I think an important question that many entrepreneurs have are trying to balance the demands of the home & the demands of their exciting new enterprise. If an individual has large demands at home e.g. (little kids, wife, university, and a part-time job) is it feasible to dedicate the necessary requisite time to achieve success in his dreams of building his idea into a real enterprise? Especially nowadays when it seems that the "New" billionaires were single, 20-somethings dedicating every moment of every hour to their idea without stop until they achieved their goals.
When a person has that entrepreneurial bug & limited cash, but believes that he has a viable business model that can really take off & generate REAL revenues, what should he do? Should he believe the hype of the DropBox & Facebooks of the world or is there another road to success albeit on a different path?
Hi, I started a multimillion dollar company in my 30s while I was working a full-time job.
I think it's important to realize that the media picks up on and echoes stereotypes that are very exciting, but aren't necessarily reflective of most people. My experience has been that for every one Facebook and drop box formed by a young 20 something with no obligations, there are hundreds of other successful sites that were created by people in completely different situations. There are many paths to success.
However, creating a company from scratch does require a significant investment of time... either from yourself or others. If you don't have a lot of free time to spend per week, you have a few options
a) take your time to slowly develop it over a few years
b) Convince others of your vision, give them equity and get them to spend time on it.
And once you have a little traction and can demonstrate a working revenue model, you can take that to investors. And at that point, then you can hire other people to spend time on it.
If you have any follow-up questions, just give me a call here on Clarity and I'll be happy to answer more.
I did not leave my "day job" until I had the following:
1) Enough savings to sustain 3-5 years of no to little income
2) A business plan that outlined the cost and expenses of the new venture
3) A business strategy and working model for the new venture
In the meantime, I did my 'new venture' as a hobby on weekends and in the evening hours. This is where I mastered my craft, built a following, and proved my business model. This time allowed me to both "shake the kinks" out of my business model and fund the start-up costs while still gamefully employed. When I felt confident in my business model and had a good handle on the business start-up costs, I then met with my financial advisor to review my financial options.
Although I had limited cash, I was single, my home paid for, and had no debt. This financial foundation allowed me to feel free to leave my conventional job at the appropriate time and start my own business. This is because I had this step in mind for a long time and was preparing for it in advanced. I also meet regullarly with my financial advisor to review the goals and results. Constant re-evaluation allows me the confidence to stay with my plan - knowing that I have the triggers in place to change directions at the appropraite times.
Not many people can do exactly the same. But the important lesson is to have most of your ducks in a row, understand the financial needs of your enterprise (and how you are going to supply the required funding), and get objective input and expert guidance regarding when to step away from either your conventional job OR your new venture.
This line of strategy has worked for me.
There is no right time or wrong time to pursue an idea. And it's any help, I have found a far more focused energy as a parent in my early thirties than I did as a single guy in my early twenties.
There are many paths to success as success is defined quite differently depending on who you ask. If you define success as raising venture capital and selling to a larger company or going public, then there are significant constraints that limit the paths by which this can be achieved and although I'm on that path myself, it's really not for everyone and shouldn't be considered the only way or even best way forward.
To help inform your decision, I'd recommend you focus your limited hours on validating your idea. I've written several other answers on Clarity around early product customer development that you can find on my profile. And I'd be happy to talk to you in a call.
Sound general advice from Laura to be sure.
However, the short answer is it really depends on you business concept, plan and model. I've been fortunate to start several businesses over the last three decades on little to no money and generate an income nearly immediately. A lot I it has to do with being in the right place at the right time.
Bootstrapping a business is high risk. It can be done. It can succeed. It can also fail.
I'd love to know more about your concept to give you more direct advice. Give me a call. The call is free to first time callers with this link.
All the best!
I have developed, launched, run and sold a few business in the past and my experience has been that you need one of the following at a bare minimum to make a venture work
1) Either low maintenance and no responsibilities and all the time in the world
2) Plenty of cash and connections
3) An idea so brilliant that you can secure funding or investors
If you have responsibilities and limited cash, my advice would be to take it easy and NOT go full time. You would end up in a ton of trouble and take your family along for the ride. Success stories are far and few compared to the millions that try to do it and either fail or have "opportunity costs" and end up leading a mediocre existence.
Unless your building a "Game Changer" like drop box, If you can be laser focused on the new business, while still keeping your old job (And not losing it) go for it. Make sure your spouse realizes you will be missing for 1-2 years of the relationship.
No. If anything, sometimes it is better to have the time constraint, as it forces you to build an efficient system to save you time. In addition, it forces you to truly spend time on the things that matter for an MVP and refinement.
My examples would include: 1) a portfolio company where the founders had built their game-changing business in a year and automated their system to the point where they only had to spend 1 hour a day after work on it and the occasional few hours on weekends. 2) an advisor whom is full-time at an international consulting firm and has 2 lean startups that have attracted investors
Laura's answer is right on target. I started my content marketing biz on the side of my full-time job -- but I was late 20s, single, no kids, and willing to dedicate weekends to the project because I enjoyed it. It's now my full-time paycheck.
While this would certainly be more difficult if you have family responsibilities, I believe anything is possible, so long as you're willing to...
1. Prioritize. If you only do what *really* matters for your business (and FT job), focusing on the biggest bang for your buck, your productivity will skyrocket. A big part of this is knowing when to say no.
2. Sacrifice. The truth is, we can't do everything. If you want to make this work, something else has to give. The question is, what will that be?
Keep us posted!