In the 1970s, Steve Wozniak worked at Hewlett-Packard, designing engineering calculators. After work and on weekends, he spent hours developing what would later become the Apple 1 computer. It wasn’t until this computer was ready to hit the market that Wozniak resigned from his job at Hewlett-Packard and co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne. We all know the rest of that story.
This “hybrid” approach of entrepreneurship is a smart approach. In fact, according to a study by Professors Joseph Raffiee and Jie Feng at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, hybrid entrepreneurs who give up their jobs in stages are 33 percent less likely to fail than those who leave their jobs to run their start-ups full time.
Published in the Academy of Management Journal, the study suggests that entrepreneurs should take small steps, perfecting their skills, gaining knowledge about the new business, testing demand for the product/service and launching a new venture in stages.
Below are some tips on developing a business using the staged approach known as hybrid entrepreneurship.
Don’t let go of your primary source of income
While you may have a large pile of savings set aside for developing a new business, this nest egg can be depleted quickly. As a result, keeping a steady paycheck can be extremely important when it comes to paying the bills and reducing your stress level.
And, should you get into your side business and realize that you don’t actually want to pursue it or that there’s no market for it, you have a steady job to fall back on while you pursue another venture or fine-tune your current one.
Another way to look at it is to think of your main job as a way of funding your side-job.
Make a list of every activity and obligation you have. See where you can make cuts in order to free up some time, as well as prioritize your commitments. The more time you free up, the more time you will have to dedicate to your new business.
Yes, this means you’ll miss out on going to the bar with your friends or going to see the premier of that movie at midnight. It might also mean that instead of coming home after a long day at work and crashing on the couch to watch your favorite TV show, you start a pot of coffee and get to work on your side job
Remember, it’s not forever and the little sacrifices and compromises you make now will be worth it in the end. You’ll have time to do those other things and more when you launch your own business.
Consider your strengths and weaknesses
Running a business requires you to wear many different hats, including CEO, customer service representative, accountant, lawyer, Internet guru, marketer, brand ambassador and administrative assistant. Because you can’t be an expert at every one of these jobs, think about outsourcing some roles. This can be a great solution for the weak links in your business.
It’ll also free you up to focus on the more complex tasks that only you can work on. Utilize freelance sites like Fivver and Upwork to find top talent. These sites allow you to post detailed descriptions of the type of work you want done, set how much you’re willing to pay, and have freelancers who fit your criteria bid on your job. You then get to check out the bidders profiles and experience and hire the freelancer you believe will do the best job.
Both platforms allow for safe, easy payment and progress checks.
Understand that failure is part of an entrepreneur’s journey:
According to Michele Romanow, named as Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women and one of the Dragons on the Dragon’s Den, the Canadian equivalent to Shark Tank, “Entrepreneurs have to fail. You shouldn’t feel like you’re not there—or you don’t have the perfect idea—you only really get there by trying a bunch of ideas.”
And as we mentioned above, if you’re a hybrid entrepreneur and your side business doesn’t pan out right away or in the way that you want, you don’t have to scramble to find a job. You’ll already have a job. This allows you to fail with a cushion to land on so you can get back up and start again.
Start building your future
The bottom line is that creating a business doesn’t happen overnight. Jeff Bezos started Amazon as a place to sell books back in 1994. Fast-forward a few decades and it’s a multi-billion dollar industry that has it’s hands in just about every major industry.
So, use a hybrid approach to make your big dream a reality. It’s the safest way to pursue and fund your dream. Follow in the steps of Steve Wozniak, and you’re certain to build an amazing empire!