If you want to start your own business while you're currently employed by another company, it's natural to want to spend as long as possible preparing your new venture before finally quitting. After all, your full-time job will offer security and a monthly salary. However, there are some legal pitfalls that can come along with developing your own business while you're still employed. Here are four ways to avoid falling foul of them.

1. Check Your Contract

Some legal responsibilities will need to be taken into account no matter what is written in your contract, but your contract is certainly the place where you should start if you're thinking about branching out on your own.

Go through your contract to determine the obligations that it sets out. Clauses might expressly forbid the type of action that you would like to take or require that you to let your employer know of your intentions.

2. Never Let the Two Jobs Meet

Getting a new business up and running while you're still committed to the regular 9 to 5 can be extremely tough. You'll often need to get home from work and then spend another few hours on your own business. This might be a real drag, especially if you have a family, but make sure you never give into the temptation to work on your own business during the hours that you are meant to be working for your current employer.

Sneaking in some research, responding to emails, or doing anything related to your own business while you are on the clock can send you into murky financial waters. You should also avoid using any of your employer's resources, including company computers, even if you use them at home and outside of business hours.

3. Don't Offer Competition

If you're lucky, the business enterprise that you would like to pursue will be thoroughly unrelated to the business of your current employer. For example, you might currently work at an accountancy firm but really feel the need to open a bakery; that should be fine since the two businesses will not compete with each other.

However, you'd be offering competition if you were planning on setting up your own accountancy firm. Developing a competing business should really be thought of as a no-go unless you've already quit.

4. Consult a Lawyer

Ultimately, laws can vary between states and territories, and it can be hard to grasp the nuances of your legal responsibilities if the law is something new to you. This is why it's often best to see a lawyer before you make a start on the business itself. They will be able to go over your contract, let you know exactly what your rights are, and prevent you from making any mistakes that could come back to haunt you.