The thing is, if you use the term "Startup" here to describe anything other than a zero-profit 80hr/week scramble for VC funding and eventual acquisition, you're going to get people popping up and claiming that what you're doing is not startuppy enough to count. So for the benefit of that crowd, you might want to rephrase your question in terms of building a product that brings in enough revenue to quit your job.
If that's what you want to build, then yes. It's absolutely possible, and there are dozens of people here who have done so.
Have you trained your job (bosses) to understand that you take periodic breaks outside of the building (i.e. grab coffee)?
Once you have, you simply grab your bag, with personal laptop, hit the wifi enabled coffee shop, and stop or at least slow down the fire.
I've done it. You lack creativity :)
If you do run a side business and keep a dayjob at the same time, you need to know going in that you won't be 100% for that dayjob. I mean, you can make excuses for it, like nobody is 100% for their dayjob; other people have kids they have to deal with, etc... but in the end? you are choosing your own interests over your employer's.
I'm okay with that.
(I mean, I was up front when I'm hired that I had this other thing going on; but I recognize that I was a much worse employee than I would have been otherwise.)
I can see how my comments and actions could be taken negatively, but I disagree with that generic statement. Yes it can be not so nice for the employer, but it could also have zero negative impact.
I was able to successfully do with zero negative impact. In fact, the flexibility that I trained my employer to have, made me a happier and more productive employee for that company. The ability to attend to my personal business, regardless of what it was, made me appreciate them and work harder for them.
>I'd much rather have someone like dclowd9901 working for me than someone like you or me.
Please don't lump me into that category.
It's quite possible that I'm wrong, of course.
I have always had a problem with that. A start-up is a start-up if you decide it's a start-up and want to transform it into a viable business. There is no magic line that you have to cross to transform your project into a start-up. I always advice people to call their projects a start-up from the beginning.
Could you expand on why you advice this, meaning, what is the advantage of it?
According to your post simple message above it could be the other way around (always call your startup a project).
Secondly, other people take it more seriously. Everyone has some sort of a side project, very few people have a start-up. They give you more time and listen to your more intently.
All anecdotal, no data to back any of the claims.
(ofcourse, opinions differs)
It was profitable within 6 months off organic traffic and lead gen. Approximate revenue by year: $10k, 40k, 70k, 100k, 150k, 250k, 500k, 750k, 1.5M, 2.5M.
Built entirely while working for another startup (unrelated), first 3 years I was in graduate school, year 4 I was a product manager for another startup. Year 5 I finally took the leap to run it full-time.
I was the sole owner, never had more than 7 employees, and I sold it for a bit over $10M (ttm revenue was around $700k at the time).
Leading up to launch, I typically worked 10-7 at my day job, then wrote my code from 8p-1a M-F (20 hrs) and all day on the weekends (20 hrs), so 40 hrs per week. During school, my wife handled the sales part-time (16 hrs/wk), and I probably spent 8 hrs a week on it fixing bugs, implementing ad deals etc. In Year 4, I spent ~16 hrs a week on it outside of my day job (misc. tech upkeep, link building, PR, etc.).
It's definitely doable, but your SO needs to be on-board because you'll be taking the time away from them. Or do it before you have a SO to worry about.
I hope you don't mind me asking these questions since I'm in the thick of it myself at the moment. I'm new here so I hope I'm not breaking etiquette.
At what point did you realize you needed help and then decide that you can actually afford it?
What made you decide to hire your 1st employee rather than a co-founder?
What role did your 1st employee have?
What kinds of employees did you end up hiring?
How did you find your employees?
Any insight would be appreciated!
W/r to hiring vs. getting a co-founder... I strongly prefer hiring if at all possible. The rule of thumb I go by is that you should only use equity to get skills you can't rent/buy (e.g. a big network or personal brand).
The skills we hired for, in order, where:
Sales/account management as needed (wife)
Accounting/bookeeping, part-time (wife)
Customer service, part-time (stay at home mom; part-time)
Sys admin, very part-time (did as much as possible myself)
Project-specific Java developers, part-time/moonlighters
All-around Java developer, first FTE (did everything including some light sys admin)
Additional Java developers
Additional customer service
Most of our employees we found via Craigslist, or via our personal network. Later we used a recruiter to find Java developers. But hiring for developers was always a big problem.
