How do part-time entrepreneurs fit in the startup community?

Part-time entrepreneurs are more abundant than full-time entrepreneurs. Just think how many people work an hour or more per month on a new business idea. Now, let’s define part-time entrepreneur in a very simple manner: they have a day job that pays the bills. The day job might not even be full-time, but it’s still their primary means of making a living. So, today’s question is “How do part-time entrepreneurs fit in the startup community?”

Here are a few thoughts:

  • I don’t know of any group that caters to the part-time entrepreneur audience other than general meetups where anyone can attend
  • It’s extremely difficult to get a business off the ground working nights and weekends on it (I only know of one entrepreneur, out of hundreds I’ve met, that was able to do it)
  • Peer groups, like Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), are amazing resources, and a simpler version of one of those would be beneficial for part-time entrepreneurs (peer groups are great regardless of profession or career)
  • More open dialogue is needed about part-time entrepreneurs as the most common response is that you aren’t serious if you aren’t full-time

I don’t have the answers but I believe more dialogue is needed about how part-time entrepreneurs should be nurtured and incorporated into the startup community.

What else? What are your thoughts on how part-time entrepreneurs fit in the startup community?

12 thoughts on “How do part-time entrepreneurs fit in the startup community?

  1. Part Time Founder is super hard. Like, ridiculous hard. I tried it with OtherNumber and Mixee and I fucked it up both times.

    There’s never enough hours in the day/night so you end up never sleeping. You get a lot of advice like “well, just quit your day job!” from people who can afford to. You can’t take calls from customers/cofounders/investors/partners/lawyers during the day. You can’t talk to your dayjob about it because they get freaked out (this really happened to me, more than once)

  2. Indeed, it is a difficult dance. Those who require a day job to get by often don’t have the ability to go full time absent of raising capital from friends and family, or from angel or VC sources. Many books have tried to simply some of the process to make it sound feasible, but they often fall short when put into practice.

    Depending on the nature of the business I believe that there is an opportunity to leverage automation tools to help, but it seems like the full time approach is often the one that holds the key to the best chance of success.

    Is anyone part of a group or discussion that is actively talking about this and sharing solutions? I’d love to be part of it.

    @colby_green on Twitter

  3. Great post. FYI, Founder’s Institute is one organization that’s targeted, at least in part, towards part-time entrepreneurs:

    “Through our part-time entrepreneur training program, you can launch a company with guidance and feedback from experienced startup CEOs – while not being required to quit your job.”

  4. I am a part time entrepreneur. I pay my bills and staff salaries from my day job. However, my job and business are both of real estate marketing. But still it is very difficult, specially to track if the staffs are working and motivating them.

  5. Being a part time start up is tough, I’m a full time student and writer so running a cake business on the side really is a juggling act. I think when doing it part time you have to recognise that you won’t make millions but set firm boundaries on what you can take on each week.

  6. I would love to have more of a support community for part time entrepreneurs but I do hate that name. I feel you can be an entrepreneurs even though you have a full time job. My past companies and current companies are always looking for entrepreneurs to work with us rather than someone clocking in and out.

    By your definition above, I have been both an entrepreneurs who built and sold a business and now have a full time job with a great company but I do several companies on the side (which yes make money).

    Would love to help you form a group to help this market out more.

  7. Like many of you have said it is very difficult to create balance in life when you are a part time entrepreneur. I am a firm believer that the only way to effectively go from part time entrepreneur to full time entrepreneur is through the power of leverage! If you cannot leverage yourself so that you can spend time on the business activities that produce income, i.e. sales, marketing, customer acquisition then you will always be just a part time entrepreneur.

    I think there are only few industries that offer solutions for being a part time entrepreneur. I believe finding the correct industry that fits your personality and your belief system is crucial. One other critical factor I believe that you must absolutely have when starting up a new venture is you have to have absolute belief that what you are doing will improve something in your life or the life of the user. I think one of the biggest downfalls to entrepreneurship in general is too many people get into a new business venture for the sole purpose of the money! Don’t take me wrong, because money is always an important part of starting something new, however if your sole purpose is just money then you may struggle with a business venture because all too often money comes after 2-5 years in business. So find your “Why” in your new venture.

    I was able to be a part time entrepreneur that transitioned into a full time entrepreneur, however, it took quite a bit of time and sacrifice! But in the end it has all been worth it.

    Great comments, great post. I too would like to be involved in a group with this topic!

  8. The purpose is to engage these individuals and find opportunities to graduate them from part-time to full-time. The wantrapreneur label is either implicitly applied (won’t meet after business hours, don’t consider them serious before at least meeting and discovering their context) or worse explicitly declared. I’d suggest we actively look for ways to identify these individuals, design the community to encourage these individuals to work toward going full time and develop programs that help set milestones around phasing them into full-time entrepreneurship.

    the west coast has us beat hands down on this aspect. It starts with saying yes to helping openly more often and at more times of the day.

  9. This is a great point and the reason I started my blog. I have been a part-time entrepreneur all my life. I had my dream job as a killer whale trainer (that didn’t pay very much) but had to make money through my businesses to survive. Part-time entrepreneurs have an incredible opportunity if they have the knowledge to succeed.

    I also love the simplicity of your blog. Subscribing now.

  10. Well life is all about ups and downs inspite of having a full time job people prefer part-time as an option to earn more income in a limited time. Frankly to be a part-time-entrepreneurs never mind about the initial lose or profit just invest and have aggregate effort towards your goal.

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