You’ve heard of entrepreneurship. And the idea of venturing into the business world with a new product or service, and striking huge success, may lead you to think of names like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.
Many entrepreneurs idolize these revolutionary figures, motivated by the massive profits from creating their own companies. But the unfortunate truth is that 90% of start-ups fail, and the glorified vision of becoming “the next big thing” never comes to fruition for the majority of those who try.
A more practical, and arguably more profitable, approach to starting a company is hybrid entrepreneurship. Strange term, I know. That’s why I’m going to tell you what it is, why you should consider pursuing it, and ways to ensure that you’re one of the 10% who finds success in a start-up endeavour.
What is Hybrid Entrepreneurship?
The term hybrid entrepreneurship can have multiple meanings, so let’s not get bogged down on the technicalities. Simply put, hybrid entrepreneurship is starting your own company while maintaining a full-time job.
Hybrid entrepreneurs have the financial stability of constant earnings, while also developing their new product or service. The balance between meeting full-time job demands and simultaneously starting a business is the epitome of a hybrid entrepreneurs’ role in the corporate world.
Why Hybrid Entrepreneurs Are More Successful
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin had a look at the differences in survival rates between businesses created by hybrid entrepreneurs and full-time entrepreneurs. They found that those who pursued the hybrid approach were 33% less likely to fail in their startups than those who jump into starting their own companies full-time!
But what are the reasons for this? And are they good enough to make you consider hybrid entrepreneurship as a viable career path rather than dropping everything to pursue a new business?
We suggest you keep reading before you make up your mind.
1. The Support of Financial Stability
First, hybrid entrepreneurs experience financial stability as a result of their full-time employment. In simpler terms, they’ve got a guaranteed paycheck! Full-time entrepreneurs, on the other hand, usually lack the funds necessary to surpass the small-sized enterprise stage of their startup life cycle.
Developing a new product or service with sufficient resources is a major advantage in sustaining and growing your business.
2. A Practical Outlook
But hybrid entrepreneurs are also able to be more practical and realistic when developing their businesses. Why? Because they’re not controlled by the “all or nothing” mindset of many full-time entrepreneurs. Approaching an idea and formulating proposals with a reasonable outlook on progress is a significant contributor to why hybrid entrepreneurs are ultimately more successful.
3. Time to Plan
An extension of the benefits associated with hybrid entrepreneurs’ financial stability is the time required to properly prepare and execute a profitable business plan. Because the majority of those with secure earnings are not rushed to rake in the profits and realize success overnight.
Rather, they’re able to spend time carefully preparing a strategy. This strategy has the potential to change and adapt to specific needs as internal and external challenges in the market are discovered.
Not only do hybrid entrepreneurs have more time to analyze the challenges present in an industry, but this time can also be spent identifying the skills necessary for executing their business proposition. They have time to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
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For example, Henry Ford created the infamous Ford Motor Company while working for the Edison Illuminating Company. At Edison, he discovered his exceptional ability to satisfy customers, and to identify the advanced technological skills necessary to create a successful motor vehicle business.
4. Testing. Testing.
Finally, hybrid entrepreneurs often have the ability and time to test the demand for their product. Full time entrepreneurs sometimes develop their business model under the assumption that consumers will love their product as much as they do – right from Launch Day.
But, sadly, this is not usually the case. Hybrid entrepreneurs have the advantage of discovering their market potential before investing enormous amounts of time and money.
Case in point is Pierre Omidyar, who founded eBay by creating a website called Auction Web, while also employed as a software developer at General Magic. After witnessing the significant online traffic to Auction Web before the platform was even fully developed, Omidyar was confident in the demand for this service and launched eBay. The rest, of course, is history.
Tips to be in the 10%
We know what you’re thinking. If hybrid entrepreneurship is this great, then why haven’t more people caught on?
The simple answer is – it’s hard, and it takes some serious commitment. In fact, hybrid entrepreneurs face a number of challenges on a daily basis.
They’ve got to juggle a full-time job and start their own business, despite having only 24 hours in a day. Most people can only do one at a time, if that!
So, you’ll need to know how to effectively plan and manage your time and expectations if you want to pursue this career path. These qualities should already be in your skill set, and if they’re not, you should be committed to developing them.
You’ll also need to know how to organize and structure a business plan. And if you don’t, get help! Because we’ve seen this movie before. You know, the one where a startup kicks off with an idea or passion for a particular product, but fails because they neglected to form a concrete strategy for its development.
Be sure to do some extensive research on the history, current trends, and expected future of the industry. This will help you to understand the demand for your offering, the competitive environment, and what you’ll need to do to survive and thrive.
[bctt tweet=”Understand the demand for your offering, the competitive environment, and what you’ll need to do to survive” via=”no”]
The last tip before pursuing hybrid entrepreneurship is to consider the legal implications of starting your own business.
We’d recommend that you chat to your employer, and make sure that they understand that this won’t interfere with your commitment to your job. It can be a tough conversation, but it’ll protect you if your employment contract stipulates against a second source of income.
This Could Be You
So, if you’re unsatisfied with your day job, or have a business idea you’re passionate about pursuing, then perhaps hybrid entrepreneurship is for you.
And with that, we wish you all the best on starting and growing your passion. And if you need any help, we’ve got you covered.
About the Author: Anna Sulger, Valoro Intern and Student at Harvard University