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Ask HN: What should wantrepreneur do to create a successful business?
21 points by xcoding 79 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 10 comments
For over 10 years, I have wanted to start something. Really hard, wanted. I have started some websites in the hope to get a big enough niche audience; started youtube channel too.

I am trying to get new ideas done. But after one day of my job, I am exhausted and I cannot extract any brain-juice any more. And if I try to work during the week-ends, I can't rewind enough for the next week. And my progress are damn slow. It seems I would need a year to achieve what a good programmer could do in a week.

Creating a successful business seems to me like the only viable career path to me. I don't see myself as a good employee. So this is not a long-term plan. And I have never learned to do anything else, I am not even a graduate. So the only thing left is to create some things, and be successful enough in at least one to make a living out of it.

What should I do?

1. Lower your expectations. Don't think about starting a business. Think about starting a small project on the side. You have to make time for it. If you don't, you don't want it bad enough.

2. Being an entrepreneur is a marathon, not a sprint. Won't happen overnight and certainly there is no magic wand or guarantees. You have to be willing to lose it all at some point.

3. How bad is your itch ? You said "I don't see myself as a good employee". Ok that sounds awesome. But how bad do you want this ? Everyone at some point in their life get fed up with jobs/corporate life and think about starting their own thing. But do you really have the will and determination to go through with it ? Stars will never align perfectly. You have to want this bad, real bad.

4. Imagine yourself on your death bed. Would you regret not trying to do your own thing ? If yes, then you gotta do it. If no, then may be you are just a wantrapreneur and nothing wrong with it.

Ok, now some real steps to take. You either start a side project OR you go join a small company where you get to wear many hats and learn how business really works. But you have to sacrifice something TODAY. So what is it that you are willing to sacrifice TODAY ?

Entrepreneurship is about solving problems. Can't code? Find someone who can. There's no shame in giving away 90% share if you need to, especially if someone can do in a week what would take you a year. As a programmer, I do look for a partner, if only to anchor me before I go too deep.

A business plan is basically a list of hypotheses. Do you really know you'd make enough money from ads? Do you know that people really want this thing? Do you know that you have the right target market? Will the marketing channel be too expensive?

It's really hard to make a good business plan, because of these unknowns. But that's why there's good money in it. If it makes you feel good, many corporate managers and MBAs can't do it either. It's mostly the underdogs, the "founders" who do it.

The next thing you do is design an experiment to test each one of these hypotheses, the easiest way possible. Most of this doesn't even involve coding, but having a coder on the team helps a lot. Once you confirm one, move on to the next.

A strategy that I've found helpful in getting more done, and feeling more motivated to work on side projects is to cut away extraneous distractions.

As soon as I put away videogames, and TV time for a few days I not only found that I had more TIME to work on projects, but also working on those projects felt much more rewarding.

In the end it sounds like you're going to need to make more time for your projects. Maybe this means getting up earlier and getting some stuff done before work? Maybe it means negotiating less hours at work?

It's made a huge difference in helping me launch my latest project - http://topstonks.com (we're literally doing our "Show HN" right now.)

Good luck!!

> But after one day of my job, I am exhausted and I cannot extract any brain-juice any more.

This is an important point and you should take it seriously.

I'd suggest lowering your short-term expectations from "start a business" to "save up some money."

I'm in the exact same boat. i know I'm capable being jack of all trades but mastering none except procrastinating. Can't quite seem to get my ass in gear. I'm at the thought that I need a partner/moviator/need to answer to person besides my wife ;-) ping me if your in the valley. I'm in SJ. lakota @ gmail

The biggest thing that helped me turn my side project into a successful business was listening to the Indie Hackers podcast: https://www.indiehackers.com/podcast

It is full of invaluable advice for starting a profitable internet company.

Get started. Starting a company is hard, even good companies can take years before they start to pay off. So get started, do some market research, build something useful, use no-code tools to build an MVP...but most importantly get started.

Join Startup School twice a year. Interacting with other people about your ideas will make you more motivated.

Check out StartUpsForTheRestOfUs.com, if you haven't already.

Rob and Mike have great info, start in the archives.

Rob will mention his stair step approach to leveling up.

You can follow him from drop shipping beach towels, an invoicing app, to a SaaS app to co-founding Drip through to his exit and now funding companies with TinySeed.

You only get so many at bats to start something, so pick a good idea and then focus your time on it when you can.

I'm going through the same thing as you, I've been dreaming about it and had many false starts the past 10 years. I finally have the right idea (I think) now I just need to execute on it.

For inspiration I'd recommend listening to this once in a while.

@DHH Startup School Talk '08 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CDXJ6bMkMY

Good luck getting things off the ground.

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