It's one or the other: you're either an entrepreneur or an employee.

A workaholic that executes brilliant ideas in your garage, or a play-by-the-rules corporate employee that conforms to societal norms.

Right?

It's easy to slap a label onto ourselves and place everything into neat little boxes to make better sense of our world. But have you ever considered being both?

There are numerous reasons why everyone should try starting a business -- even if, and especially if, you're already working at a company. There are few experiences that will help you grow personally and professionally like balancing a side gig and a day job.

Here are four reasons why it's a good idea to give entrepreneurship a try as you continue working your job:

1. You will start off small.

Contrary to what the media portrays, you don't need to quit your day job and start working in a dingy basement or garage. But you will start off small, and you likely won't even have a customer base at the beginning.

This is fine, because you can slowly nurture your side business while relying on your main source of income from your day job. As your business (hopefully) grows, you can scale it continuously to generate more clients and revenue, or maintain it at the same level to keep yourself sane as you manage your full time job.

2. Failure is not the end of the world.

I know a guy who decided to open up a burger franchise. After investing thousands of dollars, it hasn't been doing well. Due to lack of sales, the restaurant's going to close down soon.

But one very good thing came out of this: a job offer.

He got a position in corporate finance at a global bank. In fact, opening a franchise restaurant was the tipping point that led the interviewers to hire him. They don't know how well (or poorly) the business has fared so far.

Of course, you don't need to open a business with high start-up costs. Some businesses can be started with $100 or less. These include knowledge-based businesses, such as consulting, tutoring and writing, or even selling physical products.

And if your venture fails to take flight? No problem. You still have your day job, and you can still tell everyone that you started your own business (but decided to ditch it to focus on your job).

3. You learn about yourself at an accelerated pace.

So you started off just pursuing a hobby and decided to monetize it for fun. Or maybe you knew early on that you wanted to go all-in to rake in the big bucks.

Isn't it interesting how we set out to do one thing, but often things turn out another way?

Having both a day job and a side hustle gives you options. It gives you an idea of how much you enjoy your full time position and which direction you want to pursue. Or maybe you like both and want to have it all.

The point is that starting a business and failing is way more impressive than not taking action at all. Starting a business takes initiative, drive, and business acumen, which are incredibly attractive characteristics to employers.

Along the way, you'll learn more than you thought about sales, marketing, customer relations and your own abilities. You might be surprised at what you can achieve.

By testing an idea out on the side, you learn more about yourself, and what you're capable of -- a valuable lesson you can carry anywhere in life.

Published on: Apr 24, 2017