Marie Forleo introduction


I'm Marie

You have gifts to share with the world and my job is to help you get them out there.

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I’m really excited this week because it’s … Thanksgiving!!!

For me, that means a lot of downtime with family and friends and … a whole lot of truffled mashed potatoes.

Yes, I have fungi fever.

Now before we get into today’s video, I want to take a moment and thank YOU for reading this today.

Your support means more than you’ll ever know. For that, I’m forever grateful.

Today’s question is a tough one:  it’s about whether or not you should spill the beans about your side business at your full-time job.

In this video, you’ll hear my take on this often sticky subject and learn some guidelines you should follow no matter what.

Since this can be a controversial topic, I’d love to hear your feedback. Specifically, tell me this:

1.  Have you ever had a side business and a full-time job? How did you handle the “keep it a secret” thing?

2.  Are you an employer who’s had employees “sneaking around” on the side growing their own business? What’s your take on this topic?

Bonus points for leaving a video response (watch the video for instructions :)).

In a world where almost everyone is building a personal brand, it’s vital that we think this through and get it right.

Thank you, once again, for tuning in. And to all my US based friends, have a beautiful holiday!


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  1. Absolutely, I’ve had a “side-business” and a real j.o.b.! Only I considered my real j.o.b. my “side” job and my business the real she-bang – even if I spent more time at the “real job.”

    Was it a secret? When I was dreaming it up, it was kinda a secret. But, nope, once I made the decision to do it…it was no secret! I even got jobs, as needed, and straight up told the employer my goals and what I could do for them while I worked on my own time for myself.

    I should probably add that I’ve worked with private business owners (who grew their biz…making millions, so they totally understood…because they’ve been there themselves! And I was 100% there for them in their biz while I was “on the clock.”

    Gosh, that’s been sooooo long ago. This is a great way to reflect on how things evolved for me and give thanks to every person and j.o.b. that I learned soooo much from!

    Happy Thanksgiving Marie! (& all you other kick-ass women!)

    • marie

      Great story Melody and thank you for sharing your story. Happy Thanksgiving to YOU xo

  2. Of course you should keep your side business a secret! If too many people start to find out everyone is going to want a share of the magic your trying to build. Your side business should be kept a secret until your already up and running and looking for some intelligent people to help you run it. Even then you should’nt necessarily come out and say it. I think it’s better to wait until somebody mentions something that has to do with your business. Or only tell one or two reliable people (Better if those people don’t work at your current job.).

    • marie

      thanks for your take on this BJ!

  3. At an office where I used to work, there was a woman who had a side business. Let’s say her name was Tara Turkey, and her business was babysitting. Everyone could hear her answering her office phone throughout the day with the half-whispered greeting “Tara Turkey Babysitting.” Moreover, she SUCKED at her job. She dropped the ball with everything anyone asked her to do. We all laughed at her and her “secret” side business.
    On the other hand, there was a guy there who was, say, a wedding photographer, on the side. He was never secretive about his side biz, but didn’t spend all day obviously tending to it on company time. Instead, he worked hard and covered all his responsibilities. Lots of his co-workers ended up hiring him for their own weddings.
    But I don’t think they ever hired Tara Turkey as a babysitter.

    • marie

      Ah Belgray, I knew you’d have a strong opinion on this one. Thanks for showing us both sides of the coin.

  4. Oo that is a hard question. Never dealt with this myself, but I think it is very dependent on the situation. I would probably only mention my side business if people asked. As for the marketing, it could be relevant to mention your business to your co-workers, but only if it they have a relevant problem that you might be able to solve. It is probably also going to depend a lot on how friendly you are with your boss and co-workers, and how accepting you think they might be of your side business. No matter what, remember to stay true to your brand, represent your brand values and not come off too sales-oriented and desperate.

    • marie

      Right on Carina – especially about your brand values.

  5. I’m a Massage Therapist in NYS, and I now work 100% for myself but I didn’t always. I transitioned into full business ownership as I got busier. Since Massage Therapists are more of “subcontractors” and not employees, we have more free reign. BUT that doesn’t mean we are allowed to poach clients. I worked in NYC as I had my practice in Long Island, so distance took away the competition. Also I NEVER gave out my cards or talked about having my own business to clients at the place I worked. I also gave my ALL while at my job. Honesty goes a long way even when you leave. My old boss called me recently ( 2+ years since I left) and asked if I was looking to pick up work since she was looking for a LMT at her new place. All because honesty, reliability, passion and good work goes a long way!

    I love what you had to say Marie! Thanks for all your wonderful videos. I look forward to your sparkly energy every Tuesday!

    • marie

      Love what you shared Vanessa – especially about giving it your all and honesty going a long way.

  6. However, I would never keep it a deliberate “secret” as such. If the right moment arises, mention it. If people ask, tell them. Keeping your business as a deliberate secret brings a lack of transparency to your brand and business. Lack of transparency ultimately leads you to a non-trustworthy brand, and you won’t be doing your business a favour by not honouring your brand values.

  7. I’ve been there and done that! I also work/worked in IT and my freelance business wasn’t in competition with my employer. That is always a good thing and makes it easier.

    Marie has some great advice about keeping the two worlds separate. If you are doing a good job and getting your job done, then your employer won’t have any room to complain. If they need you and like you, you might find that when you are ready to make the switch that they will work with you…like, going from full-time to part-time so that you can more gradually build up the new business. Or, maybe you can freelance for them as needed after you leave (this has happened to me).

    My advice is to just see how it goes with telling people. It doesn’t have to be a secret you are taking classes and having sessions with people, but I wouldn’t tell the world that your goal is to be out in 6 months. And, I would try to be really sure that the new business is substainable before quitting the current job. It is much harder to work for yourself full-time especially when you are paid by the hour or session (unless your sessions are high dollar). There is a lot of non-working time spent at work that you still get paid for when you are on salary. And working for yourself, you won’t have all the benefits you do now. The flexibility is great but it sometimes is much harder than it looks to bring in the bucks you are used to.

