The shocking truth about being a cybersecurity entrepreneur 

 August 20, 2015

By  Jane Frankland

If you're a cybersecurity entrepreneur or want to be, I'm going to start off with 5 exciting facts.

  • Fact 1. The world is getting bigger and busier.
  • Fact 2. Opportunities abound.
  • Fact 3. Entrepreneurship is trending and cybersecurity is hotter than ever.
  • Fact 4. According to the latest statistics, by 2019, this sector is set to be worth $155.74bn.
  • Fact 5. The market is maturing. It's now threat aware and risk educated. Governments and businesses are paying attention too. For, cybercrime is costing between $300bn and $1trn in annual global losses, and it’s rising.

Whilst all of this is great news, having spent 18-years in the cybersecurity sector I’ve seen one consistent trend. Brilliant technologists start cybersecurity companies yet they frequently lack the required business development skills to drive their businesses forward. In fact, 90% fail within the first 20 months or limp along with small, stagnating revenues for years after until they die.

In penetration testing, this pattern is rife. With consultants in demand, salaries escalating, and a downward pressure on the day-rate many wouldn't argue that it's a hard business to be in. Today serves as an example. After an 18-year trading history, I witnessed another good company being wound up. The seven figure business was terminal and an end had to be called to its pitiful demise.

For me, this is tragic and I want to see this pattern stop.

In the UK our digital economy is growing 3 times as fast as our overall economy. We employ over a 1 million people and our businesses earn £1 in every £5 from the Internet. With our economy at stake, it's vital for cyber security entrepreneurs to succeed so we can combat online crime and ensure that large and small firms alike are protected.

I passionately believe that there's never been a better time to start your own business than now. Furthermore, that it's time for cybersecurity entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs (those who innovate and create products within organisations) to realise their potential and embrace this as true performance based businesses do.

So how they do it?

Performance based businesses operate in a state of readiness. They see opportunities when others don’t. They take measured risks, act fast and want what’s current. They put better above cheaper and revenue ahead of cost. They multiply their way to success. And, that's why the top 1% earn 30% of the income, leaving the top 10% to earn 70%, and the bottom 89% the remaining 30%.

Now smart, ambitious, cyber security business owners know that success leaves clues. They understand the value of what's on the table. That’s why they wisely model the behaviour of these performance companies.

As a result, they re-evaluate and modernise their approach. They work smarter and not harder. They play to their strengths and recruit well in order to compensate for their weaknesses. They build cultures, are mentored, collaborate with partners, align themselves with influencers, invest in their people and incorporate innovative technologies into their businesses. In many cases they get out of their own way. As a result, they climb the ladder of success until they’re up there with the performers and ready to exit.

Now, the good news is that you can do this too.

From my experience in the cybersecurity marketplace I know that becoming a performance company in this sector is about building 7 core strengths that anyone can learn and develop. Whether you’re starting out as a new cybersecurity entrepreneur or have been in business for a while, I'm confident that you’ll obtain value by discovering what they are. You can access them via a quiz and report here: Cyber Security Entrepreneur Quiz.

Now I want to hear from you…

In the comments below or in a private email, tell me what's your biggest frustration or challenge with being an entrepreneur or intrapreneur in the cybersecurity market.

Please share your stories and experience here, and if you’ve got a question, just pop it down here. If you want to contact me to discuss how you can improve business development for you or your team click here.

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Jane frankland


Jane Frankland is a cybersecurity market influencer, award-winning entrepreneur, consultant and speaker. She is the Founder of KnewStart and the IN Security Movement. Having held executive positions within her own companies and several large PLCs, she now provides agile, forward thinking organisations with strategic business solutions. Jane works with leaders of all levels and supports women in male dominated industries like cybersecurity and tech. Her book, IN Security: Why a failure to attract and retain women in cybersecurity is making us all less safe' is a best-seller.


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