How Risky Is Entrepreneurship?

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 1 2012 @ 8:23am

Bruce Gibney and Ken Howery claim that entrepreneurship is a safer bet than other big-money jobs:

Few law students even get the chance to buy the losing lottery ticket: the government estimates that 215,417 jobs for attorneys will open between 2008 and 2018 and in the same decade, there will be over 430,000 new legal graduates so only half will get to practice in their chosen field (at substantial opportunity and tuition costs). By contrast, of 5,000 businesses started in 2004, almost 56% were still in business in 2010, despite suffering through a brutal economic downturn. Even as venture capitalists predisposed to have faith in new ventures, we were somewhat surprised that entrepreneurship has such favorable odds (the traditional rule of thumb in venture is that 4 out of 5 companies will flounder, although VC-backed tech companies may be somewhat riskier than the entire universe of new companies).