Should your Start-up be a Side-Project?

It takes lot of inertia for you to start your own venture. Not just on idea or, finding a co-founder even personal situations need to be thought through before you start. After i jumped-on i get asked by lot of friends- What should be the right time or stage to jump full time on a startup idea.

I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences. Once again like my one of the previous posts, my thoughts are very much applicable to a particular group, the group i defined here. But after starting up I’ve very young friends, some almost half of my age. So i want to address the question for both groups. So lets tackle the easier one first…

I. You are someone

a. who has recently graduated (<2 years),

b. who doesn't work for big multinational such as google, microsoft etc (not that i hate them but with such nice environment, luxurious offices, and excellent employee benefits) you are spoiled kid for a startup!

c. whose family (parents) is ready to help you sustain for next 2 years.

If you have you got 2 out of 3 ‘YES” — then my suggestion is you must give it a hard try as soon as possible. Find a mentor, team up with a friend, clean-up your disk & get rid of all previous seasons of game of thrones- Welcome to the Startup World. Your risk is very very low and there is no need to do it as side-project. You got 40–50 years of professional career, so spend next few years on your start-up with laser sharp focus.

And now for the real brave ones.

II. Again as i discussed in a past post, if you have spend more than a decade in a settled job, and have direct family responsibility then it is lot more complex to quit day-job to pursue your startup idea. The simplest is that if you got your finances (apart from exigencies) in place, idea and co-founder are figured out, then you don’t need to worry, you are almost like the first group with just few years of lag.

But if you are still undecided on many things then you have lot more variables to handle, here is a 7-point plan for people like us before quitting the day job:

  1. Formalize your idea, buy the domain-name, register an LLP or private corporation , get an office space at a co-working space, all this will put a structure to your execution.
  2. Start a 6 day working week- Every Saturday morning / public holiday show up at your start-up office and work like a regular day, do this for 15–20 weeks, not just it will help you to refine your idea but commitment of founding team will also show up during the process.
  3. One important thing to note is kind of job you have, if you are in role that your day-job requires you to work more than 50–60 hours a week, it is going to be impossible for you to work few hours every day on your startup idea. So you need to sincere and ethical with your day-job while working on your ideas, may be you need to figure out a role which allows you some more bandwidth.
  4. Treat this as an independent business, think like a CEO- since you have a day-job small expenses for your startup will not hurt you but don’t make this as a habit. Be accountable for every minute and every dollar you spend on your idea.
  5. Show up at every possible startup event, present your idea, network with people. Know the challenges what full time founders are going through. Hiring and getting initial sales are going to your biggest challenges. This is your time to build a plan around that.
  6. Start gaining popularity in startup world- your twitter and facebook profiles probably are too open for you to start talking about your idea. But build an audience and network at Product Hunt, Reddit, Quora, Hacker news — you will find some awesome feedback as well as early adopters on these platforms.
  7. And finally build the check-points, you don’t need to have paying customers or 100k free sign-ups before you quit. All you need is a discipline determination and direction. The day you feel you are enjoying your side-project more than your day-job, call it quit.

And in the end i want you to know that some of the great products such as Craig-list, Buffer, and GitHub were built as side-project. SO it is possible to build your startup that way, you need planning, execution and right timing to jump-on full time and hopefully things will fall in place.

Would like to leave you with 3 small quotes as well

Things which you hate to do make you a better person — Discipline, Hardwork and exercise are just few examples
What doesn't kill you makes you strong
Be a Dreamer

To read more startup stories please visit here

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Comment by santhosh on August 4, 2016 at 11:03am

Superb work , I have visited your site for the first time. Thank you very much for having such a informative blog!
it's far going to be not possible so as to work few hours each day on your startup idea. so that you want to sincere and moral along with your day-task even as working on your ideas, I'm a professional resume writers can be you want to discern out a position which allows you some greater bandwidth.



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