Consider an entrepreneur who builds a business through personal effort. This might be called sweat equity or getting your hands dirty.

What is a concise phrase, preferably a single word, which represents the opposite?

As requested, here's an example of how the word I imagine might be used in context:

By leveraging prototyping-as-a-service, manufacturing-as-a-service, and fulfillment-as-service, Jim was able to build an end-to-end business without ever getting his hands dirty. He called this approach [WORD] production.

  • Well, if it involves theft, or at least questionable means, the term is "scott free". – Hot Licks Mar 24 '17 at 1:09
  • 3
    If there was little or no direct involvement then his role or participation was hands off. – Drew Mar 24 '17 at 2:01
  • Building a business through your own effort is not what "sweat equity" means. However what you're looking for might be manager, overseer, possibly absent landlord (although that has negative connotation). I doubt you can handle this in one word--it took you two sentences to describe the opposite. – Xanne Mar 24 '17 at 2:01
  • Drew I think you've come the closest so far. Add that suggestion as an answer and if I see nothing better I'll accept it. – John Vandivier Mar 24 '17 at 2:10
  • "Other people's money" or "other people's labor" go to not getting your hands dirty. – fixer1234 Mar 24 '17 at 8:07

A neutral noun is silent partner:

Silent partner: a partner in a business who has no control over how the business is managed - Macmillan Dictionary - American English definition

For adjectives, arm's length or long-distance:

Arm's length: a distance sufficient to exclude intimacy - Based on WordNet 3.0

Long-distance: of, from, or between distant places - Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary

  • Excellent word for the entrepreneur (noun), but I am looking for a term about his activity (verb). The silent partner does what? Take a look at the question where I now added an example paragraph for context. – John Vandivier Mar 24 '17 at 20:46
  • Do you want arm's length? The example seems to call for an adjective, maybe long-distance, repackaged, or your own word, leveraged. – Yosef Baskin Mar 24 '17 at 20:53
  • ah right. I need an adjective that's true. Yes I think arm's length or long-distance would be suitable. Add that to your answer and if I see no better answer I'll accept your answer. – John Vandivier Mar 24 '17 at 21:03

You could say the individual built the business through unscrupulous means.

Unscrupulous: Unscrupulous, unprincipled refer to lack of moral standards or conscience to guide one's conduct. The unscrupulous person is without scruples of conscience, and disregards, or has contempt for, laws of right or justice with which he or she is perfectly well acquainted, and which should restrain his or her actions: unscrupulous in methods of making money, in taking advantage of the unfortunate.

While it may seem extreme for characterizing one who's merely built a business without much personal effort, it's an appropriate term that's commonly used to describe dishonest behavior.

If, however, you're looking for a term to describe one who's merely had everything handed to them instead of having to work for it, or someone who's gotten away, as @Hot Licks mentions, scott-free, you could say they're privileged.

The privileged businessman barely exerted any effort in building his empire.

  • I don't intend unethical means. I do intend something like privileged, but I'd like a more neutral term if possible. Or even one with a positive connotation. I also considered 'white-glove' and 'handsfree' along these lines. – John Vandivier Mar 24 '17 at 1:34
  • Downvoter, care to elaborate? – AleksandrH Mar 24 '17 at 20:01

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