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I will be starting a new job in a couple of months. I currently own a company and have a few clients that I'm doing business with to pay the bills until I start my new full time job in July. I started my company after I finished graduate school, and after I was offered the job at my future company (I was offered the position about 8 months before my start date as is not uncommon for graduate students). In other words, I did not hide the company from them when I was offered the job. My question has two parts:

  1. What is a safe way to tell my future company about my current company so that nobody raises any eyebrows and / or thinks my loyalties lie elsewhere? I want to make it clear to them that my new job will be my priority, and that they don't have to worry about me shirking on my duties for my existing company (even if it means selling and / or shelving my company while I'm working for them).
  2. Should I ask them if I can retain ownership of the company to do part-time work on the weekends for my existing clients? If so, how should I phrase it? I want to make it clear that my main and #1 priority will be the new company, but I hate to leave money on the table by giving up this company which is a nice and easy source of income.
  • Why is this being downvoted? – DIMMSum May 17 '17 at 6:43
  • I think it's because your question is too broad, we don't know what you are asking. – sh5164 May 17 '17 at 7:26
  • It should be in your resume. – Pieter B May 17 '17 at 7:27
  • 4
    Is your business in the same field as your future company? Is it possible that there would be client overlap between the companies or that your business could conflict with the company's? If you are being hired as a web developer, a business that creates websites would likely be a conflict of interest. However, a business which has you DJing weddings on the weekend will likely not be an issue. – David K May 17 '17 at 13:20
3

I have been in this situation several times as I have been running my own company sense 2012 and I have had a few part time and full time jobs as well during this time. Every time I have had an interview I have asked 2 basic questions to see where the potential employers stand.

  1. Is there a conflict of interest with my personal company and the work I am applying for?

    If you are willing to put your company on hold or discontinue it for the company you are applying for you should make that known. Most companies in my experience do not care if you have a side job as long as their company always comes first. Having you own job is much like having a second job in the eyes of an employer. As long as you take care of your employers needs then what you do outside of work is up to you. NOTE: Unless it directly conflicts with the company. Example: You can not have a tech support company and go to work for another tech support company. However if you are going to work for IT in a company that only supports the infrastructure of the company and does not support outside clients then that should not be a problem.

  2. What hours/days am I working and do they change?

    I had a hardware store I worked for who I asked if I could have 2 days during the week off so I can support my clients and I would work through the weekend at the hardware store to make my 40. I did make sure to say this is not a required time frame but just a request if possible. This went well and I had 2 days during the week to support my clients on the side.

Normally this results in 2 kinds of responses.

  1. The employer will ask that you discontinue your work on your personal business and focus on theirs only.

    (I have always been willing to take this option but so far it has not been asked of me)

  2. The employer says you may keep your personal business as long as it does not conflict with the hours you are asked to work (sometimes including changing hours)

Response 2 has been my experience over the last 5 years. So far I have had my personal business through 3 part time jobs and 2 full time jobs without conflict of interest or issues with hours.

Out of all the interviews I have had there has never been a problem with me just mentioning I have my own business. The issue for the potential employer has always been if it would conflict with work for the employers company.

My advice is to not hide your company during an interview and be open with what your plans are for your company and what compromises you will be willing to go through to satisfy the potential employers needs. Don't be afraid to state your needs for your personal business if you are not willing to discontinue it or set it aside. Getting hired because you did not disclose your intent for your own company may be grounds to be fired down the road.

So far for my I have never had any issues with this but results may vary.

2

From my perspective, it's a risky bet you are taking.

You own a company that generate a good source of income but you're also bound to clients and therefore you have to be able to adapt your business to their requests, which also means staying available for phone call or meetings. However with your new job coming soon, this seems to be compromised. You'll have less time to spend in your own business, and then have to take it for your off time which is normally dedicated to relaxation and personal occupations.

However if you feel you can handle both, here's some advice:

  1. Be honest with your new company. Describe what your own company is about and how much time you spend in it. If they're starting to doubt about your availability and your ability to handle your new position, just tell them that your new job is your top priority. Then propose an assessment period (a couple of month for example) where you can bring the proof that you can handle both activities. If by the end they decide that you're not active enough in your new job, you'll have to make some sacrifice with your own company and dedicate more effort to your current job. Otherwise, you can go on doing both.

  2. It might sound obvious but separate clearly both activities. You shouldn't working on your own company business during working hours at your workplace even if you got blank time to fill.

  3. Always find time to relax to keep your working efficiency at the highest level possible. The fact that you use your time off to work on other projects can reduce your performance at your workplace and can affect your personal health. A well-organized schedules is the key here.

1

I would send an e-mail or call your future employer. Just explain that you wanted to give them an update on what you're doing. Tell them a bit about your company, what you do, why you're doing it (to pay the bills for example) and then, most importantly, how you can relate these skills to your future job. For example, if dealing with your current clients improved your customer service skills, throw in a story about how you provided a great customer experience.

While your future employer could take this in a negative light, I doubt they would. It shows that you are proactive and that you are thinking about how to better yourself for this role.

I've been a recruiter for 5 years and have only come across this once. Unfortunately the person didn't bring anything up until their boss found out and it made things a bit difficult until they sorted it out. Had they brought it to myself or their boss in the first place, I'm sure we could have turned it into a very positive situation.

Good luck, hope this helps!

-1

As long as:

  • you're not compromising the level of work you put into your main job
  • you don't have a clause in your contract that explicitly prohibits you from doing any other paid work (this can be limited to the companies/sector of your new work or in general)
  • you can handle your side-work to a manner that is still respectable for those people trusting you with it

If all of these are true, then sure you can go for both and don't really have to disclose anything, after all what you do outside your working hours, if not illegal and/or damaging the company is your call.

  • "after all what you do outside your working hours,if not illegal and/or damaging the company is your call." Depending on the country you are in, this is wrong. In Germany for example, you are supposed to relax in your free time so that you are able to perform during working hours. – FooTheBar May 17 '17 at 7:03
  • Emphasis on "if not illegal " , so yeah if the OP is German then this would indeed be illegal and as such covered in my reply. – Leon May 17 '17 at 7:50
  • What if working on my side gig is what I consider "relaxing"? – Barry Franklin May 17 '17 at 15:15
  • You are missing the important question of whether there might be a conflict of interest. If the business your company is in is similar to the one your employer is in, you have a conflict of interest. If there is any likelihood that a client might have to choose between your company or your employer for any service, you are going to be in trouble. – DJClayworth May 17 '17 at 16:24
  • "What if working on my side gig is what I consider "relaxing"?" Then a judge will tell you that working is not relaxing... – FooTheBar May 22 '17 at 6:57

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