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

While, for decades, we have regularly seen people marching in the streets to demand more purchasing power, we have to face the facts: it is hardly increasing*. Alongside this, health benefits in France are 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 partly for 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 bet, it is better to count on themselves first, and on the government second, 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 in place favorable measures, so much the better!

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

The Lean Startup approach

However, if creating a business tempts many, it is also scary, which probably explains why so few French people who dream of it take action ***. To overcome this fear, there are two great schools in 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 only have two options: win or die, and that will give you immense motivation.

Then those who prefer to take measured risks, by adopting a Lean Startup approach, that is to say, who test a minimum viable product under real market conditions, with a minimal investment of time, energy and resources. . And if possible by keeping a stable source of income on the side until the idea is proven.

Of these two approaches, it is clearly the last that I recommend: it is on it that I relied to stop school at 18 in order to create my first company, and to then create a second company on the web. and sell the original.

Create a “Leisure Business”!

There is also a strategy made possible by this approach and which is little talked about: using it not to create a “complete” business, but simply a “leisure business”, i.e. an activity that generates additional income, and which does not have the ambition to replace our main source of income.

Having this approach has two important advantages:

1. First of all, it largely erases the fears of setting up a business: it is not a question 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 very well give you the confidence to give up your work and devote yourself to it, which will make it a perfect “Lean Startup prototype”, and lead you to a transition that you never had before. would never have done without this initial project.

This is exactly what gave me the confidence to quit school at 18: it was certainly reckless, but I relied on a field experience. Being very comfortable with computers, a friend and I had realized that we were regularly approached for problems that seemed insurmountable to people, but that we solved with a snap of our fingers. Noting the few services offered and the poor quality of after-sales service in the stores, we said to ourselves: “What if we made money with this, by offering a computer repair service at home? »

Test your idea with a few euros

We could have taken the “classic” route, working with a support organization and making a provisional assessment over three years, then requesting financing from the bank and getting started. But it was too heavy: we didn’t know if our idea was going to work, we still had our studies to do (and our baccalaureate 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 was going to happen. In the worst case, 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 accustomed to having 8 euros of pocket money per 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’s what gave me the confidence to quit school so young, and create a company that lasted ten years and that I resold for a tidy sum in order to devote myself to an even more profitable and exciting business.

Dare to take action

And this is exactly the approach that Chris Guillebeau, famous American blogger, offers you: create a part-time “leisure business”, alongside what you’re 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 frank and natural tone of the author, the quality of his articles and the design of his blog. I even drew a quote from it, which I then used many times with my readers and my students, and which I share with you again here: “There is a much smaller chasm between ignorance and knowledge than between knowledge and action” -Chris Guillebeau.

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

* “The French economy – Accounts and files – Insee”, 2018, and “Increase in purchasing power: the eternal nuance between the figures and the feelings of the French”, Le Monde, 2019. ** Implementation of the course of care in 2004 with reduction in coverage in the event of non-compliance, flat rate contribution of one euro introduced in 2005 and 50 cents on medication in 2008, flat rate of 18 euros for acts costing 120 euros or more in 2015, compulsory health insurance for employees in 2016, etc. *** “Entrepreneurship, facts and figures”, Directorate General for Enterprise, 2017.

Olivier Roland wrote the preface 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. Launch your complementary activity in 27 days”, by Chris Guillebeau, published by Alisio, 329 pages, 23 euros.

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