An elite professional like you can become a successful entrepreneur—while keeping your day job
We hear many stories about celebrity entrepreneurs—big names, big thinkers—who are unfrazzled by extreme situations and willing to take on serious risks. They may be fearless pioneers, avid gamblers, or heirs to substantial capital, having the financial freedom necessary to go all in on their new ventures.
However, while these cases are intriguing, they are few and far between. In fact, history has shown that, when it comes to entrepreneurship, those willing to assume a moderate amount of risk (as compared to extreme risk) have an upper hand—and for good reason.
In business, the savvy entrepreneur balances risk in one area with caution in another. They are logical in their thinking and intentional with their actions. This is particularly true for elite professionals who are starting their own side businesses for the first time.
Manage entrepreneurial risk through diversification
Elite professionals who start side businesses while maintaining their employment are likely to go through an optimization exercise similar to that of a financial portfolio. A financial portfolio is comprised of different investments with varying risk profiles, and its overall risk is managed through diversification—limiting exposure to any one type of asset.
Similarly, smart entrepreneurs tend to engage in a variety of activities (some more risky, some less), generally keeping themselves to a predetermined combined risk threshold according to their personal risk tolerance.
In his book Originals, world-renowned author, professor, and psychologist Adam Grant presents many examples of highly successful individuals across time and in various settings who used their primary employment as a hedge against uncertainty:
In 1893, Henry Ford began laying the foundation for his automotive empire but kept his employment as a chief engineer for Thomas Edison until 1899.
In 1922, T.S. Eliot published one of the 20th century’s most significant poems, The Waste Land, but remained employed at a London bank until 1925.
In 1964, former track star Phil Knight (co-founder of Nike) started selling running shoes from the trunk of his car but kept his job as a consultant until 1969.
Beginning in 1998, Sara Blakely took a conservative approach to introducing a new product, footless pantyhose, saving money on all fronts and even writing her own patent application. However, it wasn’t until the year 2000 that she quit her job as a National Sales Manager of an office supply company and officially launched Spanx.
In 2000, John Legend released his first music album and performed concerts at night, but he didn’t leave his management consultant job until 2002.
These individuals reached the pinnacle of their professional careers outside of their primary employment, but they maintained their core jobs for the purpose of financial security until they were ready to fully transition.
A sense of security can lead to great things
To most people, there is a secondary benefit of maintaining a sense of security: freedom to be truly visionary. It’s human nature to function most effectively in an environment with limited uncertainty. Entrepreneurs are no different. They need strong mental anchors.
Preserving a consistent income stream through full-time employment is a practical way to handle the uncertainty of starting a new business. It’s a safety net—as much financial as it is emotional. And rather than rush toward immediate (yet often unsubstantiated) success, this strategic approach allows you to bring your vision to life on your terms and according to your timeline.
Also, consider this: What if the business idea doesn’t pan out?
So long as you keep your current employment, you can continue to rely on earnings from your primary position to maintain financial stability.
The lender’s perspective
Lack of financing can be a major obstacle to progress, particularly for those starting their own business for the first time.
Experienced, successful professionals are highly respected members of our communities. They’re individuals with substantial earning potential and sensible business ideas, which financial service providers recognize.
In other words, character matters. Borrowers who show reliability are more likely to be approved for financing—and nothing demonstrates reliability like maintaining your current employment. Regardless of your chosen lender, keeping your primary job checks a very important box on your credit application: continuous income.
Quick tip: For the best chance of approval, large loan lenders like BHG recommend that applicants maintain a minimum annual income of $100,000+.
That said, approval is never guaranteed. Borrowers must complete an application to receive a credit decision. For their part, lenders are held to high underwriting standards: they are responsible for protecting their institutions against delinquencies and charge-offs.
To increase the likelihood of approval and to maximize your loan amount, you must be prepared to demonstrate financial strength and the ability to repay debt.
Consider BHG your trusted financial partner
Since 2001, BHG has helped experienced professionals like you expand into new markets and establish additional income streams.
We offer loans up to $500,0001,2 and pride ourselves on our dedicated concierge service, which you’ll experience throughout the funding process. Further, our repayment terms of up to 12 years1 give you affordable monthly payments that you can cover with earnings from your primary employment, particularly during the most critical times as you launch and ramp up your side business.
¹ Terms subject to credit approval upon completion of an application. Loan sizes, interest rates, and loan terms vary based on the applicant's credit profile. Finance amount may vary depending on the applicant's state of residence.
² BHG Money business loans typically range from $20,000 to $250,000; however, well-qualified borrowers may be eligible for business loans up to $500,000.
No application fees, commitment, or impact on personal credit to estimate your payment.
For California Residents: BHG Money loans made or arranged pursuant to a California Financing Law license - Number 603G493.