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Ask HN: Advice - Working Full-time while starting a side business?
5 points by SABmore 1987 days ago | hide | past | web | 4 comments | favorite
I'm working full-time for the govt, while bootstrapping my SaaS product. The govt job is mind-numbingly terrible, but does allow me the flexibility to work on my product.

With that being said, its hard not to want to leave to follow my passion, especially when the environment I'm in for 8 hours a day is depressing, but I've got a family and bills to pay, so I'm doing my best not to lose my mind.

Interested to hear from others that have done the same, and looking back, what they may have done differently, if anything. Time management tips, ways to keep yourself focused, and how to handle a bad full-time situation. All advice/comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks.


I've done exactly this (although my full time job is great, and I love it).

I think it is a really great way of dipping your toes in the water while keeping your risk low.

Time management:

I get up at 6, allowing me an hour and a half's work before the day job. I also work in the evenings for maybe an hour or two, and often at weekends. I'm lucky in that my fiancee is a medical student, who also needs to work evenings and weekends, so we tend to work together.

It is important to give yourself a day or two off now and then, or you'll burn out.


I think the 'Lean Startup' lessons apply even more when you're working in your spare time on your product. Limited time means you have to be ruthless with your feature-set, find your market and users early, and don't waste time on unnecessary stuff.

Things you shouldn't be doing include Billing Systems, Automated Support, anything that isn't a key feature that is going to sell your service.

I'd also recommend not trying to use a new technology which you're not familiar with. Although there're huge benefits to using new languages etc, this isn't the time- you have very limited time, so any non-productive time looking up language/library features really eats into your time.

Thanks. I've been following the lean lessons, and agree that its worked well. And I have learned my own lessons, the hard way with respect to using a new technology...I recently picked up RoR, but it was an uphill climb and cost me 2-3 months.

When you start to experience some break throughs with your SaaS you'll want to quit your job even more than you do now.

When I left my job, in hindsight I did it probably 1 or 2 months too soon. Which makes things difficult. When you feel you've got better things you could be working on - it's all too tempting to just stand up & quit.

The main things I would suggest are

1) Having a solid quitting point and make it realistic. That could be number of paying customers, savings in the bank, whatever fits your budget. When you're having a bad day at your day job, just keep reminding yourself you're still there because it's all part of the plan

2)Use your bootstrapping time wisely. Always plan in advance what needs to be done before you get your bootstrapping time. Whether that's making a list before bed, in your lunch hour etc you'll get the most out of your evening work times.

3)Stay social, bootstrapping time and family time should be of equal importance. Often you find when you're stuck on a problem, taking a break means you come back to your product with fresh eyes.

I couldn't have said this better myself. The more I made from my side project, the more it magnified everything I hated about my day job.

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