The Part-Time Entrepreneur

I’ve recently chatted with a few entrepreneurs who have full-time jobs and are building companies on the side. It’s a familiar path. I did it myself. I was still in corporate America when I started my company. Only after it got traction did I decide to take the plunge. Whether to go full-time is a tough decision that I’m asked about often. Here are a few things I learned from my experience that I’ve recently shared with others:

  • All in – At some point you have to go all in on your idea or it probably won’t reach its full potential. You can have success working it part-time—but not as much.
  • Signaling – Going full-time sends a strong signal about your commitment to your idea. Investors, team members, co-founders . . . everyone will take you more seriously when you’re dedicated.
  • Traction – It’s hard to make the same amount of traction working part-time as full-time. The week I went full-time my traction increased threefold (partly because I was doing all-nighters—which I don’t advise).
  • Hidden gear – When people put it all on the line, they find a hidden gear. They reach down deep and find a way to make things work. They often surprise everyone, including themselves, with what they’re able to accomplish.
  • Personal decision – Whether (along with when) to go full-time is a big decision that will affect all aspects of your life. There’s no hard-and-fast rule. It’s a personal decision —do what’s right for you and your situation.

If the stars align in your life and you’re able to jump in with both feet, you’re one of the lucky few (many people wish they were in your shoes). Make the most of the opportunity!