I think part of the reason recruiting is a unique challenge is that you'll (probably) never be the hot shiny new startup with pedigreed VC's vouching for you. It's lame, but employees rely on those signals to separate dead-end startups from something "real". Of course, the more likely scenario is that VC-backed company without revenue is far more at risk for being an elaborately doomed ponzi scheme than your profitable micro ISV. Whatever... You have to try harder with everything else you can control-- comp, office environment, developer-friendly culture, technology stack, profit-sharing if you're so inclined, etc.
Good luck. You'll be glad you took this route down the line.
The question I have is, how much more beneficial was it to have your SO involved at some meaningful level? Sales is an interesting spot because it makes a case for itself to justify the time required.
Are there any pros / cons of involving your SO directly and at the core of your business that you'd be able/willing to share? I'd be really interested to know. Thanks for sharing.
My SO has done some programming for my company; some of it has been really great, some of it not. (She is generally way more competent than me or anyone else I can afford, but her background is embedded systems, you know, c, c++, vhdl; that sort of thing, and all the prgmr.com stuff is perl and bash, so you get a really good programmer writing stuff in languages they've never used before. It can be... interesting to read.)
It really all depends on communication. Can you tell her (or him) that the thing they built isn't what you need and use something else?
I mean, I'm the oldest of 6, and I've been hiring siblings for as long as I've had siblings, so I have a lot of practice saying "no, that wasn't what I wanted" and even "I don't need your help for now" without burning bridges, and I think my SO is willing to accept constructive criticism.
I mean, the usual rules for hiring family apply, I think, only more.
From January, 2005 through May, 2006, I worked on StyleFeeder on the side - while I had a pretty demanding day job, mind you - as I built up the basic business... until I had invested so much time and effort into it that I was maxed out and needed to find a way to work on it full time with the help of others.
I don't see any plausible way that I could have made it into anything significant while at the same time working a day job. I think some people can do it with some businesses, but I think it would have been impossible in my case.
But the bootstrapping phase, yes, I think you can do that while working a day job. That's very common.
More details here:
LMK if that's not what you are looking for.
* Basic social sharing of products, fancy bookmarklet, following other people and then we quickly moved into some high-end realtime recommendation technology.
* At first, it was just friends and family spreading the word. Our first big jump came after our bizdev guy joined and he did a deal with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen to feature us on their homepage and for them to create accounts and share products they were interested in with their fans. We did a bunch of other celebrity stuff. Then, we really grew right after the Facebook platform launched. SEO was also a major factor.
* B2B connections were largely a waste of time.
* 90% affiliate, 10% advertising.
* Funding: I didn't pursue it at first, but smarter people than I saw the bigger opportunity that I hadn't tuned into yet and made introductions.
Edit: Had you reach 7 figure revenue yet?
Yes, we had reached 7 figure revenues many years ago, long before the acquisition.
It's not any less expensive today because those numbers I gave are current numbers.
The hosting bill back then was ~$100/month since it all ran on a single box so, no, that wasn't a factor. It was a question of opportunity and not costs.
Sure, fashion search/bookmarking is a commodity - that's why those sites don't succeed.
I think discovery services are more nuanced than this and it's easier to understand the value they bring both to users and retailers, so we positioned ourselves as a "personal shopping engine." The goal was to shift users away from the Google search box towards a service geared towards shopping. I'm sure you can see value in that.
Hot company du jour is Pinterest... probably headed towards 3B pvs/month and recently closed a round of funding at $200-250M. Keep an eye on them if you think it's all still a commodity. It just depends on what lens you look through. Part of the challenge is putting aside one's cynicism and trying to positive about what your company _can_ be or _could_ be if people take it seriously.
Also, it seems you sold StyleFeeder at the right time: http://siteanalytics.compete.com/stylefeeder.com/ Looks like Time Inc isn't doing a great job with maintaining and increasing users.
