So what could go wrong with part-time entrepreneurship?
I’ve been writing already several times about the pro and cons of “part time entrepreneurship” but never really got the chance to analyze what could really go wrong. But this weekend I’ve did a little trip to Sighisoara and finally left my laptop to have a 2 days rest. It was a “no work” weekend – that really gave me the chance to think a little about what has been really going wrong with part time entrepreneurship in the last year and a half. It’s perhaps a re-take of the writings I’ve did before on the subject.
So I came back with a little piece of paper (whoaa, hand writing after a long typing only period) with the following items of interest:
Business development difficulties
- waste some sales because working after “normal” hours
- hiring new people (part time or full time) is quite impossible
- thrust issues, part time business don’t sound like a reliable supplier
- after sales support is not as good as it should be
- operational tasks take most of the time – less time to think the business itself
- no exit strategies available
Life balance and related issues
- potential conflict with your regular job, both legal and fatigue
- more fatigue and bad life balance, issues with friends and family
- variable commitment from your part time partners
- financial rewards not always up to the efforts
- what is the best outcome you can hope for?
Ok, let’s take them one by one.
It took me several months to realize that if you are into services area and need to be in contact with your customers, you will lose some sales just because you can’t pick up the phone during the regular 9 to 5 hours. But yes, most of the business would like to have somebody to talk to. Also, you have to realize that you are going to have all sorts of communication delays (e.g. if your client writes you in the morning, you will most probably answer him in the same night and he will get the answer right the next day. Sometime a one day delay is not acceptable.
Hiring new people
Almost all business development plans that I had, involved getting a full time person on the job. I really couldn’t think about a way to hire that person because a) you can’t have control of his work during the day and b)it’s difficult to have a person working at full capacity during your absence and c) is even harder for that person to thrust enough the part time business to work for it.
Most of the potential customers I’ve met were at least a little bit annoyed by working with a part-time business. Most issues were related to the possibility to deliver work on time, support and quality of the work. Moreover, a part time business always sounds like a small business and small is not always good – as my girlfriend use to say :).
After sales support
Because of the limited time, after you finished a project, you will jump right away into the next one. You don’t have spare resources and you have to work with no risk margins. Therefore if something is about to go wrong with an older customer, you can get sure it will get nasty.
Operational task take most of the time
Just realized that I haven’t updated my business plan since last year, but a lot of things have changed ever since. Not sure if I’m not seeing the big picture here due to the fact I spend almost all available time doing the things that “need to be done”.
No real exit strategies
What would be a good exit strategy from the business? Selling? But who would buy a business that is developed to run as part time?
Conflict with the regular job, fatigue
Conflict with the regular job seems to be a way of life for any part time entrepreneur. First of all, if both things are on the same domain, you will surely get to a point when you are doing something that you are not supposed to do, either at the regular job, either with your business. Moreover, being tired most of the time could cause other conflicts with your regular job. No boss will want you to get sleepy at work.
More fatigue and life balance
Have I ever told you how tired you can get after working all day long?
Variable commitment from your part time partners
Ok, so you have a good commitment to the company, but are your partners the same? Where is their braking point and how could their leave hurt the business? You can’t simply go an hire somebody else.
Financial rewards are not up to the efforts
Having some extra money from your business is good. But what is the price you are paying? Sleepless nights. Issues. Customers. Deadlines. Legal and financial stuff. Less time for your family.
what is the best outcome you can hope for?
And after all what could be the best outcome you can hope for after all this trouble? You can hope to made a full time business from your part time entrepreneurship. But is this what you want? Or you can hope to make enough extra income to feel financially secure and buy stuff. But will you really have enough time to take advantage of it? Really, what is out there? What if the next day you are going to wake up and say to yourself: why am I doing that for?
I don’t regret my part time entrepreneurship nor writing a blog on it. Because this is after all what defines you in life.