Moonlighting: most entrepreneurs don't quit the day job first

Written on the 21 January 2014

If you keep your day job while you moonlight on a business start-up, you're in good company. A new study suggests that most entrepreneurs don't quit the day job first.

The "entrepreneur index" released by print, design and web specialist Snap is based on a survey of more than 200 Australian entrepreneurs.

Nearly one in four (23 per cent) claimed they rented and set up a new office while still an employee and a further 23 per cent freelanced on the side. Fifteen per cent of respondents actively prospected for business and 6 per cent prospected to existing company clients. Only 4 per cent spent the time preparing marketing collateral and websites.

Of course, this lets the entrepreneur hedge their risk, but it's not necessarily a bad thing for their employers either. Some companies, such as internet publisher Mi9, actively encourage entrepreneurship as a way to hang on to their best staff.

Confidence among entrepreneurs is high. More than half (58 per cent) of respondents said they were either extremely or fairly confident of success if they started a new business tomorrow.

More than two out of three (67 per cent) picked technology as a buoyant sector, while 45 per cent picked food, 42 per cent leisure and 38 per cent business services such as HR or marketing.

At the other end of the scale were fashion (12 per cent), retail (12.5 per cent) and manufacturing (11.5 per cent).

But while 56 per cent thought this year would be a good time to start a business, 79 per cent picked 2016. A third said they planned to start a new business within the next 12 months, while 20 per cent were thinking about it.

Entrepreneurialism also emerged as not for everyone, with 9 per cent of those questioned admitting they'd consider a return to working as an employee. The top reason for this emerged as inability to earn enough money (44 per cent), stress (22 per cent), loneliness (17 per cent) and too many hours (11 per cent).

Snap chief executive Stephen Edwards says he wants to make the entrepreneur index an annual event.

"It's very encouraging to see such confidence in the market, and while 2016 is predicted as the best time to do this, with the right preparation, there's no reason why it can't be successful today," Edwards says.

Andy Sheats, co-founder of, would agree "if you have a business idea, the best time to attack it is always now."

To view the original Financial Review article please click here

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