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Grow Your Business After Hours: 7 Reflections from SxSW

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Guest post by Shana Glickfield, regular guest contributor to Women Grow Business and Founder of DC Concierge. Effective just recently, Shana’s company directs the online community for NextGenWeb, the blog of USTelecom (a broadband association). And she guides both locals and tourists around Washington, DC through her blog, DCConcierge.com. Shana can be reached at www.twitter.com/dcconcierge.

Starting a business is challenging in itself…
But many people have the additional stress of doing so in their spare time while they maintain their regular jobs. South by Southwest Interactive 2009 sought to help the many attendees in this delicate position by presenting a panel of experts who have successfully navigated entrepreneurship in their spare time.

The panel, called “Building a Web Business After Hours,” featured:

  • Gretchen Heber: CEO/Co-founder, NaturallyCurly.com
  • Jeremy Bencken: Co-founder, Buzzstream
  • Aruni Gunasegaram: Founder/CEO, Babble Soft LLC
  • David Altounian: Founder / COO, iTaggit.com
  • Elisa Camahort Page: Co-founder and COO, BlogHer Inc
  • The conversation ranged from the emotional to the practical, both of which seem to be equally important to address.

    The key takeaways from the panel are below:

    1) Consider working with a partner.
    Find somebody who shares your vision and passion, and who has complimentary, but not overlapping, skills.

    2) Protect your intellectual property from your day job.
    Do this no matter what level of permission you have to use company resources.
    Don’t do ANYTHING on your work computer/phone/ etc to completely avoid ownership debates.

    3) Growing your business can take several years, so be patient.
    Don’t beat yourself up if things move slowly.

    4) Set expectations with family and friends.
    So they understand why you are less available and, ideally, so they can be supportive.

    5) Imagine the worst that can happen if you fail.
    Truly play the scenario out in your mind in order to really let go and move forward.

    6) Conserve cash to prepare for transitioning your side project to full time.
    Also, use caution when raising funds externally.

    7) The hours between 8pm to midnight are a beautiful thing.
    Take advantage! And don’t be shy in asking for help.

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