Elodie Loremy Rizzo, co-founder of used clothing buying and selling platform Upcycli (Image: Courtesy)
leading businesses. “If I had continued, I would have gone crazy,” Genevieve Samson says of her decision to no longer dedicate herself to her online store My Little Flower Girl and to start teaching fashion marketing at Cégep Marie-Victorin, in Montreal, last January.
“It wasn’t because I was in the red when I took this job, but because I was alone in front of my computer for a year, says the one who started her own clothing company for flower girls. In 2021. It’s so lonely, entrepreneurial. No I didn’t think I would feel so isolated. I needed to see people.”
This is one of the reasons why hybrid entrepreneurship – sometimes called flexible entrepreneurship – which consists of getting a paid job while owning one’s own business, is popular in Quebec. About 80% of the province’s budding entrepreneurs were employed elsewhere for 2018-2020, compared to 67% in the rest of Canada, according to the latest report from Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. It is also increasingly frequent: this percentage has increased by 12.8% since 2013-2015 in Quebec.
The rise of hybrid entrepreneurship is linked to the economic maturity of the country, estimates Marc Duhamel, professor of economics at the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres (UQTR), who studies this phenomenon. In countries where wages are high and unemployment is low, this practice reduces financial risk.
“Hybrid entrepreneurship allows you to test new ideas while keeping your job,” he explains. In advanced economies, innovation, which often depends on intangible capital, such as knowledge or intellectual property, is more difficult for banks to finance. Therefore, work elsewhere is self-financing his project. »
The rescue of Elodie Lourimi Rezo, co-founder of used clothing sales and buying platform Upcycli, is already another business rescue. “The goal is to stabilize Mali,” she says. It is not true that one can live decently on minimum wage as well as reinvest money in business. It is not a choice, but a necessity. »
However, I have found that working since last year as a recruitment consultant for Cofomo has been a boon. “Instead of slowing Upcycli’s progress, he pushed it forward,” she says. Not a day goes by that I don’t learn something that could be of use to me. I feel like I am becoming a better entrepreneur; I learned to delegate and developed other skills. »
Genevieve Samson feels the same way. “While preparing for my lessons, I update my concepts on digital marketing, for example. It nurtures me to meet young people. I discover their point of view as well as open up a new network. I find that my job enriches my work.”
Clearly, lack of time is a danger. “The main trap is getting caught up in paid work,” warns Etienne Saint-Jean, professor of management at UQTR and holder of the Canada Chair for Research in Entrepreneurship. This can act as a brake as the entrepreneur misses opportunities. Many projects are stagnant because he does not have enough time. »
Although she loves her new job as a teacher, Genevieve Samson knows that it has an impact on the progress of her small and medium business. “I’ve lowered my expectations of my work,” she admits. I devote less energy to business development, so my sales are definitely growing slower. »
However, she is very happy with the flexibility provided by the two career challenges, allowing her to be there for her children. Moreover, part-time entrepreneurship is popular among mothers.
Long live the school!
This type of entrepreneurship is also the prerogative of students. Jules Raymond launched his own hemp bag shop, Sac Échantillon, when he was at CEGEP. He asserts that his presence on the school bench has served him well.
“Studying allowed me to participate in competitions, particularly those of the Association of Student Entrepreneur Clubs,” he notes. I won prizes that helped support me. This gave me a bad reputation: I was named Entrepreneur of the Month and was often part of the headlines. This encouraged me to keep going. »
He concludes, “It was a lot in my courses, but all of these activities facilitated the progress of my work.”
In general, the digitization of the economy facilitates business creation and hybrid entrepreneurship, Étienne Saint-Jean believes. “Better access to technology makes it easier to organize your activities and find clients,” he says. With technology costs so low, it’s easier to start a business while still keeping your job. He notes, “This is especially true in the service and distribution sector, but much less so in manufacturing.”
In short, even if some still view holding a job as a sign of weakness associated with a lack of income, this choice allows you to spend more time and reinvest profits in your entrepreneurial initiative while providing the same fresh air. The cost of perseverance.