New Year, New Way To Work? Plan C: The Full-Time Employee and Part-Time Entrepreneur

By: Indiana Small Business Development Center Last Updated: January 3, 2012

PlanCCoverWritten by Dr. Erin Albert

There’s officially a new way to begin viewing entrepreneurship in this country. I actually began witnessing an emerging trend from my last book project, Single. Women. Entrepreneurs. I kept finding more and more women performing multiple jobs simultaneously in their careers. They had day jobs, AND worked on the side with an entrepreneurial endeavor in some cases. Wanting to know more, I unearthed a new way of working in America that we all should consider moving forward in this new global economy. I call it Plan C.

Plan A is typically when someone graduates from college, he or she then tries and gets the very best day job s/he can. Unfortunately in this economy, many have been laid off from that very best day job. Plan B is chucking the idea of the day job and going to full-time entrepreneurship only if someone carried along that dream of someday owning a business. Unfortunately, that in many cases leads to working three times as hard for a third of the money that the day job supplied. This could lead (and often does lead in many cases as the statistics bear) to being broke and going out of business, exhausted.

Many entrepreneurs have chosen Plan C. Plan C is having the full-time professional day job AND a part-time business or entrepreneurial endeavor on the side. There is a batch of professionals out there, Plan Cers I call them, who are doing both. This, I argue is a safer way to start a business, because it allows for the financial support of a stable day job, but also allows for entrepreneurs at heart to truly create multiple streams of income and financial independence, ultimately. About twenty professionals in the book agree with me, who are actually living the Plan C life currently, or lived it and then moved on to full-time entrepreneurship. Through this book, I explore how people are doing both. In addition to those doing both, I unearthed a few trends as well:

1. People who are trying part-time entrepreneurship are professionals first. They realize that day jobs are important, and many actually went to professional schools and continued the professional day job before starting their own businesses. For example, there are pharmacists, attorneys, engineers, and others in the book who have successfully managed to balance the day job with the part-time business on the side.

2. The Plan Cers have one of two ultimate goals. Plan Cers, or those who are working full time at a day job and opened a part-time business want to go one of two ultimate paths—they either ultimately want to arrive at full-time entrepreneurship, OR they want to keep the professional day job long-term AND the business(es) on the side. There are different philosophical camps on this, but most whom I interviewed had one of the two clear paths delineated.

3. There are also important support systems available for the Plan Cer. In the book, on top of the interviews with the Plan Cers, I also interviewed three different coach/support professionals for the person who is either contemplating the Plan C lifestyle or living it—an attorney (Indiana native, Kenan Farrell, Esq. of KLF Legal), a life/business coach, and a money coach (Pete The Planner). It is really important to get all three lines (legal, life, and money) in proper alignment before managing both the day job and the entrepreneurial endeavor. Each gives important and sage advice to contemplate regarding the Plan C lifestyle, and what pitfalls to avoid.

4. Plan C is a great retention strategy for big businesses with the best day job employees. Big businesses need strategies for retaining top talent. One way to retain the best and brightest and have them bring more value back to the day job is by allowing them to start a part-time business on the side. While there are some issues to work around (as I mentioned in the previous bullet), employers who employ Plan Cers get more benefits from having intrapreneurial and entrepreneurial thinkers on their payroll. The big business day jobs get access to the Plan Cers’ networks, social capital, and connections in the community. The Plan Cers bring their creative, innovative minds to the day job, and the Plan Cer benefits from seeing the bigger picture of big business by being an entrepreneur him or herself. There are a lot of other benefits enumerated in this book for the employers of part-time entrepreneurs.

Lastly, there are many who can benefit from reading this book. College students fresh out of commencement who cannot find their “dream” job should read this book in order to start an entrepreneurial dream, along with mid-level career professionals who are either bored or unfulfilled with their day jobs, or want a change, but perhaps have bills to pay and need to keep the stable day job. Lastly, the book is ideal for professionals who are near the end of their careers and preparing for retirement, who can plan ahead, start a business before they leave the workforce, and prepare for full-time entrepreneurship after their day job retirement.

The way that we work now is project-based. We can no longer rely on merely one stream of income in a global economy—as the old adage becomes true, never put your (career) eggs in one basket. Although there are professionals who truly think the ONLY way to successfully start and grow a business is by managing it 100% of the time, 24/7/365, I argue that there’s a smarter way to grow a business in an unsteady economy. It’s called Plan C, and this book shows how other people have learned to live the Plan C dream, despite a bad economy. This new year, consider this growing trend to re-create how we work in Indiana and America, and redefine the new American Dream.

Dr. Erin Albert recently released her seventh book, Plan C: The Full-Time Employee and Part-Time Entrepreneur, which challenges intrapreneurs in the work force to consider entrepreneurship in a different way. For more on the author, logon to her writing website at:, or her company’s website, She provides today’s guest blog post, discussing the trends she found while writing this latest book. The book is available in e-format at, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and at the publisher’s website in several different electronic formats.