Burning the candle at both endsPark Ji-won is a Seoul-based textile and fashion designer who has become a notable success in the local fashion industry. Her designs hang at Barney’s of New York next to Prada and Louis Vuitton. To the casual observer, she has a dream job.
Yet Ms. Park recently took on a second ― as a restaurateur.
“Originally I began with the hope of promoting my designs as well as pursuing one of my old dreams in food,” Ms. Park said. “The result has been a success so far.”
Ms. Park is not alone. An Internet networking club hosted by the Web portal Daum, cafe.daum.net/ihave2jobs, claims 13,000 members. Many of the members are already full-time employees, who log in to the site to find ideas for their side businesses.
Most of the members of the online networking club are younger (in their 20s or 30s) full-time office workers who run Internet-based businesses in their spare time. Opening a bar or restaurant is a popular side business for older generations, as well. The members of the community are as diverse as a marketing manager at a software firm who opened a video arcade, a group of financial analysts who run a wine bar and a doctor of oriental medicine who works as a publisher.
In a society where “digging a single well” was considered an ideal virtue, the phenomenon of working more than one job has been a cultural eye-opener. For many salaried office workers it has also quelled their fears about starting a new business.
While money is a secondary concern for people like Ms. Park, most Koreans moonlight for the extra income, not the self-fulfillment.
“Many Koreans who experienced the -98] foreign exchange crisis have come to the realization that they cannot depend on their companies forever,” said Jo Won-hyun, a member of the Daum club. Mr. Jo, 32, works full-time in the marketing department of an online newspaper and runs a Web site specializing in distributing live king crabs to seafood restaurants. “We watched as senior employees who worked 15 years for the company get laid off over night during the restructuring. By starting a business while keeping your main job, you have a back-up.”
Jung Jin-young, a 24-year-old Web designer at an Internet firm in Daegu, agrees. “I didn’t want to give up my dream in design, but I am growing anxious about my full-time job,” said Ms. Jung, who is preparing to start an on-line agency that sets up promotional Web sites for companies as many IT firms are cutting staff.
“I have the technical insight and am familiar with the industry,” Ms. Jung said with a degree of confidence. “I don’t need to invest a lot of money. All I need for now is to print some business cards.”
Ms. Jung may be too optimistic. Mr. Jo, the marketer and crab distributor, said it’s extremely challenging to handle both jobs. It means sacrificing weekends and sleep, not to mention family obligations, he says.
“My face has gotten noticeably thinner since I started my side job because I’ve had to stay awake so many nights to take care of my own business and then head off to work in the morning,” Mr. Jo said. “But I do it for my dream. I want to be financially independent so that I’ll be able to spend more time with my family when I get older.”
Before starting a side venture:
1. If you have a business idea, get licensed in the field. If the license is not issued by the government, do your homework to find out if it’s a reputable industry.
2. Collect up-to-date information about your field and build a database.
3. Plan your budget. In the worst-case scenario, you could run out of funding for your own endeavor while losing your main job because you’re too focused on your own business.
4. Think about promotion strategies if you’re planning to work from home or start a business that doesn’t require a storefront. Get used to networking in cyber space and offline.
5. Take care of your health. Don’t spend your off-work hours drinking. Without a healthy body, you won’t last more than a year.
6. Ask for support, or at least approval, from your family. You’ll spend less time with your family once you start your second job. It’s also a good idea to ask your family members to help with your new business.
7. Take advantage of the Internet; it can be one of the most important tools for your success.
8. Learn how to economize your time. Control your minutes, even your seconds. Time management is vital for people who have two jobs.
9. Participate in a discussion with people who are already in the industry. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself. Get used to communicating with strangers.
10. Face the fact that your second job may not last forever. Always think ahead and plan. And get started ― it’s now or never.
Source: New Business
by Park Soo-mee
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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