* Position yourself for minimum cash outflow. Minimizing your cash needs means you can take bigger risks. I found a decent 500 sq ft apartment and drove a cheap car. Without a family, all my other expenses were dirt cheap.
* Save up a three month buffer and strike out on your own gig, but not your start-up yet. I chose consulting because the income potential is so high and it provided a great networking opportunity. I doubled my annual income (from my old salary) within a year, but far more importantly, I was able to accomplish a few transitional steps in getting my start-up going:
- I built a relationship with a great developer by feeding him work from consulting clients.
- I built relationships with other business owners and took a lot of time to understand their business.
- Ultimately, I met the person who would connect me with the greatest team I've ever worked with.
By the time I found the right team and opportunity, I had a year's worth of expenses saved up, and a small amount of money to contribute to the operational expenses of the company. Coming to the table with cash in-hand gained me a lot of respect from other team members. Because everyone came to the table with their own income streams, we were able to bootstrap and now, 100% of our equity is founder owned. That's a pretty exciting reality for us.
When I look at my day job I only ever get 4 hrs of real work done anyway...with wasted time for meetings, bureaucracy, and being blocked by others. So even though I'm at work for 8+ hours, on my free time, I'm able to work on a similar sized project putting in less hours because there is usually no waste in that time. I've also got 2 kids and train 4 times a week at the gym or jiu jitsu. It can be done!
After reading a few more comments I want to add something. Work hard at your day job, do your best work, and make them dependent on you. Here is why...if you ever come in late, or leave early because there is a crisis on you side project your employer usually won't care. Your the superstar so that's expected. However, you've got to keep your day job really, really happy to walk this fine line between pursuing your own interests and meeting the needs of your day job. Plus when you have a successful side project (that maybe can't support you just yet) and you're out job hunting people will see you as a golden ticket, a diamond in the rough. Usually when I interview people I often ask what they're working on on the side. That indicates to me this person has drive and determination.
To be honest, I think the time constraints posed by day job (you got only 2-3 hours of working on your startup) really made you focus on important stuff (such as working on user feedback and iterating). Plus, the comfort of having a salary provided let you invest in site design, marketing, AdWords, etc. without having you unnecessarily worry about "funding" or borrowing from parents/friends.
How does that site compare in a very busy market with established big name players?
edit I should also say I started this a LONG time ago, so I have a long tail SEO advantage. I wouldn't envy anyone trying to start a used car site today.
I ask b/c I've been developing an app of my own and this is one of the doubts I have. I love building stuff too much to let that stop me, but it's still something I think about from time to time.
So, my more specific question is: Has anybody done this while picking up your kid from daycare at 5pm, having family business until 8:30pm and working at a day job. Id this impossible?
I think the viable alternatives in this case are trying to earn money from blogs and mobile apps.
It's really, really hard to make time for a side business in there too.
Are you working on something? How are you making the time for it? How's your progress?
My commute is 100 foot walk, I still strugle with not having enough time.
Sell the house and rent closer to the office. If its the midpoint between two jobs, either you or your wife needs find a new job to shorten the distance between them. If it is because of the school districts for your kids, you are going to have to decide your priorities.
But realize that the long commute is a choice entirely within your families control and you need to change it.
Look for housing that is either very close to where you work (remove the commute) OR that's well-placed for a simple and comfortable commute on public transit (try it out a few times, at the times you'd be using it!) where you can also get some side-project work done.
- Weekends are not for your startup. Weekends are for your wife and kids. I work on my startup after I finish putting my daughter to sleep at 8:30pm. I finish working by 11pm or midnight.
- Your wife is going to be the one picking up your slack. Make your life easier by making her life easier. For me that means taking on more responsibility around the house(I'm vigilant about dishes, cleaning the bathroom, and doing laundry). I do this stuff as soon as I get home so she can play with our daughter instead of doing housework. This keeps my girlfriend's stress levels down and makes my startup seem less burdensome.
- Take on tasks that require you to sit around for long periods of time. Today I took our car to get serviced and coded in the waiting area.