    Just my 2 cents! Good luck and thanks Marie for another great video!

    • marie

      thank YOU Janet for a thoughtful comment, especially about the importance of making sure your business is sustainable before you transition!

  8. Oh man, this is a toughie. My Day Job (photographic equipment sales) knows all about my “side job” of being a wedding/portrait photographer, mostly because I buy all my gear and supplies from them and show them photos from my jobs. I try not to get distracted at the day job by my photography work but sometimes clients need something quickly. The harder part is hiding my day job from my photography clients. For some reason, unless you are a full-time photographer (meaning work no where else) they don’t take you as seriously. I’m soon done with the Day Job (in April, yay!) because my photography is taking off and becoming harder for me to work 80 hour weeks! I think having my photography job has helped me sell equipment and help sales customers because I’m actually using the gear outside of work. It’s still very hard to juggle both though! I’ve tried to negotiate a day job work schedule that is more flexible but in the end it’s one or the other, and the Photography wins!

    • marie

      Awesome work Jenn and CONGRATS on your growing business. We’ll be cheering you on 🙂

  9. Susan

    I’ve always had side projects (once in a while) and a full time job. I was honest with the side project client that I had a full time job, but would ensure quality and timeliness. I focused on what they wanted and that my commitment was delivering a quality end product.

    Most clients didn’t even notice when I answered emails or that I delivered projects at very odd hours of the day. I do these projects because they are the fun creative ones. My corporate job as an art director pays well, but is actually lacking on the creativity.

    Marie, you look super fabulous in that green dress!

    • marie

      Love what you shared Susan. I know that when I work with awesome people, I don’t care when those emails come in as long as the quality is there and they’re on time! Thank you so much on the dress 🙂

  10. I’m right in the middle of this one…

    First things first, you just have to check your employment contract. can’t overstate how important it is to know what legal things you’ve committed to. My contract, like many, require I disclose business activity outside my day job.

    But beyond that, I don’t think secrets get you anywhere. I treat my day job as my #1 client, but I’m excited about my launch and talk about it when asked what I’m

    • marie

      Love it Shelby and yes, honesty for me has always been the best policy too!

  11. I am going through the exact same thing right now. I have another 6 months to work in my full time job before I transition my side business from part-time to full-time. As Marie says, every company is different, and where I am, I would say honesty is the best policy.

    Look at it like this – signing a contract and not honouring it is not the most honourable thing to do. There are commitments to stick to, and the side biz can be developed outside of those commitments. I recently mentioned to my boss that I am thinking of leaving and he requested I give them plenty of notice so they can find a replacement. You can’t argue with that!

    – Razwana

    • marie

      Great work Razwana and yes, def. start following those steps now (writing down your processes/systems) so when it comes time to move on, you’ll leave them in great shape!

  12. I did just this 5 months ago! Transitioned from a day job to being a holistic health counselor and would love to talk to you about this! feel free to email me at [email protected].

    • marie

      Thanks for being so generous Deena 🙂

    • Congratulations on being able to make the transition Deena. It’s so exciting to be able to make it a reality.

  13. I’m right in the middle of this one…

    First things first, you just have to check your employment contract. can’t overstate how important it is to know what legal things you’ve committed to. My contract, like many, require I disclose business activity outside my day job.

    But beyond that, I don’t think secrets get you anywhere. I treat my day job as my #1 client for now, but I’m excited about my launch and talk about it when asked what I’m doing with my free time. But I always consider where I am standing when I start talking so my first customer still feels secure and taken care of. I keep myself focused and keep it real. My intent is to make sure I am handling the transition with such grace that there will be support and new business down the road.

    • marie

      NICE Shelby! Sounds like you’re taking the perfect approach. Good luck with the transition.

  14. In my opinion, the only reason a full time job should be allowed to take any issue with someone working on a side business, would be if 1. it was taking away from your ability to get your work done for them or 2. it was in direct competition with the company and could be taking clients away.

    I work full time in the corporate design world, but I have been doing my own work and running my own “side business” since college. Until I find myself in a “dream position” at my current place of work or can afford to run my business full time, I will always be doing work on the side. However, I don’t talk about it, promote it, or discuss it at work, though it is not a “secret” and I will happily tell people if it comes up.

    I would think that employers would see it as an asset to have a well rounded person who has the drive and skills it takes to run a side business, working for them – it shows creativity, passion, goals, and a yearning to grow and move up to something more. Those that don’t appreciate that aren’t the kind of people I want to be working for anyway.

    • marie

      Well said Micah!

  15. I own a business and do not mind people working on their side business on their own time !!! The thing is I am paying them to do work for me, from 8 to 5 monday through friday, not paying them to do their stuff !! having a business is been able to have people who would be there for you when you need them, if not is like giving money away and the business will never be prosperous

    • marie

      Awesome Olga! It’s great you’re supportive of your employees!

  16. Here is what I think:
    When you start your new business, you want to talk about it to every one. That’s cool, but before you do, cool down and think it twice, then you can decide.

    Un abrazo Marie, and thanks for being there : )

    • marie

      Gracias Nuria! I’ll take hugs in every language 🙂

  17. For most of my career I didn’t talk about the fact that I was freelancing or starting a design business on the side. I was very careful to not do work with anyone that would have been a fitting client for the firm I was at, because that felt wrong. I didn’t do a lot of marketing or networking either, it was really just small random jobs I found. So when I was ready to give it my all, I found contract positions with companies that knew I was clearly looking to work for myself. They were both in industries that weren’t competing for the same business (one manufactured items for off road vehicles and I was their in house designer, another was a membership site for a whole different industry of professionals) so I could be open and honest about the fact that I had other clients and business. I could also market myself!

