The Pros and Cons of Being a "Weekend" Entrepreneur

(This article is a part of the "Weekend Entrepreneur" series. If you find this interesting and would like to read other related articles, please check the “Weekend Entrepreneur” category in the left sidebar.)

The Pros
Why should someone consider being a "weekend" entrepreneur? Why not just go for it full-time? Here is a look at some of the good things about being a "weekend" entrepreneur.

Learn the ropes without the stress to succeed
No matter what the idea or what the plan of action is, unless you have done it before, there is a likely to be a steep learning curve. If the entrepreneurship is the primary beneficiary of your time, you will be under a lot of stress to succeed – both from yourself as well as the society around you. With so much pressure to succeed, it is more likely than not that you will choose some shortcuts. If on the other hand, you are a student or have a "day job", then you can relax a little and learn the details well, without being stressed to succeed immediately.

Have a lifeline during the growing stages
I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but it is a lot easier to start a project, than it is to make it a success. If you jump head first into the entrepreneurship project, and if you don’t succeed, you will be in deep trouble. Imagine learning to be a trapeze artist without a safety net or learning to swim in the middle of the ocean without a lifeline. Having a job, or getting a college degree is like your lifeline, or your insurance policy. If your entrepreneurial venture makes you a millionaire, great! If not, you still have your degree or your day job to tide you over and pay the bills.

Freedom to pursue multiple options and figure the one that works best for you
If you decide to go full-time into your entrepreneurship project, once you start something, you are stuck with it. If halfway down the line you realize that it is not what you wanted, or if you come across another great idea, you just don’t have much choice. Since you have already spent a lot of time, and possibly some money on the first project, you may choose to stick with it and shelf your newer idea. On the other hand if you are a weekend entrepreneur, you can try out different things and see what works for you. Only after you find what works, you can decide to commit yourself to it full time.

Freedom to experiment with different creative ideas
Again, if you dive off the deep end, you need to ensure that you succeed. With that kind of pressure, you may not want to take many risks. You may have to suppress some creative ideas. If you are a weekend entrepreneur, on the other hand, you are not under so much stress to get things done ASAP. So you can take some detours. Investigate some creative avenues. Take a few chances and risks. You never know, maybe strayig off the chartered course is what will bring you the success!

The Cons
So, should everyone be a "weekend" entrepreneur? Heck no! For every pro, there is an equal and opposite con. Here are some bad things about not going for it full time

There may not be enough time to devote to your entrepreneurial project
Since your primary commitment is to something other than this entrepreneurial project, it is very likely that you will not have enough time for this project. Now if you just want to try something out as a hobby, then this may not be that big a deal. But if you want to seriously succeed and turn yourself into a millionaire, then you will certainly need to spend a lot of time nurturing your project. A "weekend" entrepreneur may just not have the time, since there are only so many hours in a day.

You may spend all the time dreaming and learning and never really "doing" anything
With other priorities laying claim on your time and energy, you may spend all your spare time dreaming, planning and learning about what and how you want your venture to be. This is, in my opinion, one of the biggest threats to a "weekend" entrepreneur. I find that by the time I decide to do something, it’s usually late Sunday afternoon, and I just put it off for the next weekend. And come next weekend, the cycle just repeats itself.

With your time and energy split between two things, you may not succeed at either
Again, there are only so many hours in a day. And there are only so many cycles that your brain can spare. With different things pulling you in different directions, there is a very real chance that you may not succeed at either! Success requires commitment and devotion. While trying to get things right on two different things, it is very easy to drop the ball on both.

So, when do you have a "life"?
The weekdays are for the day jobs. The night and weekends are for the entrepreneurial project. So, when do you have a life? When do you meet friends? When do you catch up with folks and relatives? How do you squeeze “personal time” into this schedule packed to the hilt with “things to do”?

After making that list of the pros and cons, it seems like weekend entrepreneurship isn’t going to be very easy, unless I am prepared to stretch myself thin. And I certainly am not interested in full-time entrepreneurship right now. For one, I have spent way too many years of my life in school and I intend to get a good return on my investment. My current job pays me well, so it’s a good start. Two, the job is challenging and enjoyable, and I like my colleagues. Three, at this point in time, I am a little risk-averse. I intend to keep my cushy job - unless “they” let me go, that is. So for now, things are in the limbo. I have a ton of ideas, some of them I think can make it big with some effort and enterprise. But, for now, I am just content to dream and plan. I don’t know if I will ever get around to really “doing” anything. But that’s what this series is for. To get dreamers to act. I hope to motivate one person at a time. Starting with me.

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