In the course of the last few decades, establishing a business on the Internet has gained in importance. The reason for this is in particular the diverse possibilities of the Internet, which simplify the establishment of a company and hardly any risks (Projektify 2017). No wonder that many magazines and well-known founders keep quoting the phrase: “It has never been so easy to found a company”.

The aim of the study is to examine the activities and motives of founders on the Internet and to derive tips for website operators from them. In this study, 89 website operators were questioned online.

The most important results are that the majority of entrepreneurs on the Internet aim for a so-called sideline because they are faced with the risks of full-time self-employment. A part-time self-employment counts as part-time self-employment (maximum 35 hours / week) in addition to dependent employment or full-time self-employment (Inmit 2013, p.14). According to the kfW start-up monitor (2017, p. 1), almost 60% are carried out with the provisional goal of a part-time start-up.

The most common motives for setting up a part-time business include supplementing your income and trying out a business idea. After a successful test phase, this idea is pursued in some cases in the form of full-time self-employment. Despite the numerous marketing advantages of Internet companies, founders should not do without a business plan that counteracts the failure of a company. Choosing the right legal form is also crucial for the further course of business.

The survey of website operators showed that the earning potential of a part-time start-up on the Internet is fundamentally low, while some website operators can live from their part-time self-employment. There are two camps in terms of both the level of income and the time required. One camp of website operators invests less than 15 hours a week in self-employment and earns significantly less on average than the other camp, which spends more than 30 hours a week. A high number of visitors to the company website is also a factor in greater profits. When it comes to starting a business as a part-time job, the most popular are supplementing income, independence and the implementation of an idea. The earning potential of website operators is very broad, with affiliate marketing and online shops being the most common.

In summary, setting up a business on the Internet has been simplified in the long term, especially with so-called digital business models, and offers significantly less risk than traditional start-ups. This could be one reason why part-time start-ups based on such business models are increasing.

Download study pdf


KfW Bankengruppe, Dr. Metzger, G. 2017. “KfW Start-up Monitor 2017,” KfW Bankengruppe

In 2013. “Motives and success factors for start-ups as part-time business,” Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi)

Projektify 2017. “Anthology of selected articles on web projects, startups and companies,”

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