    At my very last position I made the decision to be totally forthcoming. I was not planning to make a career working for them, but I was committed for the short-term as an in house employee with the hopes of being able to move out of their office to a TRUE contract position. I ended up doing work with them for two years because I was open about my intentions but also committed to their success and our partnership.

    I think when you’re ready to make that final push to launch your business into full time work, you might want to consider finding a different job that KNOWS you’re starting a business or is in a different industry so there’s no conflict of interest. It was the best decision I could have made to be honest with my last position. I was able to openly talk about what I was working on, partner with them to bring in my own clients and not have to stress about anyone “finding out.”

    Great topic! xo

    • marie

      LOVE it Steph! You’re such a star and thank you for sharing the details of how you made it work 🙂

  18. I think it depend on where you work and what your business is. I raised four children alone and always had a side business. I did custom sewing . My everyday job was working at a bridal salon that provided alteration. Anyone caught picking up business from the store was terminated. I say this because it would be wrong to take customers from the company, it caughts coworker and management to really watch you. So, I think it depend on the business and not allow your part time on the side business to mix with your regular job. Also it would be best when starting up to keep it to your self, in case of HATER!

    • marie

      Mary! What an incredible accomplishment raising four little ones on your own! Sounds like you had clear boundaries and it worked out perfectly 😉 Thanks for sharing your experience here!

  19. I’d gladly leave a video response, if my back wasn’t giving me trouble 🙂
    I’m currently employed, and I’ve been totally open from the start about my business, as I am about just about everything.

    My boss even has a picture of one of my bindrunes on the wall. He said he hasn’t had any server problems since hanging it there 🙂

    • Hey Linda! I had no idea you followed Marie too! Did I introduce or did you find her on your own? Either way she rocks, right?!?! 🙂

      • I’m everywhere 😀 I found her on my own, actually before I found you, and she truly does 🙂

    • marie

      OK Linda! You had me looking up bindrunes woman!! AWESOME on your boss hanging it on the wall and keep server problems at bay. LOVE it.

      • I love it too, and he keeps joking around with the other bosses, saying they should get one too 😀 Let me know, and I’ll make something for you. Gottonsof different ones.

  20. I the reframe of treating you job as a client works wonders. Like right now that fulltime job is your #1 client (both time and money-wise) so it makes sense to treat it well.

    As a business owner I’m super clear that I want to know what my employees are up to outside of my company. If anything, I want to support them, and just understand what type of work really fulfills them.

    I have a friend who told her boss she was leaving because she wanted to do more social media stuff. So her boss just gave her responsibility of their social media stuff. Pretty cool side effect of being up-front. 🙂

    Obviously not the same situation, but worth noting. 🙂

    • marie

      Of course you have a brilliant reframe Nat!! I agree on wanting to know what my team is passionate about so I can help them get there, and, match work that we need done with what they most want to do. Love ya woman.

  21. I am currently in that situation. I have only told one person at my work. I work independently from my office (the ultimate 4-Hour Work Week set up) – but I do work hard and travel a lot for my job.

    I’ve recently asked to go 1/2 time at my day job so that I can focus on my 13 year old daughter who’s been acting out because of my frequent business trips. And wasn’t planning to do that for at least 6 months. Now it forces my hand at getting my business up and running quickly! WHEW!

    • marie

      Hey Dawn! Good luck with the 1/2 time and the 13 year old 🙂 We’re rootin’ for you.

  22. Hi! Marie is absolutely correct. It is a rare employer that will allow you to take a call, etc. on their time. But, there are bosses who will be supportive. I have worked for one or two. Just know which one you have. I once worked for a company years ago and was just thinking about starting a business on the side. My co-workers were supportive, but the company immediately called a meeting and let the whole department know that side jobs, entrepreneurship, etc. would not be tolerated. Even though they had no official policy, they said that they would see it negatively. Don’t fear that you won’t be able to grow your business i you go outside your friends in the office. In fact, your greatest word of mouth could be in new people you meet on the way!

    • marie

      Judith – thanks for your perspective!

  23. I totally spilled the beans at work, and then quit two weeks later to pursue my dream. So far, so good. 😉

    • marie

      Rock it Tara!

  24. Luis Macedo

    100% with your A to Chelsea’s Q. Short and to the point.
    But the main reason for my post is to thank you.
    Thank you for your list and the once a week message.
    Thank you for beeing so positive and cheerfull.
    Thank you for your video messages and the great advice you give us.
    Thank you for your commitment to help others (women in particular but us guys too).
    You are an inspiration and it’s a joy to be in your list.

    • marie

      Awwww Luis. Thank YOU so much! I really appreciate what you shared. I consider everyone on my list family and I’m thrilled you’re a part of it. As you may, or may not know – there are a lot more men on this list than there used to be – so you’re in great company. I plan to do a special shout out for all my fellas soon. As I’m sure you gathered 99% of what we talk about here is not gender specific! 🙂 xoxo

  25. bettylion

    I imagine it’s certainly easier to keep a side business a secret if you live in a bigger city. In a small town, word spreads fast and nothing stays secret for long! In any case, I would say tread carefully, especially if you are in the same line of work as your employer. I didn’t work and have a business simultaneously, but I did quit a job and then started my own business in the same industry about six months later. Boy did my former boss freak out when she found out. She went out of her way to slander me online, wrote blogs about it, contacted existing/potential vendors and clients and tell them I learned everything from her and then left her hanging by quitting… it was really, really awful.

