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Hi Teegee

Congrats on already having steady work from a regular client base! I am a graphic designer, working fulltime Monday – Friday and running my side business on the side. It really works for me as I enjoy being part of a team at my ’employee’ job but also appreciate the different range of projects and client interaction in my own business. It’s certainly do-able, sometimes a bit frustrating at times when you are stretched a bit thin trying to give everything to both jobs, but rewarding too!

In answer to your questions (sorry I have written an essay in response to yours :) )

– Do you trade under your own name, or do you have a business name registered?

I trade under my own name as I like clients to know they are working with just me. It makes it more personal and helps to build my reputation around my name, which is what I want at this stage of my career.

– How do you deal with phone calls and enquiries if you work full time for somebody else?

I am fortunate to work in a very flexible work environment where I put in 40 hours a week, however I decide to work them. I can start late and finish late, start early finish early, or do a longer day one day and a shorter one the next. These flexible workplaces exist so when you are looking for a fulltime job keep that in mind. I can easily take phone calls, check my emails etc. I always make sure I’m making up the time, in fact my employer probably still comes out on top!

– Sort of related to the above – how do you meet clients when you only have the weekend free? Simply meet on the weekend?

I haven’t had to meet clients face to face that much, phone and email is usually enough. I imagine in web development that could be the same? I have met clients on weekends or for weekday early morning coffees. All my clients know that I hold down a weekday job though so they are understanding about my time schedule.

– What do you tell your clients about your business? Do they know you also work full time?

Absolutely, I don’t hide it. In fact I think it’s a positive, it shows a committment and passion for my work that I work fulltime and still want more at the end of the day :) Plus, if you don’t tell them, they’ll start to wonder why you don’t take calls at certain times, and why it takes four days to do a four hour job – you need to disclose your working hours and contact times to efficiently do business with them.

– What about your employer, do you disclose your side business?

Again absolutely, particularly as I have the flexibility to take calls etc during the day, I like to keep everything open and transparent. I think again it’s a positive, it’s shows motivation and investment in my skill base. They know I mainly do it for variety in my work and so in a way it keeps me happier in my fulltime job, plus the new skills and experience I pick up running my own business benefits them in the long run.
I work inhouse and there is no issue of conflicting interests. I have a designer friend who works for a studio and it’s in her contract that she can’t freelance or have her own business in the area. So watch out for that and disclose everything before you commit to anywhere.

– Anything else I haven’t thought of?

Just keep in mind there are only 24 hours in a day; only schedule what you can do and go easy on yourself. Don’t over-promise what you can deliver to clients just because you think it’ll look bad to admit you can’t deliver immediately because you have to somehow fit in an 8 hour work day elsewhere. It’s best to be honest and give yourself the time to handle jobs properly. That’s something I’m still learning :)