65% of Successful Entrepreneurs Started Their Business Part-Time


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When I decided to write my first book Rich Habits I literally had only one to two hours every morning available to me. I was running a CPA firm and had just started my financial planning practice. Plus I had three youngish kids.

One of the many things I uncovered in my Rich Habits research on self-made millionaires was that 65% had started their successful businesses on the side, while still working full-time. I decided to take a page out of their book when I wrote Rich Habits.

The only available time, for me, was in the early mornings, including Saturdays and Sundays. So, every single day for six months I got up between 4-5 am and wrote for one to two hours, did 30 minutes on my StairMaster and then headed off to work. Rich Habits would go on to become a #1 Amazon Bestseller and provided me with the morning routine template I would use for all of my subequent books. As it turns out, I’m not the only entrepreneur who built their business on a part-time basis. Many very well-known millionaires squeezed in their passion in the early morning hours:

Brian Koppelman

Koppelman is a screenwriter, novelist, director and producer. He is the co-creator and co-producer of the huge hit Billions. He also was the producer for the Illusionist, one of my favorite movies, and the co-writer of Rounders and Ocean’s Thirteen. Koppelman co-wrote Rounders with a bartender friend of his in the early mornings. He and his friend spent two hours every morning writing that screenplay before they both headed off to butter their bread.

Khaled Hosseini

Hosseini wrote The Kite Runner in the early mornings before he went off to his full-time job as a doctor. His book was so successful, Hosseini was able to retire from medicine to write full-time.

John Grisham

Grisham, author of numerous blockbuster books, wrote The Firm and A Time to Kill, in the early mornings before heading off to work as an attorney. The Firm initially failed as a book. Grisham stored over a thousand copies of The Firm in the trunk of his car. he eventually threw them into a dumpster. His agent suggested he write another book. So, while still working full-time as an attorney, Grisham wrote A Time to Kill. Instead of pitching the manuscript to traditional publishers, the agent sent it off to someone he knew in Hollywood. They loved the story and decided to turn it into a movie. The Hollywood executives asked the agent if Grisham had any other books. The agent sent them The Firm. When word got out that Tom Cruise signed on to the movie, The Firm quickly sold millions of copies.

Joy Gendusa

Gendusa, CEO and founder of Postcard Mania, started her business on the side, while working full-time. Postcard Mania now employs more than 200 employees and brings in more than $40 million a year in revenue

Wally Amos

You’ve probably had a Famous Amos chocolate chip cookie at some point in your life. Amos is the founder of those Famous Amos cookies. It started out as a hobby. Amos was a full-time talent agent for the William Morris Agency. In 1967, Amos left William Morris and moved to Los Angeles, where he struggled to set up his own personal management company. Burdened with the debt of his failing business, Amos began to take comfort in baking chocolate chip cookies. Using a modified recipe of his Aunt Della, he opened his first Famous Amos cookie store on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles in 1975. Within months, Amos had opened two more West Coast franchises, and the New York-based Bloomingdale’s department store began selling the his Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies, turning him into a household name.

There’s no set formula for becoming successful. Every self-made millionaire is different. But I can tell you from my research that success leaves clues. One of the clues I found was consistency. All self-made millionaires go at it every day. They are consistent and persistent. Even just one to two hours a day can turn your dream into a successful business if you develop a daily routine and stick to that routine, day in and day out.



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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. It’s good to know how passionate these people are in their craft. Anyone can be an entrepreneur, all they need is passion and courage to pursue it. Continue dreaming and you will definitely reach success in the end.

  2. It is indeed true that success doesn’t have a formula. You have to work hard and reach the right people for your business. Learning how they were able to find their way to success is very inspiring and must be followed by every budding entrepreneurs.

  3. This is very inspiring. These stories of success are my motivation.

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