* If you can, take the train into work. That's about 1.5 hours of additional productive startup time. Sitting in a car is dead time.
* Get rid of your lunch hour. Park yourself at a nearby Starbucks and add an extra hour each day of productive startup time. Do this every day.
* Given your spouse's variable work schedule, my guess is that your most productive time is in the evening, after kids are in bed. Can you shave off 2-3 hours per night? Better managing this time is huge.
There may be other things that are specific to your family life that can give you 30-60 minutes here and there. Time slicing like this is hard, but it adds up to meaningful startup time.
But otherwise, great points!
As far as I'm concerned, my commute doesn't allow me very convenient public transportation. (though I should look into it again) Another thing is that I'd be a bit worried for my laptop since I would go through some somewhat shady areas…
And for the lunch hour, it's sometimes difficult to resist the appeal of socializing with colleagues. Sure you can do it at other times and it's a sacrifice, but it's still a temptation.
* work in the cloud (virtual server, ec2 instance, web based tools etc..) using a internet USB key on the train
* use another OS instance in a virtualized environment (i.e. virtualbox installed in a usb key) and install all the stuff you need in this VM (im not sure you can do it w/o admin priviledges in windows)
* boot a linux distro from USB key so you still use your laptop but completely without touching your original OS
I'm lucky in that my whole life I've been good with really only needing 5-6 hours of sleep a night so, when my daughter wakes up at 7:30 and I go get her out of the crib I'm usually good to go.
So, it's really a matter of prioritization. I play a video game once in a long while, read books slower than I used to, never really watch tv (but parenthood also removed that possibility) and I have the time.
Customers and customer support are where it gets tricky as you will be juggling two companies that operate 9-5. In that scenario I more often than not give up my lunch hour at job 1 to work on job 2.
Not saying it's perfect however, if you want it, it's there for the taking.
Nice to see I'm not the only one enjoying the mornings, even though I've historically been a night owl.
The people I work for don't always want/need my highest creativity, but my reliable attention to detail and high quality work. It's nice to innovate in the mornings for my own stuff.
It doesn't matter how rich or respected my side-project startup would make me, I wouldn't be able to get that time back.
I think its the best way to start a company because you are only risking sweat-equity. The danger is that your day job holds you from growing your startup more.
This week I took a trip to the ER in an ambulance because I had a seizure at my new day job after one too many late nights working on the side project.
Be careful and know your limits better than I do.
I quit my job around 9 months ago. Finding too much of time on hand I subsequently started work on a new app, got my friend to join me and we got into Start-up Chile. It's been a great journey but I'm so glad that I did not quit the moment we were profitable. It has taught me the most important thing you need to learn while starting up, being efficient.
I always suggest everyone who has a product to not quit until it is virtually impossible to keep up with a day job. You then become a time management champ and know how to do more with less :)
Day job of 50k / year, over 2 months, so per month 25k. 'Making money' = profit, otherwise I could be 'making' 250k / month by opening a BMW dealership and selling 2 per month - which in the real world would bankrupt me Very Quickly.
So, maybe I'm misunderstanding, but didn't you say that you were making 25k or more?
Yes, you are misunderstanding what I said by pushing those figures.
I'm not sure why I'm being down voted - my numbers are quite plausible, I was just doing a sniff test. It would've been quite remarkable if a simple site like that would've been making several k / month after just 2 months.
I wasn't raking in money but I had customers and my revenues exceeded my small expenses.
Over the summer I sold the company and went to work for the acquiring company. In retrospect, this was probably the best move for me (I had considered taking investment to move to it full time.)
Like one of the answers above, I don't think I could have grown the business significantly without spending more time on it, and for me (day job, 3 young kids) this was the only way I could have done it.
Having a well-paying dayjob changes things. You will want to hire your first employee long before you would if you were working full-time at the startup. You will want to spend money rather than do work more often than you would otherwise. Assuming you have a high paying dayjob and you are willing to live cheap, your runway is now measured only in terms of your motivation.