    • marie

      Betty – I’m sorry for that tough experience. Thanks for sharing your perspective and experience as I’m sure it’s going to help a lot of people. Keep doing great work and keep the energy positive!

  26. In my case, I haven’t even launched an official side business yet, but I am making preparations to do so. I actually told my two direct supervisors and they are completely cool with it as long as I give them 100% while I’m at the day job and they are very supportive of the side hustle. I guess it comes down to your relationship with your job and maybe your direct supervisors. I just wanted to be up front with them as I figure it is better to have full disclosure than for them to find out and then be questioning if I am plotting my departure.

    • marie

      Awesome Jessica! Sounds like you’re doing it perfectly. What a fantastic gift to have your supervisors support!

      • Thanks Marie! Honestly I was surprised at how supportive they were but I feel better knowing that everything is out in the open and I can start working on the biz without looking over my shoulder.

  27. Oh Marie, I totally wanted to write to you about this!!

    I have an online supplement company, but also have worked in a retail setting selling nutritional supplements. Now, I wasn’t in direct competition with my employer because I sell products that they don’t, but I always kept my side business on the down low. I didn’t like doing that because I’m super proud of my side business. I also worked my little butt off while there and never promoted myself on the job.

    However, I’m looking for a new day job and sometimes mention my business on my resume and sometimes not. I would rather just be transparent to everyone, but sometimes I’m uncertain if THEY would feel its a conflict (even though I would never make it as such).

    Integrity is important to me, so I’m open the majority of the time, but at what point am I shooting myself in the foot by being transparent with my potential employers?

    • marie

      Hey Tara! Great point. There’s not one right answer. You have to trust your gut, and your heart , and from what you shared – it sounds like transparency is important. As you can see from the amazing comments here – there are MANY companies and positions that fully support outside work too. Keep your resume and “pitch” focus on the companies you want to work for, and when you go on interviews, translate your business running skills into advantages that will help you perform better at the job!

      • Thanks for your feedback Marie, I truly appreciate it. Everything you said rings true for me and I agree whole heartedly. Many thanks!

        • Marie, I just have to thank you for your video, your reply, and you.

          I can’t believe it, but I found a new job with a company that totally is supportive of my side business. Not only that, but we connect in all the ways that I have been working on and putting out there.

          Get this… in our interview, we actually had a discussion on how transparency is important to us both! It was a magical moment. 🙂

          Thank you!! xoxoxoxo

  28. Deb

    I’m gonna have to recommend full disclosure and honesty with your employer, especially if you care about keeping your job for a while. I had my own graphic design business for many years and then went to work full time as a textile designer for a major retailer when I got divorced and needed the stability. I dropped my Chamber membership and didn’t bring in any new clients of my own for the next year and a half. I did a few emergency jobs for old clients before farming them out to other designers, and I did not take down my website. Didn’t even think about it really. One day I was taken into a meeting with the corporate lawyers and fired because of my “side business.” Now that some time has passed, I’m happy to be back out on my own again. But being fired for an ethics violation is something that will follow me around for the rest of my career. It wasn’t even something I meant to do, and I still don’t believe I really did anything wrong, but it has definitely made me believe in full disclosure.

    • marie

      Deb, such a powerful story and thank you so much for sharing it.

  29. Like Chelsea, I started my own business while working for someone else. For the last 8 months of my job as a corporate marketing director, I burned the candle at both ends working nights and weekends to build up my marketing consulting business. I followed the same guidelines that Marie offered:

    -gave terrific value in my corporate job and
    -worked on my business only on my own time.

    Nathalie’s advice is great, too – treat your current job like a client. Making that mindset shift helped me to perform well in the last few months of the corporate job, too, by letting go of office politics and petty annoyances. I knew that I was building the satisfying life I wanted and could wish my old employer much success at the same time.

    Thanks to Marie for her weekly dose of sass and smarts. I love, love your videos!

    • marie

      Thanks Lori – I love everything you shared. It’s a beautiful example of the kind of energy we can bring to work and life.

  30. Agree with you Marie.

    Act as you want others to act and, as you say, one day Chelsea you may be the employer. Then, what would you want to see happening in your team?


    • marie

      Simple and to the point. Awesome Rosemary!

  31. In my experience, I would leave telling co-workers until you are absolutely ready to jump, and even then I would expect the unexpected.
    Colleagues who you think will be appreciative might too easily compartmentalise you, finding it very difficult to imagine and accept that you could do anything other than what they see daily.
    Co-workers who you imagine will be negative and critical might be your next clients!!
    Nothing surprises folk more than seeing someone do what they want to do, but feel they can’t themselves.
    Loving your work Marie!

    • marie

      Thank you Richard – both for your perspective and for the love!!

  32. With 6 months to go I would say don’t keep it a secret, but great advice from Marie – you really need to read your audience on this one. Even it they’re supportive it will change the way they see you in your current role (which could be ok if you’re 6 months from leaving anyway, and have done a great job for them). I think disclosing that you have this other passion (maybe refer to that instead of “business”) can only be a good thing – mostly for yourself (speaking from personal experience here). I know how hard it can be to keep it a 100% secret, especially when you’re working mornings, evenings and weekends! Congrats on making the transition 🙂

    • marie

      Thanks for your input Natasha!

  33. Totally NOT the case for me!!!

    My day job boss has embraced my growing business whole heartedly and is even finding me clients! Being authentic and finding overlap with people in a non competitive way can lead to amazing business opportunities! It all depends on how you negotiate it!

    • marie

      WOW Emily – so great to hear this. Thanks for sharing your awesome situation!! Congrats 🙂

  34. Lauren

    I am in the same situation. I started my side business (waxing, i’m an esthetician) in NYC over a year ago. I still work for an employer, who is cruel, evil and crazy because I need the stability.

