Going part time at work to pursue self employment

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When anybody thinks of part time at work they immediately think this is only reserved for child care. Unfortunately this is the society we are a part of. For those working on side projects or wanting to delve into the world of self employed then going part time offers the safety net you may be looking for.I’ve personally done this since January and it’s given me the platform to not only work on my own projects, but also take on further freelancing gigs.

There are two ways you can do this. You can either find a new role which caters for part time/flexible hours or you can approach your management team and ask the question. Remember to be well prepared with why you want to go part time.

If you are looking for a new part role then this may be a little more challenging. The majority of career based roles unfortunately seem to be full time. Companies haven’t yet fully embraced the shift in work/life attitudes and are still peddling full time roles to the masses.

My personal approach was to go for a job I didn’t want but with a company I’d like to work for. I wasn’t right for the role but I was right for the company so they made a role for me. They were apprehensive as this was a big investment on top of the actual hire they required. My comments? ‘Why not hire me part time?’ It sounds pretty simple, and perhaps I was lucky but if you’re confident in your skills set and can offer value to that organisation then I’m sure it will work for you too.

Approaching your current employer is an easier task; especially if you are well liked and respected. Hell if you’re disliked and not respected it may be pretty straightforward too! Jokes aside this can work particularly well. Saying you want to work on a passion project is likely to get a better reaction than wanting to freelance so perhaps tread carefully here.

Employers have a very strange viewpoint that if you’re not working for them or thinking of them 24/7 then you can’t do your job. Of course this is ridiculous but it’s a perception throughout business.

Employers however love someone with a passion. Telling them you want to pursue your passion project of building yurts or painting is much more likely to be greeted with a positive reaction than wanting to delve into the world of freelance. I’m not saying be dishonest here but pitch it right.

Make sure you’re prepared for questions on your job and accountability. Furthermore, expect and allow for some thinking time. If you had a child they’d expect you to ask for part time hours; without a child they immediately think the worst so will need some time to digest!

Think of them first. Agree to their timescales and transition periods. Go above and beyond the call of duty.

Why part time?

Part time is a wonderful, wonderful thing. As humans we love a safety net and part time ultimately provides this. It also gives you a chance to try before you buy. For some people self employment is their calling; for others they will start but when they begin find it is not right for them. Whether that’s down to the solitude, lack of structure or the unpredictability of it all I think it is worth a good go if you have the idea.

Financially too, part time offers a % of your current salary while still giving you a % of your time back. Time is an expensive commodity and having that as well as some income is a nice transition step.

Part time also means less initial savings. The general consensus is that anybody looking to delve into the world of self employment will need a cushion of a years income (unless they have clients queuing or a revenue stream). This just isn’t the case for part time work. Sure you will have a potentially short/medium term drop however you can cut your cloth accordingly to cater for this.

There’s a famous quote which states: ‘You never know unless you try’, which is completely true. The excuse I hear about proposing part time is ‘My boss will never go for it’. Why not give it a try? What’s the worst that could happen…..they may say yes!

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