Launching a startup while you're working

Preparing for launch is one of the busiest times in any startup's journey. Getting everything organised to open or go live takes huge organisation in order to get perfect - and if you're in employment, this becomes even more of a balancing act.

Kirstyene Hughes is the founder of Izzie & Imani, an online children's clothing shop focussed on high-quality, on-trend styles. They launch in Spring 2016 and are currently preparing for this. We asked Kirstyene a few questions about launching a startup when you're working.

Do you work full or part-time, and is your day job relevant to your startup?

I work full time as a software trainer. I enjoy my job but it has absolutely no similarities to my business. I previously worked for a children’s boutiqu,e and that is where my interest for children’s fashion first sparked.

How long has it taken you to prepare for your launch?

My business partner and I registered the business in January 2015 and since then we have been getting everything in order for the business. When we finally set a launch date we gave ourselves just under a year to prepare. We launch in March 2016.

How have you managed your time so far?

As I work eight hours a day, my spare time is used to focus on the business - that means mornings, evenings and weekends. Every spare moment I have is used to work on the business. One thing I realised quite quickly that, along with the intense work, it is vital to include some playtime and time for one’s self. So the gym and going to the cinema are my treats.


How will you manage your time after the launch? Do you think it will be much different?

After the launch I don’t believe the amount of hours I invest in my business will change much and if it does it will be to invest more time, although the tasks will be a little different - moving from analysing data and sales, to fulfilling orders. Our focus will very much be on building and improving our brand, and that’s when the real work begins.

Does you employer know about your business, and are they supportive?

My manager and colleagues are aware of my business. They show great interest and are quite supportive, from offering help with design to putting their children forward for our photoshoots.

What's been your biggest challenge so far?

Our biggest challenge was probably putting together our business plan. It was the not-so-exciting part of the business, but an essential necessity. Branding was also a challenging aspect, and getting to the final product was a journey filled with lots and back and forth.

Have there been positives to being in employment whilst planning to start up?

Although the ultimate goal is to at some point in the near future work full time on my business, working full time is a blessing as it allows me to pump money into my business and also have the capital to invest before we were approved with funding. I also get feedback from colleagues and along the way it has helped me to meet people that have also helped a little with the business.


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