Should You Tell Your Boss About Your Part-Time Business?

PT and Gary Vaynerchuk

Are you a weekend, early morning, or late night warrior who works on their side business? Perhaps you do all three? Are you hustling so you can one day leave your day job and become your own boss? It’s not uncommon these days.

Do you think it’s ethical, or simply the right thing to do, to share with your current employer that you have a side business that earns additional income? Would your employer approve or, would it perhaps endanger your employment?

What do you need to consider before you decide whether or not to have this conversation? Here are some initial thoughts to consider:

Employment contract – Some employers state in their employment contracts that the employee must not pursue external business opportunities, especially when there is a competing interest. You certainly won’t get legal advice on this website, but do consider your employment contract and language within before you decide to venture out on the side.

Relationship with your boss – Do you have a trusting relationship with your boss? If so, you might be open to sharing that you run a side business blogging about sewing as an example. Perhaps it has nothing to do with your day job and you’d just like to share during a friendly conversation over lunch.

That said, do use caution because at the end of the day, your boss is your boss. Sure, you have a friendly relationship, but your boss is responsible for his department or team and to mitigate performance risks. This could include putting a closer eye on you or even escalating to leadership for a decision if he or she doesn’t know how to handle.

What is the benefit? – Before having the conversation, you really need to dig deep and determine what is the benefit of having it. Is there value for your current job? Maybe, or maybe not. If not, why talk about it? Tell a friend if you want to tell someone, but you’re boss? Really? Why take the risk? You don’t want to become the risk, right?

As many of you know, PT started his own business while working full-time and had to find ways to do the side hustle. He made it happen and is now a full-time entrepreneur. Jealous!

PT gave a thoughtful response when this question was recently posed to him: should you tell your boss about your part-time business?

Your question is one I personally struggled with for 3 years of my life. I think you have to know your employer and your relationship with / value to them before you can answer that. For me, my boss was clueless about blogging, the Internet, etc. So I had confidence he would never “get it.” And I mostly kept him in the dark about it all. I had the additional element of sharing some of my financial details online, which is certainly something I didn’t want to talk to the boss about. Surprisingly, when we started an inter-company blog, he knew I was savvy about that and he put me in charge of it.

If I were to look for another job now I couldn’t avoid mentioning it. Mainly because I think it’s an asset. The right company / boss will perceive it that way. Everyone has “something else going on” these days anyway. Whether it’s taking care of a needy child/parent, volunteer work, or school. Every employee is being pulled away from their work by something. But it’s the employees that can show that they are excelling at work given their extra-curricular that will be most valuable to their bosses.

Are you doing that? If so, and you aren’t blogging during company time or disclosing trade secrets, then you should be good to go. What you do in your free time is your business. I see no need to share this pursuit with your boss at this time. There will come a time when you may need to. But don’t share it just to share. I asked this question to just about all of my guests on the Part-Time Money podcast. I’d encourage you to listen to a few of those answers to get a bigger perspective.

Okay, side hustlers, tell us about your situation? Are you side hustling late or early hours? What would your boss think and should you share your gig? Let us know in the comments.

Last Edited: October 2, 2014 @ 10:31 pmThe content of ptmoney.com is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to ptmoney.com should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
About Jason Price

Jason is a husband, dad, entrepreneur and financial ministry leader passionate about serving people in the area of personal money management. He's been doing so for over 10 years in ministry, coaching, speaking and blogging. Learn more about Jason here, follow him on Twitter or read more of his articles here at PT Money.

Comments

  1. I had a side business for two years while I was working at my day job before I finally left my day job. I never told them. I did have a non-compete contract but it didn’t apply to the business I had since they weren’t related.

  2. It would make me wary of the company if they didn’t see my entrepreneurial spirit as an asset. I need to be in an environment that allows those parts of me to thrive.

  3. I’m side hustling early and late; before and after my main gig and my boss knows.

  4. I’m a teacher, and the fact that I blog fits in well. I was just asked by a student today if I would be her “visiting author” for her Writers’ Craft class – in which each student has to invite a writer to speak with the group. People are open about their side interests around here. It is always good for students to know that their teachers have lives apart from school, and to see that there are different ways to express talents and interests.

  5. I was required to tell my employer about my business. I worked for a registered investment advisor and they had to ask all employees about ‘outside business activities.’
    There was no conflict of interest so they had no problem with my running the business. I also made sure to give them 120% while I was there and work hard on my business in the evenings.
    Eventually I was able to leave my job and work my business full time and I’m so glad that I did.

  6. I worked on my side business for 11 years and counting, I never tell my boss about it. I don’t use company time to do my business and only work on my business during night and weekend. I do take occasional vacation days when business is booming.

    My company only requires it’s employee to report to management if the side business has any conflict of interests with the company. Mine doesn’t have any.

    The reason I did not tell my boss about it is because you never know what jealousy will do to a person. Better be safe than sorry.