    I never signed a non-compete, but I am in direct competition with her …sort of. (There are services I will be offering in the six months that she does not offer.)

    I wish I could fully disclose what I’m doing, but this owner has a vengeful reputation. I don’t know what to do. My private clients are happy, but my business isn’t growing because I can’t market myself. I feel like I’ll never be able to leave my day job 🙁

    I should also mention that I treat my day job as my most important client. I am the #1 sales person in the company, and have been for years. They never have any customer service issues with me, I have the highest client retention rate, and always make my sales goals. I have literally been called by Human Resources “The perfect employee”. I work very hard to not ruffle any feathers and stay off the radar.

    How can I help my business grow without getting caught? How can I covert market myself?

    I am really good at what I do, I know I can make my business my only job if I could just get a few more clients. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • marie

      Hey Lauren – first: know that you can do whatever you set your mind to. I’d also suggest getting agressive with saving $$ to have a financial cushion that will support you during the transition. It sounds like you’re really close to making the transition (just a few more clients) so stay focused and positive and it will happen.

      • Lauren

        Thank you for the encouraging words. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  35. I’m pretty open about talking about my business with other people, since almost everyone knows a woman who is currently dieting and looking to lose weight. I’ve always given my all on the job and gone above and beyond.

    This has worked out SO well for me, because my employers and co-workers would recommend me to people (regardless of what career I was in or whether or not they had worked with me) based solely on my work ethic. They know that if I say I’m going to do something and promise these results, then it’s gonna happen. They know that I go above and beyond in everything I do, especially when I’m helping out other people.

    • marie

      LOVE it Shannon! Your energy and integrity is so clear. Great work!

  36. Couldn’t agree more. I have a full time job and will probably continue to do so. But I also have a “side” business. It is separate and my day job is priority during work hours. I would never want my employer to wonder whether they were getting all of me – they always do.

    But after hours, I get to do my own thing. My side business is in a different area altogether so it’s not competitive. Anyone could easily find out about my other business and it’s on my linked in account. I certainly don’t hide it but I don’t talk about it too much at work either. Again, when I am there it is all about the business.

    • marie

      Awesome Glenda! Nice blend of focus and transparency.

  37. It’s hard to grow a business if you’re hiding your business. In my opinion, transparency is almost always the best policy. Like Marie says: be 100% at your current job and no one can fault you for being a go getter. Plus happy employees are productive employees. When you’re following your dreams it’s likely that you’re happier and more productive during the times you’re at your current job.

    I was really lucky. When I started my business my boss from my full time job was 100% supportive. It felt amazing to be transparent, not hide and kick ass at my job that was paying the bills.

    • marie

      AGREED that happy employees are productive employees!

  38. I totally agree, Marie. Give your job 110% and be very thankful for it. I do all side ventures on the side. It is hard and one has to be super discipined with time but I love my steady cash flow. Have a very Happy Turkey Day!!

    • marie

      Happy Thanksgiving to you to Prada!

  39. YES! No secrets + total integrity. If you don’t keep secrets you have to keep your boundaries with crystal clarity, and this applies here. 110% @ “work” + full tilt effort at your “side” when not at work. When the two cross – random casual convos, lunch, when you’re dashing out to your late meeting for the “other” business – total enthusiasm and honesty. Only way to go.

  40. Dawn

    I have a side business (landlord to 4 rental units) while doing my full time job. I work 45-50 hours a week on a 40-hour a week salary position, so I actually give 112.5% – 125% (to be mathematically accurate!)

    As long as I’m putting in my time, making clients happy, making my job happy that I’m bringing in revenue, I don’t see it as an issue. I’ve told my boss about my plans. I schedule time off (paid vacation) for house closings and other planned events for my landlording activities.

    I also have a 10-year plan where at that time I will be in a position to completely give up my full time job and just do landlording for a living. Now that I have my 10-year plan, I’m trying to turn it into a 7 or 8 year plan!

  41. Hi there!

    As someone who has transitioned ‘into’ and also ‘out of’ my own business at various times, I think the transitioning out is harder! In terms of time management and also emotional baggage re-engaging with employers and their expectations is a difficult call. You go from being your own boss, making decisions about simply EVEYRTHING into only making decisions about certain things. Not to mention that I worked for longer hours and with more commitment in my own work – not because i didn’t want to give that kind of commitment to a boss, but that they didn’t need it or as for it!
    I arrived at my new boss after leaving my own business running my engines on turbo 200 and then had to go down to cruise control!

    It didn’t take long for me to look again at running my own business – just to keep the engine running at a good speed! LOL

  42. In my previous full-time job (as a magazine editor at a popular women’s mag) it felt like EVERYONE had a side biz. The photo editor was also a photographer, the graphic artist girl did graphic arts and web design on the side. One of the assistants was freelancing for local newspapers. One of the women was an ESL teacher, another one was a novelist, and one of the girls was building her own clientele as a stylist. One girl even had a business importing incredible jewelry from overseas designers, and selling it to major department stores. I had been blogging and writing about food before I got the job and I went through different businesses while there (a brief stint with dessert catering, freelancing about food, etc.). What was really cool is that everyone was super supportive of each other. I often had my boss asking me cooking questions and advice, and even hiring me to bake for the holidays and parties (it didn’t hurt that I was always bringing in cakes and cookies and other treats for the staff). My other boss (the top one) was always bragging about my blog and various accomplishments to other editors and VIPs that came through the building. I even remember my boss once mentioning that she liked her employees to have creative outlets outside of the office.

  43. Regina

    Personally, I’m better at doing one thing at a time. I see it as sort of like dating. I would date one guy at a time instead of having one on the side. I’d save up my money to carry me for a few years and then quite the job so I could put full-time focus into my business.

