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Upwork: Conflict of Interest?

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Nova

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After reading some of the excellent advice on here, I am going to register myself on Upwork. The intention is to use the skills I have learnt in my employment to further my own development and generate additional income.

I have a reservation however. Although I have a small online business which is generating around £2000 profit per month, I am still working for a local IT company which is my primary source of income. Listing myself on Upwork using my name and other info may cause me to lose my job, due to a conflict of interest.

One of the technicians in a different department was running an IT company from home and had some equipment delivered to work with his company name. The managers found out and he was sacked for breaking company policy, which reads something along the lines of ‘you cannot be a director of another company or hold employment with another company in the IT sector’.

At the moment, I can’t afford to lose this employment. Has anybody run into a similar issue before? I would prefer to operate on Upwork without releasing my real name or email for the time being, but I don’t think this is a possibility. Any advice would be much appreciated.
 

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Lex DeVille

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After reading some of the excellent advice on here, I am going to register myself on Upwork. The intention is to use the skills I have learnt in my employment to further my own development and generate additional income.

I have a reservation however. Although I have a small online business which is generating around £2000 profit per month, I am still working for a local IT company which is my primary source of income. Listing myself on Upwork using my name and other info may cause me to lose my job, due to a conflict of interest.

One of the technicians in a different department was running an IT company from home and had some equipment delivered to work with his company name. The managers found out and he was sacked for breaking company policy, which reads something along the lines of ‘you cannot be a director of another company or hold employment with another company in the IT sector’.

At the moment, I can’t afford to lose this employment. Has anybody run into a similar issue before? I would prefer to operate on Upwork without releasing my real name or email for the time being, but I don’t think this is a possibility. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Doesn't the business you already run violate your employer's rules? If so, what difference does it make if you sign up on Upwork?

What has you wanting to bother with Upwork if your business already generates full-time income? Wouldn't it make more sense to focus on growing that business?

If you can't afford to lose the job, then the next best option is to find another job. Because how else will you transition to full-time business if you're always blocked by your job?

Upwork requires your actual name to register on their platform, although I think it can be hidden from search results in the settings. Not 100% sure on that though.
 
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Nova

Nova

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Doesn't the business you already run violate your employer's rules? If so, what difference does it make if you sign up on Upwork?

What has you wanting to bother with Upwork if your business already generates full-time income? Wouldn't it make more sense to focus on growing that business?

If you can't afford to lose the job, then the next best option is to find another job. Because how else will you transition to full-time business if you're always blocked by your job?

Upwork requires your actual name to register on their platform, although I think it can be hidden from search results in the settings. Not 100% sure on that though.
Thank you for the message. I will have a look at the search settings to see what is possible before I commit.

You are correct, however the online business runs through eBay and Amazon (hiding real names, so my employer would not be aware) and the sector is Medical equipment, so would not be a conflict of interest in that regard should they find out.
The business is growing steadily and only requires around an hour per day to maintain (speaking to suppliers etc.). I occasionally invest a full day in the business for other work (new products etc.) but I find that it seems to be more efficient to run things as I am. The rewards currently do not increase proportionately with time invested.

I am hoping that I can use my IT skills to establish myself on Upwork and eventually generate a second business from it, with the first business running as a somewhat low-investment sideline. It is essentially a testing ground to see if what I do for a living currently can be scaled into a business.
The eventual plan would be to lose the job, but at the moment it appears it would be too much of a financial hurdle.

I see your point though, perhaps I should go for it and use it as an incentive to push the business I already have to support me and my family should my employer decide to sack me. It's a huge hurdle in my mind and I didn't think it would be something I would need to worry about yet, but maybe it is.
 
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Lex DeVille

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You could also ask your employer to change the contract, i.e. allow you to do some business on the side.

Given that you work in IT, your position for negotiations is likely to be strong. They might rather loose 10% of you than the whole.
Everything is negotiable if you're willing to ask!
 

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Everything is negotiable if you're willing to ask!
This is so true. Time and time again I've gotten raises from jobs or large discounts from freelancers I am working with simply by asking. It is all about asking the right way and putting yourself in the right position.

I would recommend this as well.
 

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Can you make your relative maybe register but you take control of the profile?
 

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This is philosophy, not advice, so take it as such. But here's my take.

The biggest risk you can take is relying on someone else who holds arbitrary power over your income.


Firing people for having side businesses or trying to better their own situation, at no cost to the company? It's bullshit. I would never do that to an employee. So, the place where you work seems to me to introduce risk to your life, the risk of capricious human action reducing your income overnight.

2k/mo is a good start. If you can do that in an hour, what can you do in 4-6 hours?
 

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This is so true. Time and time again I've gotten raises from jobs or large discounts from freelancers I am working with simply by asking. It is all about asking the right way and putting yourself in the right position.

I would recommend this as well.
Absolutely. Last year I was subcontracting to a company. I said I could save them 10k a year within 24 hours. I said I would however increase my fee by 5k a year (again within 24 hours). So their net benefit was a 5k saving. They readily agreed and I got an extra 5k for my troubles.
 
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Nova

Nova

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You could also ask your employer to change the contract, i.e. allow you to do some business on the side.

Given that you work in IT, your position for negotiations is likely to be strong. They might rather loose 10% of you than the whole.
As daft as it sounds now I am writing it, I had not actually considered doing this. I am in the fortunate position where I was headhunted to 'fix' a failing department around 12 months ago. I have done this to a high standard, so should put me in a strong position to negotiate. Thank you for the advice.
 
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Nova

Nova

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This is philosophy, not advice, so take it as such. But here's my take.

The biggest risk you can take is relying on someone else who holds arbitrary power over your income.


Firing people for having side businesses or trying to better their own situation, at no cost to the company? It's bullshit. I would never do that to an employee. So, the place where you work seems to me to introduce risk to your life, the risk of capricious human action reducing your income overnight.

2k/mo is a good start. If you can do that in an hour, what can you do in 4-6 hours?
The company I work for is extremely protective. It is has been the market leader for many years but has several competitors that are becoming more and more of a threat. For this reason they try to hold onto staff with high product knowledge through a combination of 'benefits' ("if you're still here this time next year you'll get a 3% raise instead of 2%") and threats, such as terminating employment should you consider opening a sideline.

Meanwhile the company owner has just moved out to the US and semi-retired with a massive house and bonus pot that would cover the annual wages of my entire 12 man department.

I appreciate the sentiment regarding the current business. It took hundreds of hours to get to the point it is now as a relatively well-oiled machine. I have some sample products on their way to me now which I am hoping can push the profits even further.
 

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