Do you have to quit your job to start a business?

start a business

In January 2017, I posted an abbreviated version of this article in a Facebook group that I was a part of. While I later left the group, the amazing response to my post showed me that I was onto something. One of the results of that post was that I polished up my book 12 Weeks to Startup and created a Facebook group for the book.

Do you have to start a business to earn extra income?

I’ve been following Facebook conversations on business startup with interest. It almost seems as if the only way for people to make more money is to go into business. I think this is a wrong mentality because business is not for everyone.

I’ve been in business since 2007 and have helped people start businesses since 2011. I do know that the statistics on business startup are true. More than 80% of startups fail within the first year. And a large number of the 20% that go into the 2nd year fail before their 3rd year. My first business was one of the statistics.

Being in business is great. However, it requires a different mindset from being an employee. This is a shift most employees are not able to make fast, and it leads to financial loss.

If you’re in employment and want to increase your income, the fastest way to do so is not to start a business. You’re better off selling something that you’re already good at or that’s close to what you’re doing right now. Doctors and nurses do this easily when they go on locum.

What you’re selling could be a skill, talent, knowledge or experience. If you manage your time effectively, you can do this in your part time and work 10-12 hours a week. It’s not yet a business, but more of an extra stream of income.

Examples of extra streams of income

Below are ways in which you can earn extra money, working 10-12 hours a week.


You can help business owners with their accounts. If you have 4 clients and each pays you 10k a month, that’s a cool 40k a month extra with only transport and airtime as expenses. You give each client 3 hours a week and update their accounts within that time. You can also do their government submissions for them at an extra fee.

Graphic designer

Go online and create a Fiverr account and start offering design services. The income is small to start with but it grows when you get a reputation for prompt and accurate delivery. With time, you’ll charge more and bundle up services. Fiverr is a great place for any professional who can work online.


If people are always coming to you for advice in the evenings or weekends, start charging them. You can start with as little as 500/- per hour and increase your fees with time. I gave this idea to a lady who had been retrenched in her 50s. Today, she’s dictating her fees and getting invited to speak to schools and women’s groups for at least 10k per talk. If this income stream interests you, then contact me and I’ll help you create talks and workshop packages.


Start taking in transcription work. You could go online and sign up for work or talk to speakers, pastors, and trainers to help them transcribe their work. You can also sign up as an online virtual assistant and work 2 hours a day.

Walter Akolo’s blog gives tips and resources for online work with specific emphasis on writing. Sheeroh Kiarie’s has all you need to know about online transcription work. You can find other online mentors from Walter and Sheeroh’s blogs.

People are always complimenting you on how well you dress

Start giving talks on image and dressing. You can call your friends together to start with, charge a small fee that covers refreshments and gives you something extra. Have a blast for 2-3 hours in your living room teaching them what you know.

This can also work if people love the way your home looks and you can start charging for your advice. You’ll enjoy giving advice more when people are paying you for it!

You go to the market each weekend

Many women don’t like going to the market and would appreciate having bulk shopping done for them. Here’s how you can get started:

  • Inform your neighbours that you can shop for them on weekends.
  • Strike a deal with the market vendors you normally buy from.
  • Have your customers send you their shopping lists by Thursday.
  • Shop and deliver on Saturday.
  • Collect cash and you have some extra money that week. Carefully select your customers so that you don’t deliver without being paid.
  • You could also create a list with specific items and costs per week and send it to your customers. They make their orders and send you 50% deposit by Friday so that you have the money to shop with on Saturday.
  • Collect the balance on delivery and never accept to be paid ‘later’.

If you do this diligently, with time, the extra income will cover your household shopping and give you something extra.

There’s a young lady in my neighbourhood who does this. I’m one of her customers and she drops my veggies and fruits early in the morning once a week. By 9:00am, she’s shopped, made her money, freshened up and gone for her other shughulis.


If you’re always in the library, why not put up posters offering to do research for people in your free time? Employed Masters students who attend evening classes make great clients because a lot of them don’t have time for research. PhD students also value having research assistants who are accessible. Also, check out Walter’s blog for information about online academic writing.

English teacher

Find a community of expatriates from non-English speaking countries and offer to teach them and/or their children English in the evenings or weekends. I did this when in university and I’m not even an English major.

People always love hanging around you because you’re funny

This is a very lucrative income stream. Start telling people that you can MC at weddings and parties. You can do the same if you want to get into bridal and baby shower talks. Humour is always in high demand. Combine it with a bit of teaching and you’ll have a killer side income.

You love making simple crafts

Make some samples and give them away strategically to people who have large networks. Tell them that you now do this as an extra income stream and that you’d appreciate referrals. Also set up a Facebook Page and add a Shop section. Create some crafts, take amazing photos of them, post in your shop and on market groups on Facebook and sell…


These are just some ideas that you can use to create extra income without necessarily getting into business. You simply leverage your extra time to make money.

It’s also an easy way to test whether your business idea will work or not. You start it as an extra income stream without having to put in all the paper-work and hassle that a business requires. You then turn it into a business once it can cover its own bills and pay you a good income.

So, if you’re struggling to come up with something that can make you money, starting a business right up is not the only way to go. You can start with an extra income stream and then decide whether you want to go into business or not.

Decide what you want, set your goals and turn something that you already do or a skill or talent you have into money.

(Image credit: Unsplash)


Caroline Gikonyo works with high-achieving professional and business women who are stuck, overwhelmed, overworked, unhappy and unfulfilled. She helps her clients become leaders in their professions and business industries once they get unstuck and eliminate time wastage. You can contact Caroline to request for a Strategy Session and find out how she can help you achieve better personal, professional, or business results.

start a business

Still want to start a business after reading this article? Here’s how I can help. Get a copy of my eBook 12 Weeks to Startup and find out how you can start your business part-time. This self-coaching manual covers the same system I use with my clients.