  44. I haven’t thought about this topic in decades – Marie, you bringin me blasts from the paa-yast! When I first started my side computer graphics business back in the day, I was the art director of an advertising agency and I had full permission from my boss to use the company’s computers. I just asked him if it was cool, so I never had to sneak around or worry about spillin da beanzers. But there was def an agreement that I would do company business on company time and side business on side time (after hours, weekends, etc).

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  45. Great video – and like many people who’ve already commented, I’ve been there and done that myself! I was lucky enough to be able to share my side business with my co-workers because they were totally different industries and their was no conflict. But as someone else has already mentioned, I kinda had to keep my ‘day job’ secret from my clients! If they knew I was working in a ‘job’ somewhere else, then they weren’t interested in hiring me because they thought I wasn’t serious about my business!

    Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

  46. Ooh – this video bought up some funny memories of my corporate days where I basically stole time and resources from my evil corporate job!

    Did a post AND a video:


  47. Well, I understand her wanting to date such a cool chic if I was not in love with gaga I would too, lol, my boyfriend does not seem to mind, lol

    Great video as always , My life has been changed with these emails and yes I agree with you 100%.

    The one about too many ideas really helped me a lot, now I just have two, a business and my singing career and both looks good, and I have now also the confidence to pull them off Baby.


  48. I didn’t tell my employers about my side job until I was ready to quit – they asked me to stay on for 3 more months and knew that I was working for them AND my new business. It was a perfect situation … I had a salary AND I was growing MY business. When I finally left I had 3 clients lined up and was making more money than I was when I was employed from day 1!

    I’m no good at lying or being sneaky so I had to come clean. Mentioning my side business meant that I didn’t have to lie and my old employers actually recommended me to some of my future clients.

  49. Claudia

    This was right on target for me. I’m doing the day job thing and trying to grow my side biz as well. I’ve pretty much taken the position you’ve described – not doing side biz stuff at day job (well, not much, anyway). As for keeping it a secret, they know a little bit, but not a lot – I don’t talk about it. The trickier bit is growing the biz, which can’t be done in secret in a small town. So, I’ve done some branching out (blogging on a local website) with the attitude that if they find out about it, I’ll deal with it when it comes. I know I’m doing a good job at the day job, and I’m not going to own whatever their reaction might be. All I can do is stand up and be the best me I can be at both the day job and the side biz. If they decide they don’t like me having the side biz, I guess it’ll just be an opportunity for me, right? LOL!

  50. I think it does depend on what you do and what your business is. Obviously if you work as a recruiter and you’re starting your own recruiting firm, your boss is going to be worried about who you might steal form them and what information you could potentially be using for your own business. However, if you have something on the side that’s unrelated and your boss is cool, it’s always a good idea to be as transparent as possible so that should they see your website or somethign on social mediak, they will lhave already heard it from you so it’s not a surprise.

  51. Ben Kaplan

    This is great! Thanks!

  52. I can relate to this video Marie, but with a little different perspective. I had my own business as an investment advisor and began moonlighting as an actor. I kept my acting/modeling a secret because I was afraid it would discredit me in the financial world. I even lied to a client once who swore they saw me in a commercial (they did), and told them it wasn’t me, afraid I might lose the business. I finally came to the realization that the whole reason I got into acting was to live my truth, and by not being forthcoming I was doing a diservice to myself.

  53. Hi Marie,
    I love this topic because I am an employee but also a coach who specializes in helping people transition from employee to solo business owner. The answer really depends on one’s personal situation. I agree that unless you have a contract that doesn’t allow you to have a side business that you should build it on your off hours. The issue then becomes how do you successfully grow and market a business when you’re keeping it on the QT and only have limited time in a day to do it. It’s crucial to incorporate effective marketing and time management strategies to do this especially when you’re an employee with a side gig.

    It’s exciting to grow a business and you feel that you want to share it with the world but it’s imperative to use discretion so that you don’t jeopardize the very job that is providing the security you need to strategically grow your business.

    Excellent video Q & A as always!

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving,

  54. In the spirit of Thanksgiving – none a better time than now to say a huge THANK YOU to you Marie! I love your Q&A sessions each week. You’re a joy to watch; clearly doing what you love and offering your beautiful natural gifts and talents to us all. THANK YOU!!
    I’m a big fan of honesty and in my experience(s) I always found that was the best course of action. I think if you disclose your intentions/plan AND take 100% responsibility for how you’re still going to ROCK your job, most employers will support you. In addition, if you contribute to your exit strategy; document all the things you do, develop a training manual/document, offer to train whomever will take your place – they’re often receptive, grateful and supportive of YOU, your integrity and commitment and often become clients and/or champions of your business. Yay!!
    Lots of love Marie!! Have a wonderful holiday and nom nom nom on those truffle potatoes. xoxo

  55. Here’s my video response:

    I totally agree that you’ve gotta give your all to your current job before leaving, but are there some words from the wise for those who have trouble giving their all to things they aren’t passionate about?

  56. Such a juicy topic Marie! In my experience it all depends on your boss and the relationship you have with them. I’ve worked for people who have been incredibly supportive of my passions outside of work and have even mentored me to help me succeed.

    However, I’ve also had a full-time position where this wasn’t the case. In fact, my boss went out of her way to make the freelance work I was doing a problem, even though there was no conflict of interest or contractual issues. That said, it gave me the push to go out on my own sooner and I haven’t looked back. So it all worked out in the end!

    My advice to anyone who still needs their day job, but for whatever reason is unhappy and therefore not giving it their all, would be to focus on resolving any issues so that you can be 100% committed to your job while you’re still there. Otherwise you have to leave before things turn sour! If I’d made the leap from the position mentioned above a few months earlier, I would have saved myself a whole lot of stress, tears and anxiety!

