Semi-Absentee Ownership: Is a Side Hustle Right for You?

A growing percentage of franchise owners are running their businesses “on the side,” thanks to the semi-absentee ownership model. Semi-absentee owners enjoy the benefits of franchising, including proven systems and unparalleled support, while devoting an average of 15 to 20 hours a week to their business. They’re able own a business without quitting their day job. The limited time commitment is possible because semi-absentee owners hire managers/employees to run the day-to-day operations of the business.

While this model was previously limited to brick-and-mortar businesses such as hair salons, laundromats, and car washes, opportunities have broadened, expanded, and become more affordable. Industries such as fitness, cleaning services, and executive recruiting are starting to successfully use this model.

Different reasons draw people to semi-absentee ownership. Some people plan to eventually leave their corporate job, but want to build up their side business first. Others want the financial security that multiple sources of income bring. Whatever the reason, most successful semi-absentee owners share these characteristics:

They’re risk reducers

Successful semi-absentee owners see the value of mitigating the risk inherent to starting a business. They prefer not to have all their financial eggs in one basket. And keeping their full-time job helps them weather the startup period until their franchise business becomes profitable.

They have patience and a significant income stream

The semi-absentee model works best when there is a significant different between what the owner will pay a manager and what the owner earns in their current job. This cushion helps the owner ride out the period during which the business grows to profitability.

They’re ready for the ramp-up

Launching any business, including a well-supported franchise, is time-intensive. At the start, even semi-absentee owners need to immerse themselves in the business and learn how the daily operations work. Maintaining close contact with the franchisor helps them learn best practices. And they keep initial costs down by handling the managerial duties themselves at the start, while working to grow the business.

Their calendar is flexible

Successful semi-absentee owners have enough flexibility in their lives to manage their new business effectively. Day jobs that require extended or frequent travel or a rigid schedule can make it difficult to run a side business. Owners with a degree of control over their professional and personal lives, who can devote adequate time to their business, are more likely to thrive.


If you see yourself in these descriptions, semi-absentee ownership may be something to consider. Diversifying your income provides a degree of security and assurance that you’ll be able to handle whatever comes your way with respect to the future of your day job. A final note of important advice: make sure to seek out franchises that are specifically suited to the semi-absentee model.