.

Once your idea is robust, you’ll want to protect your idea through patents, in order to mitigate risks of being blocked out by competitors. Your idea is the crux of your startup’s success — and with limited time, it should be your main area of focus.

With a patent, you can confidently go to investors with an asset in-hand, and pitch. However, it’s impossible to have patent protection without an idea.

Therefore, your journey should focus on: idea, patent, then funding/other experiments.

After securing your innovation and idea, you’ll be on the road to startup success with tangible assets to add to your balance sheet.

And then you can confidently leave your day job to focus on bringing your idea to market.

But, don’t forget to thank your day job for helping to fuel your innovation!

Visit our Learning Hub to learn more about how intellectual properties can contribute to your startup’s success.

CEO of KISSPatent, providing strategic patent protection for tech startups