Note, you will not be performing 100% at the dayjob. I got asked to choose between the dayjob and my business only once, though, and that was near the beginning, before I really learned to compartmentalize, and when I was most focused on my business.
My style of work is and always has been very burst-y, which works out well. When I wasn't that focused on the business, I'd get a regular dayjob and top off my COBRA and rent money. When I was focused on the business, I'd either focus on the business completely or work contract gigs for extra money. It's interesting; if you contract through a body shop for non-expert work? (e.g. if they rent you out as a normal programmer/sysadmin?) it pays only slightly better than doing the same job as a direct employee (sometimes a little worse if the benefits for the direct employee are good) but the expectations for your work are much lower. I mean, think about it; if they are paying about the same for a contract as for a full-time with benefits job, do you think they are going to get good people? The lowered expectations along with the ability to spend pre-tax dollars on company equipment made that a pretty good deal for me.
Especially during the money-losing phase (and this /will/ be longer than it would have been if you were full time.) the taxes are complex and can make a huge difference. get a good accountant, and listen to him or her. Small bullshit changes can make the difference between spending pre tax money buying servers and spending post-tax money on those servers.
Advertising agency's (my day job) can rent them for a fixed price. Royalties included.
(I'm not spamming. You're not my targets and only Dutch people can read it anyway). But have a look at the several hundred people that signed up if you're interested: http://royaltyfreemodels.nl/zoeken/page:11
(It's run on CakePHP for the interested).
About a year later I brought it to the team and we decided to switch to it. A few months of light iteration and polish after that and we launched it as it's own product (https://bugrocket.com) for $20/month.
Pretty happy with how it's going, too. It hasn't really interfered with the 'day job' at all besides the occasional email to answer or tweet to reply to. We have really flexible hours here so I shift my day around sometimes to accomodate both projects. Totally do-able.
edit: Seems there is some interest in the 'family situation' of these success stories. I'm married (with kittens, no kids) and it generally hasn't been too difficult to keep a balance. It's helped me a lot having some people working with me (especially on non-technical bits), and not just alone as a single founder. It's hard to say how much time I actually put in because it's kind of a 'here and there' whenever there's the opportunity kind of thing. I'd probably estimate 3-5 hours during the week and then either a lot (8+ hours) or nothing on the weekends, depending on else is happening.
I was doing client work, and to be frank, got tired of working from home and dealing with low-grade clients all day. So instead of worrying about finding better clients, I took a day job to support myself and my family (wife and kids) while I worked on side projects with my co-founder.
To date, we've built a fun iOS game, Santa Strike, a crowdfunding plugin for WordPress, IgnitionDeck, and a few yet to be launched iOS apps, among other simple software utilities like Iconswitch.me and GameDesignTemplate.com
I drive to and from work an hour a day, which kills me, but we're very close to being profitable enough so I can quit my day job.
We're not zillionaires yet, but I do think it's possible to do what you're asking. However, it's very very difficult, especially when you have a spouse and/or kids.
I work on my stuff from 7-8 am, drive to work, try to fend off the thought of being an unproductive employee so I don't get fired (I'm actually the only developer they have, and I'm in a very good position because my predecessors set the bar so very low), but do spend some time at work handling side-project stuff, get home at 6:30, hang out, work more, go to bed, rinse, repeat.
My wife is stressed because my mind is elsewhere, but she understands. We spend time on the weekends going out and doing family stuff, but not as much as we'd like.
When we ship new versions of software, I field customer inquiries and complaints on the go, which isn't ideal, but is what it is.
In other words, I have very little personal time, it's very stressful for the entire family, and it's a lot of hard work over a long period of time. It's not for the faint of heart.
I defended my thesis around that time too.
I consider conserving cash fundamental. The stipend for a PhD candidate was under $30k/year for living in Manhattan. I wasn't in subsidized housing and had no savings or other source of income.
Some videos here: http://www.submediaworld.com/submediaworld/Submedia_Tunnel_A...
I also make art with the medium, but that's another story.
Currently we use profits to pay anyone willing to work on the code and add features. It is self-sustaining, at least.
Comments, ideas, suggestions are welcome.
