Entrepreneur

7 Lessons From Entrepreneurs Who Kept Their Day Jobs While Starting Their Businesses

The insight you gain while working for someone else can mean the difference between a successful entrepreneurial enterprise and one that fizzles.

From employee to CEO: Shara Senderoff of Career Sushi. Source: Stephanie Gonot

Keeping your day job while starting a business has its advantages. Aside from the steady income and free coffee, reliable full-time work helps you flesh out your résumé and portfolio and extend your professional network. Even better, working for someone else gives you a front-row view of the best (and worst) ways to run a company, from managing time and money to handling customers and employees.

We asked some successful entrepreneurs who founded companies while holding down a 9-to-5 to share the lessons they learned.

1. First, prove your concept.

Holding down a day job means having only so many waking hours to devote to your side venture. That’s why validating that your idea will work—and that people will pay for it—should be priority No. 1, says Shara Senderoff, co-founder and CEO of Career Sushi, an online marketplace that connects young professionals with employers. 

Senderoff was fortunate that her former employer, a Hollywood TV and film production company, agreed in 2011 to fund

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