Keeping your day job while starting up
Combining your new business with full-time work
Comic enthusiast, Dave Cresswell still works full-time but runs a business selling comics online with his brother Steve. While working as a temp for a large IT company in early 2000, Cresswell designed and built the web site for Comic Domain and his employers were so impressed they offered him a full-time job as a Digital Designer.
“I guess it showed them initiative and a drive, as well as the fact that I had spotted a gap in the market and they snapped me up!” said Cresswell. “Since then I have produced sites and presentations for many Blue Chip clients.” Cheap to set up
As an online business, Comic Domain was fairly cheap to set up, with Cresswell estimating that they invested £120 on Domain Name and webspace and £1200 for a top of the range computer, plus stationery and packaging. Each brother also committed £100 of their wages every month to the pot. “On top of that the cost of stock each month, which is sent from a supplier in the US, was about £300 then – that was the hardest part to meet.”
Since then the site has grown and developed with the brothers investing in more sophisticated software that allows them to catalogue and keep track of stock items, as well as installing a Worldpay system to ensure secure credit card transactions.
For a single regular priced comic, the business can make anything from 20p to 50p, while limited editions and collectible items achieve greater margins. Its online shop now turns over £1k per month, with its mail order arm turning over £600. As Cresswell adds, “we’re not Amazon, but we’re not in debt.” Not bad for a part-time business, but again, it took some hard graft to set up.
“Weekends were gone, socialising gone and all spare time and some very late nights were dedicated to getting us out there,” said Cresswell. “But it is paying off and eventually I would like to see Comic Domain develop into a well known chain of shops.”
He is not the only one with dreams. There has never been a better time to invest a year or two in changing your life and pursuing something that really matters to you. Of course it is a steep and often bumpy learning curve, and your caffeine bill might double, but the potential benefits more than make up for it.
So, expect to work extremely hard but be realistic about how many hours you can put in.