Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Part Time Entrepreneur - Is There Such a Thing?

part time entrepreneur
This question swirls around in my head on a pretty regular basis. Can someone be considered an entrepreneur if they have a business on the side while maintaining a full time job with benefits and perks?

Webster's defines entrepreneur as follows:

one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.


As a guy who loves simplifying the complex, I love this definition as it sums it up quite well. The operative word in the definition is "and". It is not enough to simply organize and manage. One must also assume the risks. If someone holds on to a full time job with all of its perks and benefits, where is the risk? Can someone with a business on the side truly appreciate the struggles that go along with being an entrepreneur? Can one appreciate the journey if they do not have to face the myriad of tough decisions that go along with being an entrepreneur? Aren't the struggles that go along with entrepreneurship part the growth and maturing process?

Holding on to a full time job while calling oneself an entrepreneur is akin to a college freshmen boasting of being "on his own" while using mom's credit card and sleeping for hours on end in his old room during school breaks.

There is nothing wrong with nurturing a great idea or planning for the right time to take the leap into full time entrepreneurship. That's great but it must be made painfully clear that one cannot grow a successful business on a part time basis. One may get sales, generate some buzz, and get a nice supplemental income but grow a sustainable business? By sustainable I mean a business with growth potential that can support the entrepreneur on a full time basis.

It is important to sit down and create a plan to take the business or idea full time. For as long as the safety net remains, one will not take the necessary risks necessary to make the venture successful. This may sound counterintuitive, for if there is a safety net wouldn't a person be in a position to take even more risks? You would think so but the answer is an unequivocal no. By holding on to the safety net, you train your mind  to avoid risks.

There is quite a difference between having the entrepreneurial "itch" as I call it and being an entrepreneur. Everyday entrepreneurs take action on great ideas, see them through to completion and assume the risks of the business or enterprise.

I know this is a controversial point and I have friends who vehemently disagree with me on this. But I speak from experience because I have tried this. It is great to start part time as a way of getting your feet wet, but eventually you will have to make a choice and it is seldom an easy one.  There will come a time when your part time gig requires more of your attention and your full time gig gets in the way. At that point you will have to ask yourself, Do I take the leap and grow this business or just keep it as supplemental income? This will determine if you are truly an entrepreneur or what Mark Cuban refers to as a "wantrepreneur."

Godspeed and I look forward to seeing you in The Players Lounge.

See Also...

What Type of Entrepreneur Are You

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