We initially geared our site towards teachers, but later learned that wasn't the market that was willing to pay for our services. Maybe your experience will be different.
It is a slow process. About 1-2% of our customers convert to paying accounts. When we started limiting what was free it seems people stepped up to the bat and subscribed to a paying account.
Note - your prices seem very low. You could experiment with your price structure, people might value your service more than you realize.
So after a year of weekends and evenings, my partner started to pound the pavement. We were profitable in our very first year after launch, and continue to be. Our biggest expense is advertising, which is very targeted. I think about 80-85% of our pre-tax revenue ends up being profit, which is great.
I still have my day job, and for the 30 hours/week between us that we still put in, we've been _very_ successful.
I'm the backend and frontend developer(rest-full api needed for our iphone app), the other two are the creative guys,
and I've to admit that it has been hard to think, design, and do a product in a spare time(especially if you have a wife and a child).
And there are other aspects of the launching such as the site, the company to found and many things that require a lot of time.
I hope the app and the business I want to build around succeded so I will quit my current profitable job.
It brings in a small amount of money each month and it pretty much requires no maintenance. However I would not say that it is profitable (yet), there is a fair way to go before it brings in enough money to have justified the time.
I would spend more time implementing new features if I thought it would result in a significant increase in paying users.
...not sure what to do with it now really!?!? Suggestions welcome!!!
* Use twitter bootstrap or some other framework to make the site look more professional.
* Why are the prices in weird denominations? $1.60 per month? Just make it $25/year.
* Don't show the social sharing button (G+) until you have a few hundred shares already
* Why is the video so small? Have screenshots on the homepage.
Basically, I'd suggest copying the style of a landing page of a well-known SAAS product. Nice bright colors, big fonts, screenshots, etc. I'm sure your product is feature complete, just work on design (or hire someone to make the above changes).
If your startup requires consistently high turnover for new features, then it's going to occupy easily 40 hours per week on just that project.
However, if what you build doesn't need to be updated for months at a time (like some mobile apps or other software) you can probably get away with doing this. An entire company? I don't think so. A particular type of website, or app? Sure, if all you're doing consistently is maintenance.
Apparently I'm the only thing in the way. Thanks for the inspiration everyone! You guys are all amazing.
I put every spare moment I had into it, skipping lunches and dinners and sleep (though I never skipped church) all for the sake of keeping it lean before keeping it lean was cool.
5 years later I sold it for a paltry sum, mainly because I didn't add enough people fast enough.
After 2.5 months of 80 hour weeks, we quit our day jobs and went full time with the consulting business: Bendyworks. Now, almost 3 years into the biz, we're at 10 people and having a freaking blast.
The feeling when a new customer from across the country signs up is a pretty good one!
I still do some work next to the startup, but it is basically paying for servers etc. plus a salary for me.
Especially since coding is a tiny iota of actually doing one, most of it boils down to marketing anyways
I mean that period for all sites after the launch coverage, the time where your traffic goes down to almost 0.
Who to meet/who to talk to...should have been done prior to launch.
optimizing text? it takes a while to do a/b testing if your traffic is tiny...same goes for seeing results from marketing campaigns.
updating the blog? that takes a few hours each week.
I mean sure, there is plenty of things to keep you busy, but most of it is just busy work you assign yourself because you are thinking "hey, I'm doing a startup, I should be doing something"
Blogging about it as well: http://royfreemod.tumblr.com/
It must be very comfortable to not see the endless opportunities in increasing traction for your service after launch. Not even bothering to commit code any longer, since it was perfect at launch. Or doing marketing, sales, community and customer support, PR, ops, paying bills, sending invoices, handling complaints, bookkeeping, etc etc.
I never ever had the problem to keep myself busy, the problem is always prioritizing among the plethora of tasks you need to do and accepting the fact that you never will be able to do all of them.
Not bothering to commit code? If it works, and you don't have actual customers yet? Then yes...it's just busy work at that point.
Community/Customer Support? I dunno about you, but customer support is only required for less than 1% of users. And even then it's usually a case of 1-2 sentences.