    Hope that helps anyone who is reading xx

  57. Jessica Vazquez

    hehehe… YES!! I am in this current situation RIGHT NOW. The good news is my current employer knew IN ADVANCE that I already have this coaching practice, and a teaching commitment. So I let them know BEFORE they even hire me 🙂 Since I get conference calls and meetings at “odd” hours (like 5am in the morning– with world wide team), I feel more than OK leaving “early” or doing coaching in lunch hours (I already do corporate phone calls during shower hours, hahaha).

    I do feel a little “icky” marketing to my actual coworkers. It is a fortune that they ARE NOT my ideal clients 😉 Yet I have tons of ideal clients from my previous corporate jobs. 🙂

  58. I’ve always been honest and open about my jewelry business with any potential or current employer. Most people I work with are very supportive and want to find out more.

    Maybe I just haven’t had enough experience to know better, but I share it openly at job interviews. Not only because it’s what I’ve been doing for the past two years (and leaving it out would leave a gaping 2-year hole of couch-sitting), but I feel it lets potential employers know that I am a go-getter and self-starter. I also like to share that I have outside talents that can be brought to the team. However, I always always always make it clear (just like you said, Marie) that when I am at my job, I am 110% committed and will not let my side-business distract me at work.

  59. This was such a great response to the question posed. Especially appreciated the point you made about it being “stealing” if you took work-time to market and build your side business. Great pointers.

  60. Hi Marie I really like your blog! I think that it is difficult to share with people when you are trying to build your busines, many people don’t understand and try to discourage you. For the moment I only spoke with my reliable friends and I am waiting to be more sur about my business. I really bealive in my business and my projects but I am shy and I am trying to get over it. I know that it is a common problem because you put your face on it, but it is the only way to emerge!
    big kiss

  61. I currently am starting a business on the side of my main job. My co-workers know about it and we are a small company but I don’t overly discuss it with them. It is kind of the unwritten rule that we all follow. A few understand that is my main goal to just work for myself. But I don’t discuss it with my boss, he doesn’t understand.

  62. Am I the only guy in all these responses? Haha..
    Hi My name is Jerviel and I am from Singapore.

    I am in this dilemma now and I must confess – I do my marketing of my community for Gen Ys, during office hours, of course during down periods at work.

    I feel bad. But at the same time, when everytime i come across a good idea or content, I will just want to share it with my community members. I am constantly thinking of other initiatives I can do with my gen-y oriented community initiative. To be honest, I am giving myself a couple of months to see where my current workplace will lead me to.

    I suppose the future is constantly changing and going with the flow is the best. If it happens that you need to spill the beans, so be it. If it happens that you need to quit your job and make your side-business the real deal, so be it. It is feeling at ease with what your heat tells you.

    ok. i am still in a dilemma.

  63. I love my day job but also have such a passion for my own business that I can’t help but be honest with my employers. They are supportive and my side business supports their mission so they benefit from my blog posts and vids and I enjoy the free promotion.

  64. Hi Marie, great Q&A and very relevant to my husband at the moment.

    He is currently employed full time but is also developing a new social networking business. His work contract allows him to have a job on the side but his work culture is aggressive and creates a lot of paranoia and distrust in the workforce. He has therefore only told one workmate who is also a friend. He feels that if he let it be known more widely at work, the management would begin to question his loyalties. He does not do his own work during his full time job hours but is struggling to fit in his side job on an evening and weekend. His dream is to earn a ‘full time’ salary from his side business (making it the main business).

    Thanks for sharing.

  65. Marie!! I’ve been following your blog for a few weeks and must admit – today’s little question has got me commenting for the 1st time. 🙂 I have a full time job in the corporate design world – reality. Desperately longing to pursue my wedding photography dream full time – almost there 🙂 I know it’s just a matter of time before I bump into someone from work at a wedding & no, I do not know how I will deal with it. At this point I do not feel comfortable spilling the beans just yet. Best I can do is make sure I do my bit & my best Monday-Friday. What I do weekends – is well, what I do weekends. Thank you for a great blog Xx

  66. Amber-Rose

    I totally think that you can’t be a slave for two masters. It is really hard to work for two businesses, even if one is your own, without starting to resent one of them. It takes daily gratitude and great time management to find a comfortable balance.

    I started a side hustle at my old job and I found that I was so excited about it I’d be working on it during my working hours, and because sometimes I worked alone with little accountability – I’d suddenly find that’s spent my entire 8 hour work day doing my own thing. Shameful! I started to hate my job, my work was shoddy and when I finally quit – I don’t think they were sad to see me go. At the same time though, I would be getting frustrated with my own biz because it was coming along so slowly because of my full time job – which I really needed to pay the bills. So both things suffered, and I wish I had been able to keep the two separate.

    This time around I’m doing a much better job because I’ve been up front and honest that I’m working on my own business in my spare time. My new boss doesn’t mind, and because I know that they know, it makes me work much harder to prove that I’m not wasting their time or have a bad work ethic because I also have my own business.

  67. Ben

    Well, I enjoy my career and expect to reach management within 2 years. At the same time I have a side business that takes less time to build than most people’s hobbies. My side business generates residual income (rental properties and high-traffic online sales), which means I don’t have to be distracted from my work. Since I am limited by how much I can grow each year (as seasonal business), it wouldn’t make sense to have just that (I’d grow bored if all I did was work the equivalent of max 4 weeks a year). All I do is connect customers to suppliers. All the work is handled by suppliers once the initial connection has been made.

    So why is this a concern to employers?

  68. Sonny

    Great Topic!

