Part-Time Entrepreneurs

I’ve heard the same question many times asking “can I start a venture part-time, on the side?” My advice is always the same: you can, but of the hundreds of entrepreneurs I’ve talked to, only one was successful (defined as built a multi-million dollar revenue company) doing the business part-time for the first few years. Now, this is different from a scenario like that of Marc Benioff, CEO of, that started working on the business part-time while he was still at Oracle, but he also invested $6 million of his own money and had a full-time team working on the company.

Here are some reasons why being a part-time entrepreneur might not result in success:

  • Challenge of making enough progress with the opportunity relative to how fast the market is moving
  • Lack of belief in the idea and/or market, resulting in a wait and see approach
  • Difficulty in juggling a day job and doing a startup on nights and weekends
  • Inability to get other team members or co-founders to join because of the perceived lack of seriousness

My belief is that the first issue (not making enough progress) is the real killer of part-time startups because they are such roller coasters whereby you need high highs to balance the low lows. I do believe working on a startup part-time is worth the effort but I would stress that that is more of a learning experience and less of a recipe for success. Good luck!

8 thoughts on “Part-Time Entrepreneurs

  1. I have to ask, If you don’t have a million dollar idea, rather just a medium sized “cool” concept you wish to bring to life.. what are your options?

    You have your relatively steady income from your day job but the innovator inside you is urging to get his dose.. you (and by you i refer to me) HAVE to make this Idea a reality..

    What would you suggest to do?

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