Paying bills? How many bills do you have as a startup?
And even then, "hundreds" of bills is crap...unless of course you count every purchase on your credit card statement as a "bill"
My schedule M-F for the last 3 years has been:
7am wakeup, feed kids etc. 9am - 5:30 work fulltime. 5:30 - 10pm family time. 10pm - 1am Startup time!. Yes thats 5-6 hours of sleep! Trying to do a startup on the side with children has been very challenging for me. Maybe its the biz models I am trying to tackle. Maybe building simple iphone/ipads apps would have had a better ROI.
More incredibly to me is FeeFighters (http://feefighters.com) CEO Sean was
1) Raising a VC round
2) Having his first kid
and 3) Working full-time at BCG
All at the same time (May 2010)
Any one of those are enough to make you go crazy, but he managed all 3. (note: FeeFighters is not profitable)
He also previously started http://tss-radio.com and bootstrapped it to a spot on the inc 500 list, all on the side while working at a VC firm (Longworth) and then while at BCG (management consulting).
My current company started out as a side project. I decided to make it a fulltime project after about three years. We are quite profitable.
Today, we operate a few "premium" domain name businesses, but we started with a rather obscure one, and did well enough to purchase more properties from cash flow.
Rather than working 8-10 hours on your startup and having some free time. You work 8 hours and spend all of your free time on your startup.
I prefer getting some capital saved and then quitting your day job.
I am example of person who has not managed to do that in 3 years but I have learned a lot and my trial contributed to my well-being in many positive ways. Some of those are like salary growing faster than planned and some are small but pleasant things like Nokia N950.
1) I have encouraged question's author to do that anyway even if there will be no profit because that has indirect positive effect;
2) I have tried to point out that such question is wrong to ask and there is very simple reason for that. It will attract only people who have succeeded in doing that: they will write what they did, maybe how they did that and maybe will try to identify reasons why they succeeded (not necessary correctly).
For every successful startup there are 10 unsuccessful (unprofitable) and if stating the reality is complaining then well OK - all who downvoted me has right to live in their rosy dream illusion world where they get rich just by reading HN.
2. The OP asked a question, and you questioned why they should ask. More importantly, you merely pointed out that yes, people have, and have not been successful at it.
3. If you intended for something else, you weren't clear. Mostly because you didn't say anything. What you did say didn't amount to something that offered anything constructive, hence the down votes.
> For every successful startup there are 10 unsuccessful (unprofitable) and if stating the reality is complaining then well OK - all who downvoted me has right to live in their rosy dream illusion world where they get rich just by reading HN.
But see, you didn't say that. You didn't come close to saying that. You might think you did, but I assure you, you didn't come close. Your comment wasn't insightful or intelligent. You wanted to know why you got down voted, I told you. Don't try and now pass this off by labelling those who down voted you.
"Startup" usually means a company that fulfills a few of the below:
- something the founders do full-time
- less than 3 years old
- in a bootstrap phase or burning VC money
- in search of a business model (not yet profitable)
- has the potential to grow
A profitable startup with a great business model which doesn't need to give away ownership for VC money is the perfect startup.
Any business that's new counts as a startup for me.
People start and build businesses while employed all of the time. Some of those businesses require that the owners devote their full energies to them at a certain milestone.
Others do not -- plenty of software and consulting roles do not require 100% commitment, particularly if you have a flexible employer and can bootstrap. Many college professors have side gigs, for example.
Starting a business has been done in many ways. Having been in business for 15 years I have gotten to meet a lot of other small business owners and there is as much variety in how established businesses came to be.
Having this delusion of its only a "real" startup if you do it this way is hogwash. So many great businesses were built on hard work, sacrifice, long hours, juggling more than one thing at once, until the new business could stand on it's own two feet.
Knowing when, and what your new business needs (more time, stepping away from other obligations) is a critical skill. Simply committing all of your time to one thing without a wider business, or varied experience can in some cases be a detriment.
Other businesses can start slow/small, but you reach a point where you need to choose between the full time gig and your startup. There are a few clear examples of this phenomenon in this thread.