Going All In vs Starting On The Side; Head to Head Comparison…

What separates successful startups from unsuccessful ones is not necessarily that they began with a better initial plan (or Plan A), but rather that they find a plan that works before running out of resources.

– Ash Maurya

Starting a business…

“I am starting my own business!”

There you said it.

Every startup enthusiast at some point in his/her life comes up with a business idea s/he thinks it too good to miss…

And even though that’s not necessarily the best way to start a business (hint: mainly because of the solution looking for a problem situation/risk), there still is a key question that needs to be answered:

Going all in or starting on the side?

That’s right – I am talking about the age-old dilemma: starting a part-time vs. full-time business.

And as you may imagine there are pros and cons to each option.

So, what today’s post will be about?

No surprises here. Taking a closer look at each one of them, doing a head-to-head comparison and deciding whether there is a clear winner or not…

Ok, let’s dive straight in.

Thinking about going part-time with your startup; Stop!

First, let’s start from the camp that thinks having a part-time business is a terrible idea.

Yes. Terrible…

Why is that?

Well, according to the “going all in or don’t bother at all” believers… a couple of reasons:

Reason #1: Lack of commitment (and time)

Classic, right?

I know…

Anyhow, the point here is that by juggling a job with a part-time business not only you risk jeopardising your work performance* but also slimming the odds of ever seeing your “newborn baby” take off.

And that last one is because since turning an idea into a success has time and time again proven to be more the exception than the rule, by not fully committing (both mentally and time-wise) you are self-sabotaging yourself and selling your business short.

Reason #2: Not driven enough for turning it into a real business

Why, I hear you ask?

Because in the opinion of the sidepreneur’ opponents you become more like a ‘startup hobbyist’ and end up not having the necessary drive for turning that thing into a real business.

Yep, having a stable job acts as a disincentive…

As they say, only when your livelihood is on the line you’ll have ‘a failure is not an option’ type of attitude and be mentally prepared and determined to do whatever it takes to overcome any obstacles are thrown at you.

Reason #3: You’ll get burned out

And last but not the least comes the burn out factor.

I am sure this argument doesn’t come as a surprise.

After all, any kind of part-time business comes with almost a requirement (or at least that’s the claim) to accept sacrificing your evenings, weekends or even holidays which makes getting time off for resting and enjoying life a non-option.

The end-result?

That’s right – getting a “good-old” burnout…

And yes, that rarely ends up pretty.

So, is it time to put your side-business dream on hold?

Think again!

Starting a business on the side is much better: Here is why!

Yes my friends, as they say, “in every story there are 2 sides.”

What’s the other story?

Building a startup while you have a parachute is a much better way.

And here is why…

It gives you the luxury to iterate from a plan A to a plan that works

The logic behind this statement is simple:

Since building a startup by its nature is full of uncertainties and unknowns, instead of just hoping to be one of those rare outliers that gets everything right on the first try, buy yourself enough time until to figure it out.

After all, as Eric Ries, said once, “{the most important factor in a startup’s life} is “the number of iterations the company has left.”

And by keeping your job while taking your business off the ground will give you the necessary funds to survive throughout the ‘figuring out phase.’

It’s a low-risk and low-pressure way to start a business

Yep, let’s take things at a personal level.

Other than turning the business into a success, you have to also consider your own well-being.

Unless you have a nest egg (aka cash buffer) ready to be sacrificed, or maybe a risk tolerance through the roof relying on your fledgling business to pay the bills can be extremely stressful…

The alternative?

Keep your job and give yourself the time and breathing space to test the water and figure things out in a low-risk and low-pressure way.


My take on all this?

Between these 2 options there is NOT a clear winner and it all boils down to:

a) What kind of business you’re starting out (not all startup type fit the side-business model)

b) Your personal risk tolerance and life situation (savings, family status, personal career nature)

c) Personal lifestyle, idiosyncrasy, and ambitions

Having said that it’s not a secret that I am a big fan of the side-business model and yes I do believe the claims that having a side-project pretty much always lead to jeopardising your work performance and slimming the odds of turning your business success totally unfounded.

But… as I like to say it’s your life, you call the shots so act accordingly!

See you soon



Ok guys, that’s all from me for today.

If you enjoyed today’s post, check out my kindle book, The Aspiring Entrepreneur Entry Strategy: A practical step-by-step guide for finding a validated, winning business idea that stays true to who you are, that is currently available at Amazon.

I hope to see you soon.



“Success demands singleness of purpose”

– Vince Lombardi

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