It’s many people’s dream to have their own business but of course a fully-functioning and profitable business are not something people wake up with overnight. It takes time and hard work to start earning enough money to live off from your own business.

During this time, many entrepreneurs keep up their day job so as to keep earning and have some income to invest in their new venture. This can, of course, be stressful and hard to manage, juggling two major responsibilities at once. It has been done, however, and could be a viable option for you, if done right. Here are three key steps that can help you make your dream business reality while working your 9-5 as well.

Don’t keep your boss in the dark

It might not seem like a good idea to tell your employer that you are starting an entrepreneurial plan that will likely end up with you not working for them in the end. However, you should definitely be upfront and clear with your boss about your plans from the start. Make it clear that you are not intending for it to have an impact on your work for them in any way and that you will have a strategy for keeping the two roles separate.

Not only will your employer likely appreciate your honesty, but it also covers you for any potential complications down the line. Double-check whether there is a clause in your employment contract that bars you from doing side work while working for your current employer before this conversation. It might be something you’ll be able to change if you have a good relationship with your employer, but you should definitely be aware of anything like this before going into discussions.

An added benefit of discussing it openly with your employer is that they might even be able to make things easier for you. Flexible working, for example moving to a four day week instead of five, or shorten each day by an hour perhaps, could be one accommodation that might be possible after a positive and honest chat with your boss. You never know unless you ask.

Streamline your workload

If you are going to be splitting your time between two different roles, you will need to make sure efficiency is apparent in everything you do. There’s a lot you can do to make sure that you’re working smart, like streamlining your marketing strategy. Fundamentally, make sure that your time is allocated wisely.

If there’s something on your list that you have no idea about, bear that in mind before you add it to your workload that week. It might mean you need to research extensively beforehand, which is another time drain to take into account, or perhaps it would be smarter to outsource the task. If you can afford to, this can often be a great way to maximize your own time and not sink your efforts into a project someone else could do better and faster. It’s a cliche but it’s true: work smarter, not harder.

Test the ground before you take the leap

While you are still in the early stages of a new business, this is the prime testing time. Before you quit your day job and rely on this fledgling venture, you need to be sure it is an idea that can support you and any future employees you might have.

The dangers of not proofing a business idea might seem obvious but it’s a trap many people fall into. It is also a task that can be quite easily accomplished without too much of a time investment from yourself. Set up a questionnaire to test the market and let the replies flood in while you work your 9-5.

Create a prototype and leave it with a pool of subjects for a day or so. Depending on your project or service, there will be a host of ways you can gauge reactions, but the best part is that it will likely need little input from you after you have it up and running. After all, you already think it’s a great idea. Now is time to gather other, relevant people’s opinions and feedback as well.

With these strategies and tips under your belt, you’ll be in the best position to maximize the use of your time and not be overwhelmed by the drains on your time. Above all, be sure to take care of yourself and give yourself time outside of your job and your business as well. A burnout CEO is not a successful one. Be patient and the dream will fall into place.