A common way to get your startup going is to keep your full-time job, and be an entrepreneur on the side. This can be smart, or it can be incredibly stupid, depending on your current employer.  When you first start a job, you sign a lot of contracts.  If you read the fine print, you’ll see that the employer almost always retains intellectual property rights.  This means that your employer might have rights to your ideas – even those you think up in your spare time.  In a moonlighting entrepreneur’s worst nightmare, it’s not inconceivable for your previous employer to sue you, claiming that it owns the rights to your invention or company.  Annoyingly, they’ll usually come after you only after you’re successful and fought through the risk.  Obviously, this is a situation that you want to avoid.  Before you moonlight, ask a lawyer to read through your employment agreements.  Make sure that you will own your company free and clear when you decide to take the leap.  Even then, don’t use your employer’s resources to build your company.  It can come back to bite you.

Matt Sand

Author Matt Sand

Passionate about making a difference through innovation and entrepreneurship.

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