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relativity] was “the greatest feat of human thinking about nature, the most amazing combination of philosophical penetration, physical intuition, and mathematical skill.” Nonetheless, Einstein worked in the technical area of the Swiss patent office from 1902 to 1909. During this period—working alone, while maintaining his day job—he developed his initial theories and released his first great burst of papers. In 1908, he received an appointment to the University of Bern but kept his patent-office job for another year for security.

Einstein has probably been described as many things. This, however, may be the first time that he is recognized as the model for a go-it-alone entrepreneur. As an individual working alone, he accomplished one of the greatest feats of human achievement while he kept his day job!


Doing well at your day job while you build your entrepreneurial business is no easy feat. But with determination and hard work, you can do it. The principal benefit of this approach is clear: You can focus on creating the business without the added pressure of racing against the clock to have the business support you. A recurring theme in this book is that you never know what’s going to work and it may take two or three separate tries before you hit the right idea. By keeping your day job, you retain the ability to test each of these ideas from the dispassionate viewpoint of someone who doesn’t need them to work.

David Drucker, who transitioned from a successful investment adviser to a writer and a speaker on practice management issues, worked at both careers for about 18 months. “I was absolutely certain that my new career would be 400% more rewarding,” he says. “But I waited until I was 80% assured that I would generate enough income in the new career to meet my needs.”

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GO IT ALONE! Copyright 2004 by Bruce Judson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.