Zain Khan – Balancing My ‘Bump’ Business With My 9 to 5 Job
Learn how to keep a full-time job and a business from part-time entrepreneur Zain Khan whose daily struggle is running his networking app business ‘Bump’ alongside his 9 to 5 job.
Zain, 25, created Bump to help people share their social media information all at once and much easily. The ‘one-stop social’ app, launched late last year, looks to simplify the experience of connecting with people you meet during the day.
Working as a full-time consultant at Oracle during the day and building his tech business in the evening, Zain shares his strategy for managing a side hustle without quitting your day job.
“I’m sacrificing a lot for this business…but the depth of your struggle will determine the height of your success”
“I like to say to that working at Oracle is my 9 to 6 and ‘Bump‘ is my 6 to 9, and sometimes longer. But time management is truly a big challenge for any entrepreneur.
As a business owner, it’s a balancing act where I have to stay super focused at my day job, have the energy to do incremental work on my startup in the evenings and weekends, and still make time for personal or social activities to unwind.
Most people clock out of their day jobs and they have the rest of their time to meet up with friends, go to the gym, watch TV, and do whatever else they choose.
For me, once I’m done with my day job from Monday to Thursday, I’ll head over to a co-working space where I can rent a desk for a few hours to work on my startup.
I find that remaining in a work environment helps me stay productive because at home, I have far too many distractions – namely my bed.
I also try to attend at least 1 networking event a week to meet investors, potential team members, and to get the word out.
On weekends, I have the luxury of dedicating more time to the business, and spend time on marketing activities, working on the website, or strategizing new ways that the business can grow.
Starting My Own Venture
There are many reasons I decided to start my own company, but two things stand out.
The first is the feeling of independence and being in charge of my own destiny. I personally don’t want to spend the rest of my life showing up to an office and working for someone else so that they’ll sign my paycheck.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but to me, it feels limiting, and I’d rather be the one signing paychecks for others.
The second reason is that of the vision I have for myself.
This stems from a desire to contribute something to the world, to create and bring into existence a product that will help people and change things.
I’m a pretty social guy, so whenever I meet new people, I often ask to add them on LinkedIn or Facebook, and sometimes even Instagram and Snapchat, depending on how well we get along.
I then realised that the problem with the current process of initially connecting with people on social platforms and exchanging information is so inconvenient, outdated and sometimes even awkward.
This problem is what sparked the idea for Bump.
The app searches for other users in your immediate vicinity and displays their profiles on your screen, with the ability to send them a connection request.
These people you bump into are saved in your timeline for 48 hours so that you can add them as connections retrospectively.
To date, the biggest success I’ve had is gaining initial traction and seed funding from just releasing a teaser video for the product.
This was able to generate over a 1000 subscribers to validate the idea, which led to a successful beta-launch last year where we had nearly 5000 downloads.
I’ve since received around £10,000 from angel investment, which is a bit bootstrapped, but it has been enough to make changes to the first version of the app, which will be re-launched next month.
Life as a young entrepreneur – It’s a lot of learning
This might sound cynical and negative, but it’s full of failures, so it’s important to be ok with things going wrong sometimes and still be resilient.
It’s hard because I’m sacrificing a lot for this business, and when I don’t see the results I would like, I sometimes think – what’s the point!
But, they say that the depth of your struggle will determine the height of your success, so it’s important not to take any failures personally.
As a solo founder, there’s a great feeling of ‘it’s all on me’. So when things go wrong, which they inevitably do, you tend to internalise it as there really is no one else to blame.
You’re having to wear all the different hats in the business – I’m the CEO, CMO, CFO, and COO all at once, and so juggling those responsibilities take a lot of time, energy, discipline and resourcefulness.
There are parts of the job that I’m completely unfamiliar with and I’m doing it for the first time, so it’s challenging because progress can be slow and sometimes seem unending.
In spite of the obvious difficulties, I gain motivation from being the underdog and reminding myself why I decided to embark on this journey.
I would love to see the business grow from just me to a full team and for Bump to be the new standard in location-based networking.
The process of starting a business is so troublesome, time-consuming, and mentally and physically challenging.
The only way to deal with this is to stay positive and always keep the end goal in mind. No one said it would be easy, they only said it would be worth it, and I try to live by that motto.”
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