Entrepreneurs & Day Jobs – How Did They Find The Time?


There are success stories on both sides of the spectrum – entrepreneurs who dropped out of their school or day job to pursue their vision, and entrepreneurs who built their business on the side, while still working or studying full-time.

There are plenty of stories out there revolving around the greats and their methods of success. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson; dropouts turned billionaires.

But, what about the ones who decided to stick it out in a full-time job or university, while keeping their vision and building their businesses on the side? Today, I’m going to look at 4 of those entrepreneurs and how they managed to find the time to create billion-dollar companies while taking on full-time work.

Markus Persson – est. net worth of 1.4 billion

Markus Persson is the legendary creator of Minecraft – the simple, 3-D animated video game that went on to sell to Microsoft for $2.5 billion. He didn’t drop out of college to do it, either. Persson began developing the Minecraft independently as his own personal project while working at King.com, the makers of some pretty famous apps like Candy Crush. He then even went on to change jobs and started working at jAlbum.

He finally launched his game in 2009, and quit his job after sales steadily began expanding to work full time. Persson created the game company Mojang, and went on to sell Minecraft to Microsoft in 2014.

He’s a legend. By creating a visually simple, immensely satisfying sandbox game, Persson became a billionaire with an idea he pursued while working a full-time job. What is his number one recommendation for time management?

“I think that actually beginning to work on something is more important than thinking about it. Just get started – even if it isn’t something big. Start small… If you just sit around planning something and don’t do it, you won’t ever get anywhere – for some, that’s the biggest waste of time. I also think, for me, working on Minecraft was like another job. But, it was also my hobby. Since I was passionate about it, and did Minecraft as a hobby, I made the time, learned faster, and believed in myself.”

Sara Blakely – est. net worth of 1.01 billion

Sara Blakely worked a full-time day job selling fax machines while toying around with her idea of Spanx, briefs/leggings that comfortably helped shape a woman’s appearance. She worked that sales job a total of two years and sold fax machines from 9-5, and Spanx pantyhose by night and weekends. Sara didn’t resign until she was 100% sure that her idea would take off after Oprah Winfrey named Spanx her “favorite product”. She’s now worth an estimated $1.01 billion.

Here’s what Sara has to say about time management:

“Personally, the word time-management is hard for me. I didn’t manage time, I just used more of it. Instead of sleeping, I’d drive back and forth from Atlanta to North Carolina where I would always just encounter a bunch of “no’s.”

Larry Page and Sergey Brin – est. net worth of 35.7 billion and 35 billion

My last two are the founders of one of the most iconic names in technology: Google.

Page and Brin weren’t employed in full-time jobs when they created Google, though. They were in an arguably rougher curriculum – both were current students at Stanford University.

Before they started working on what would soon become Google, Page and Brin met through a Stanford school tour, which Brin had volunteered to guide. They didn’t kick it off well at all, though. They debated on various topics, and thought each other to be strong-opinioned and obnoxious.

The idea behind Google sprang from the necessity of a groundbreaking doctoral thesis. Page knew his career would rest on his thesis, so he spent a long time thinking before coming up with the idea to create a crawler that indexed links throughout the world wide web. Brin was blown away by the idea, so he jumped at the chance to help with the mathematics involved in the project.

The idea behind time management and balancing a work schedule with these two is much different than our first two entrepreneurs listed. Larry Page and Sergey Brin did what most entrepreneurs fail to think about doing – they combined their thesis work (day job) with their vision of creating a business.

Here’s what you need to take away from their story: It’s possible to leverage your day job to build your business.

There are a ton of things you need to avoid so you don’t get fired or sued for “working on company time,” but that doesn’t mean those 8 hours of your day job need to be wasted. For you, in a full-time job, it’s important to take on projects that will give you valuable skills for your new business. You also could have the opportunity to explore untapped markets within your current business’ structure.

Don’t get yourself fired, but don’t let your day job become a place where you go only to get a paycheck – learn from every aspect of it as possible.

While there are several different ways to go about managing your new business while working a day job, there is always one common, universal factor needed to execute it correctly: Passion.

In every one of these examples, these entrepreneurs were driven by an unkillable need to make their visions a reality. Without passion, you’ll never be able to take on the monumental task of creating a successful business. Besides, as the adage goes, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.


Anthony Aires is a speaker, information and software publisher, and a trainer. He has been an entrepreneur for more than half his life. He started leveraging the internet in 2002 by implementing SEO to generate leads for his real estate brokerage in Downtown Boston. Since then Anthony has gone on to create, launch, manage, and sell several internet businesses and brands while generating 7 figures in revenues. But he'll be the first to tell you he worked his ass off to get to where he is and it was a bumpy road having to declare bankruptcy twice in his life. You might not like the truth's he speaks, but at least you know you're always getting an honest answer!