    I wanted to share my experience that’s currently happening. I migrated 3 years to a EU Country by looking for more opportunities. It was a big step for me and my new boss was aware of my future vision. The vision was to start my own Web Development business. Three years later i came up to some ideas and decided that it’s a moment to make a movement about it and start a small one-man business, due to contract regulations i need the approval from my current company on black and white. And now the best part comes in, my boss does not support it because he does not have any side business and he thinks that it’s not possible to play the game from two seats. It’s a worst answer you can wish from a boss from where you most likely expect the support.

    Now why i say it’s the best part, it’s because my employer does not pay the overtime, there are no salary increases, no benefits, employees leave the company quite often. I’m 24 years old and i have strong passion, desire and i’m highly motivated to work so i have not complained about these internal issues since i simply expect the company to help me with growth on a personal basis. Just to mention i performed 120% and the boss is quite satisfied with my results which he did not get for last 8 years from anyone, my contribution was quite high. BUT now i’m at the point where my boss stands in front of my future and it’s a huge obstacle to me any my personal growth. What will happen now is totally opposite from what my boss expects and that is by loosing me as an employee since nobody can stop you to succeed, he will also loose my contribution of those unpaid overtime hours and the worst part is my ideas, performance, my trust…

    My focus is more related to support and no support. At the end whenever you look at all samples it’s all quite related of how people look at the world and how they support your ideas. If your boss does not support you in your personal growth, probably you are not worth of working for him anymore. The world is build of projects and if someone stand’s in a position to tell you that you can not do it, than he is selfish and want’s the whole world only for him self.

  69. David

    Asking if you should tell your employer about your side business is kinda like asking if you should tell your wife about your mistress. It’s just common sense.

    • Kristin - Team Forleo

      It’s really a great question! Some folks want to be upfront with their employer before leaving a job. Some people aren’t sure if they should. It’s not quite as clear-cut as telling your wife about your mistress (which you could argue either way depending on the person or the relationship, I suppose!)

  70. Great question and answer. I also have been debating about this since I just launched my finance coaching business. I’m still not making money at this point since I just want to get experience but my goals hopefully to get paying clients by the end of the year and to be able to quit sometime beginning of next year.

  71. I’ve never fully spilled the beans about having a side job, because I’ve never wanted an employer to “think” that my side job will eventually get in the way of my full time job. Additionally, I wouldn’t want to get watched liked a hawk to see if I take a phone call or answer an email affiliated with my business; if no one knows about it than I’m good. I’m single, no kids, and honestly have the time to run a side business after hours, quite similar to how some people fulfill parent, volunteer, or even soccer coach duties after hours. I think it’s quite interesting that a person can hire a mom whom has a picture of her 4 kids on her desk or how someone may work for another company with an employer never considering the scope of those commitments , but a person may get second guessed if they said they had their own company — the one thing a person has 100% control over unlike with children or a person with dual employment.

    One big down fall of it all , is that as my business is growing, I don’t foresee it interfering with my 9-5, I actually want to attach my name to my business. On LinkedIn when people look me up it’s not there, there’s nothing about me on the about page of my website, when nominated for awards they look at my LinkedIn and website and there is noting there, the whole personal affiliation is eliminated and I actually want this. What should I do?

    • Mandy - Team Forleo

      That’s a really good question, Nick. It may help to review your 9-5’s company handbook since some companies have a policy about their employees having side businesses (especially if the work they do in the side business pertains to something they do while working for the company). Depending on what you find there, you can decide to be open about your side business or not. And if you do decide to be open about your side business you don’t necessarily have to make a big announcement to your company about it. That’s totally up to you and how comfortable you are with that.

  72. Julia

    Thank you for great tips and ideas! I have another issue at the moment I am balancing my day job (9:00-17:00) and my startup (b2b SaaS type). I have no idea when and how to manage business meetings with my prospects and I feel that this is what I need in order to grow my business. Usually managers in companies ( my target) work from 8-16, 9-17, and I am able to meet them only after my working hours because of my day job. How to handle this situation? I am afraid that no one from my prospect list will be interested to meet after their working hours. Anyone had a chance to solve this problem somehow? Or should I forget about cold calling and face-to face meetings and concentrate only on e-mails.
    Would really appreciate some advice 🙂

    • Mandy - Team Forleo

      That’s a really good question, Julia! If you get a lunch break, a lunch meeting might be a good option. Or a breakfast meeting if your potential clients like to get up early. Meetings over Skype or Facetime could be another option. It’s possible they might like to meet over dinner after work hours––can’t hurt to ask! 🙂

  73. Rebecca

    This is so helpful! I’m just about to launch my new business and although I currently have a full-time job, I’m in two minds about how to approach the subject at work as, at this stage, it is very much a ‘side business’. I think after reading these comments though, continuing to do a good job while at work and ensuring my new business doesn’t interfere with anything while there is a good rule to live by for now. I’m sure my boss will be appreciative and then ultimately supportive of that.

    Thank you!

  74. Shaun

    I have always believed that honesty is the best policy. I also believe that if you do have a ” side job” do not do it when you are working at your full time job. It is okay to advertise your business so that more people will know about it, but don’t bad – mouth other businesses. R E S P E C T people; especially when you impose on their time & attention to tell them about what you do & how the business will help them. Remember, hard work is a G O O D thing, but work is not everything in life. Another way to explain is don’t be a workaholic. Balance is an essential part of life. One can not have a personal life if one focuses on work all the time. I know a woman who focuses so much on work that she does not focus on her relationships with her family. She has been divorced at least 5 times. Finally, getting too much of things that are considered good for you is bad. For example, getting too much oxygen in the body at one time is called oxygen toxicity. Having too much water in the body at one time is called hyponetremia. The side effects of hyponetremia are water in the body washes out the electrolytes, a person gets dizzy, & the person eventually dies.

  75. Shaun

    Hi all you business – minded people ! ! I hope that all of your businesses are successful.

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