How to create a profitable and part-time “leisure business”, Become a self-employed entrepreneur

While for decades we have regularly seen people marching in the streets to demand more purchasing power, we need to face the facts: it hardly rises *. At the same time, healthcare in France is becoming less and less reimbursed **, the pension financing system is increasingly threatened, and the idea of ​​working all his life for the same company has become a curiosity among the younger generations. It is perhaps among these reasons that more and more French people want to start their own business.
[45 % des Français sont tentés par l’entrepreneuriat selon un sondage paru en juillet 2020, ndlr] : they realize that in a modern form of Pascal’s betting, it’s better to count on themselves first and on the government then, because in any case, they will be winners.

Because if they move to create a business to improve their situation and bring value to the world, and that behind the government puts favorable measures in place, so much the better!

And if the government does nothing, then they will at least have tried something on their own, which will mechanically increase their chances of success.

Lean Startup access

But if creating a business tempts many, it’s also scary, which probably explains why so few French people who dream of it take action ***. To overcome this fear, there are two good schools of entrepreneurship.

First of all, those who tell you that you have to put yourself in a dangerous situation, that by burning your ships behind you, you will have only two options: win or die, and that will give you tremendous motivation.

So those who prefer to take measured risks, by applying a Lean Startup approach, that is, which tests a minimum viable product under real market conditions, with a minimal investment of time, energy and resources. . And if possible by keeping a steady source of income next to it until the idea is proven.

Of these two approaches, it is clearly the last one I recommend: it is on the one I trusted to stop school as an 18-year-old to set up my first business and then set up another business online and sell the original.

Create a “leisure business”!

There is also a strategy made possible by this approach, which is talked about a bit: to use it to not create a “complete” business, but simply a “leisure business”, ie. an activity that generates extra revenueand which does not have the ambition to replace our main source of income.

Having this approach has two important benefits:

First and foremost, it greatly removes the fear of starting a business: it’s not a matter of “becoming a boss”, but of “launching a profitable part-time project”. This immediately seems more accessible and inherently less risky.

2. If this activity works well, it may well give you the confidence to give up your job and dedicate yourself to it, which will make it a perfect “Lean Startup prototype”, and lead you to a transition that you have never had before would never have done without this initial project.

That’s exactly what gave me the confidence to quit school as an 18-year-old: it was certainly ruthless, but I trusted a field experience. Since we were very familiar with computers, a friend and I had realized that we were regularly asked about problems that seemed insurmountable to people, but which we solved with a flick of the finger. We noticed the few services offered and the poor quality of after-sales service in the stores, and we said to ourselves: “What if we made money on this by offering a home computer repair service?”

Test your idea with a few euros

We could have taken the “classic” path, collaborated with a support organization and made a preliminary assessment over three years, then requested funding from the bank and got started. But it was too heavy: we did not know if our idea would workwe still had our studies to do (and our high school diploma to pass!), and we had no desire to embark on a heavy and complex administrative epic.

So we decided to do a simple field test : Run a classified ad in a local newspaper and see what happens. At worst, we would have lost the equivalent of 5 euros each, not enough to whip a cat. The result exceeded all our expectations: For an initial investment of 10 euros, we achieved 760 euros in sales in one month! For teenagers who were used to having 8 euros in pocket money a week, it was incredible.

And I had gone to the customers, I had seen that I could really help them, that they were satisfied and that they had given me the money directly from hand to hand. That was what gave me the confidence to leave school so young, and create a business that lasted ten years and that I resold for a handsome sum to devote myself to an even more profitable and exciting business.

Dare to take action

And this is exactly the approach Chris Guillebeau, famous American blogger, offers you: create a “leisure” part-time businessnext to what you are already doing, with minimal risk and potential to do something you really enjoy!

I remember when I discovered The Art of Non Conformity, Chris’s blog, many years ago: I immediately loved the author’s honest and natural tone, the quality of his articles, and the design of his blog. I have even drawn a quote from it, which I then used many times with my readers and my students, and which I will share with you again here: “There is a much smaller gap between ignorance and knowledge than between knowledge and action” – Chris Guillebeau.

Reading his book [Side business, paru aux éditons Alisio, ndlr]you want to bridge the gap between ignorance and knowledge. It is then up to you to act to cross the other divideby using Chris’ many review tactics and strategies.

* “The French economy – Accounts and files – Insee”, 2018, and “Increasing purchasing power: the eternal nuance between the figures and the emotions of the French”, Le Monde, 2019. ** Implementation of the care process in 2004 with reduction of coverage in case of non-compliance, fixed contribution of 1 euro introduced in 2005 and 50 øre on medicines in 2008, fixed rate of 18 euros for actions costing 120 euros or more in 2015, compulsory health insurance for employees in 2016, etc. *** “Entrepreneurship, facts and figures”, Directorate-General for Business, 2017.

Olivier Roland wrote the foreword to the book “Side Business” by Chris Guillebeau.
– Fred Mary


Olivier Roland is an entrepreneur, lecturer and author of the book “Not everyone has had the chance to miss their studies”. This text is the preface to the book “Side Business. Start your complementary activity in 27 days ”, by Chris Guillebeau, published by Alisio, 329 pages, 23 euros.

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