Switching from full-time to part-time is a tough decision for anyone used to a regular income flow, but a few pointers from local financial planners may help you make the right choices.
Benedict Baluyut, both a certified real estate broker and a registered financial planner from the Registered Financial Planners Institute – Philippines, says that deciding to go part-time is usually a case of wanting some professional and perhaps even personal growth. Sticking to the same routine for years may bore employees needing a dose of excitement in their cubicles, and setting up a business on the side could be a solution to these woes. For some, the decision could also be for lack of promotion opportunities on the corporate ladder.
For his part, Personal Finance Advisers Corporation chairman and CEO Efren Cruz stresses that the need to earn more money and to change careers also lead many down the part-time path.
Another telltale sign that someone may be due for a career shift is that their expenses exceed earnings despite huge efforts to keep costs down. A full-time job, in that case, may not be enough to keep up with the demands of an employee's lifestyle.
There is also the problem of a lack of fulfillment in one's work. "If a person has to drag himself out of bed just to get to work, he may already be getting a new calling," Mr. Cruz said in an e-mail to BusinessWorld.
The switch, however, shouldn't be reckless. For Mr. Cruz, it depends on one's stage in life. "If the person is young, he should take the plunge, but only after much careful thought," he said. "If he's in midlife, he could ask his spouse or a trusted person to run a parallel business first while he is still employed. And if it's a business, prepare a business plan."
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to stick to a strict budget. The biggest mistake a part-timer can commit is having no plan. Setting clear, realistic goals is a crucial part of any undertaking, and running a business part-time is no different.
The same goes for one's budget, whether one's work is full- or part-time. "Spend less than what you earn, and invest the difference," Mr. Cruz said. "Make sure working capital is accounted for in parallel business."
Time management is also an indispensable skill that the prospective part-timer must master before taking the plunge. Taking on another job, in some instances, translates to less time spent on personal commitments. This could be a challenge for anyone who doesn't know how to budget his time wisely.
"A person going [into] this phase must be ready to accept the challenge [of] schedules if he is going to have another job," said Mr. Baluyut in an e-mail to BusinessWorld. "Being flexible is needed in this type of work."
A good support system at home could also do wonders for the part-timer's self-esteem, especially because the new setup could involve a lot of uncertainty. But, those interested to go part-time have a lot to be optimistic about, too, as part-time businesses can lead to full-time successes. "A part-timer may earn more or less [than his full-time income] depending on the effort or work he puts in," said Mr. Baluyut.
Going back down the full-time road, if one decides to change their mind, may be a bit trickier. "It's harder the older a person is and the larger the investment made in the parallel business," said Mr. Cruz.- A.P.G. Valerio
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