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Quit Your Job Now, Before It's Too Late (georgesaines.com)
83 points by gsaines on April 7, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 74 comments

The only caveat I'd add is "don't quit your job if it turns out you enjoy it just fine". The post makes the same assumption that a lot of Hacker News articles do- that a startup is the most preferable option available to anyone, at any time.

It isn't. Depending on your interests you may be fine working in a larger organisation- if you stick at it for a while (the same amount of time it would take to establish a startup) you may be able to call a lot of shots yourself and really start owning your job. Or maybe you'd enjoy the kind of research-like position that only a larger company can provide. Maybe you'd be best suited to a non-profit. It's all down to you.

I wholeheartedly second this. Even though I quit a high paying job which I could work any hours I wanted to and had full autonomy, I've known owning my own business was something in the makeup of my person for a long time now. I think people like me are the exception, though, and that a lot of the "coolness" of owning your own startup puts social pressure on people to do something they might not even be suited for.

I don't think the prototypical engineer is truly suited for startup life, and neither is the prototypical business guy. Both of those jobs need to typically work within an established framework, while a lot of startup businesses are about busting out of a framework or completely inventing your own.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with not being a millionaire/billionaire. Yes, you can't have your own island, design and commission your own uber-boat, or provide flu shots to an entire city, but a lot of people seem to be able to find happiness without those things.

Personally, my end-goal regardless of success is to teach a high school web/game programming course, or whatever is popular to learn at the time. The only reason I'm not doing that right now, is that I'm curious to know whether or not the drive inside me to build things is a part of my ego or my destiny.

"part of my ego or my destiny"

They're very intertwined in a way that you won't be able to separate. The best way to find out whether you should do it or not ISN'T to not-do it, but to do it.

(Exception: When it involves potentially hurting other people irreversibly.)

I'm not sure how it is in the US, but in Australia getting a $400K mortgage when you're in your 20s is not uncommon. Real estate doesn't get cheaper, and it's much harder to buy when you're in your 30s with kids and a single income facing a now $500K mortgage. Sacrifycing debt for freedom does make it harder down the road.

I'm 29 now, but when I was in my early-mid 20s I had no problems working a day job and then coding nights and only sleeping a few hours. It's more painful than having no responsibilities, but you have that sort of energy when you're young so make the most of it.

Nowadays I'm actively rejecting promotions, more staff and more responsibilities as I've reached a point in my career where the pay is good and takes only 40 hours on a normal week. That leaves a lot of room for side projects whilst still laying a good financial base for the future.

So I agree with the OP's response except that you should consider waiting until you have implemented your idea and have a proven, consistent revenue stream from it before you up and leave. It may take a year to get to that stage, a bit of pain - but nothing worth doing is easy.

> Real estate doesn't get cheaper

Funny. I seem to recall similar words being uttered elsewhere in the not so distant past.

Yes, this made me laugh, my first property lost 30% of it's value in 18 months.

He obviously lives in an area people care about. Where you can have job options and such.

Someplace like Northern California?

It's good to see comments like this on here, because it makes me feel less alone in the world. I've got some entrepreneurial spirit in me, but I also am fairly content being a cog in a larger wheel. I like steady income and insurance, and a full time corporate gig gives me that padding. If one of my nights-and-weekend side projects every picks up, sure, I'll run with it, but that's not now. It's also nice having someone willing to pay for me to go to conferences, and having other people answer the phone with things break.

> The only caveat I'd add is "don't quit your job if it turns out you enjoy it just fine".

I agree wholeheartedly, but would also add that creating a startup on your own is not the only option. If your dream is working at a startup, go work for one! I know many people (myself included) who have found enjoyment and fulfillment working at a small startup without having to actually start one.

If, of course, your dream is to found your own company, by all means do so :)

My go-to phrase here--and one that seems muted in the tech community--is that "there's more to a startup than the founder."

While that is true, the financial argument is often not so great. As an early employee you are often offered a below market salary combined with a very small amount of shares in the startup. If you look at it entirely in financial terms, you're likely losing out unless you negotiated well when hired.

Of course, there is more to these choices than just financial considerations.

Definitely true, and you're spot on that I did write this from the perspective of someone who enjoys startups to working for others. In my case, I spent a lot of time (several months) thinking seriously about whether to leave because my job was great and the people I worked with were excellent as well. In the end, I decided to jump and was surprised by how the difficulty even after all that forethought.

Funny, I've avoided startups precisely because I want to avoid working for others. The sense I've gotten is that "startup" means something very different from starting a business with your own money and contacts, and with monetization already figured out.

The latter makes a lot of sense to me, especially as a reason to quit a salaried position in an established company. So, I'm not sure it's fair to say that you prefer startups; it sounds like you just prefer to work with who you want and on whatever you want. There's much less risk there, versus what I've seen "startup" defined as, particularly because you've already worked well with your partners in a previous successful venture.

(P.S. - Hi George! I'm glad to hear you're having fun. CodeCombat looks very interesting.)

Hi to you as well, always nice to hear from you! Tell Kriti hello for me as well!

The fact that I'd worked with Nick and Scott before was a huge determinant, I'm not sure I would have been willing to leave my great job for an unknown team.

Hopefully we can get CodeCombat off the ground faster than Skritter, but who knows. I posted that link in the article and our poor Nodejitsu server suffered inordinately and we realized our design is atrocious. Keep on iterating. :)

Hi George! I'm glad you, Nick and Scott are working on something new. Looking forward to see CodeCombat grow.

As somebody who quit a job to pursue a startup, I'm going to take the opposite side.

Don't quit your job to pursue a startup unless:

1) You have a customer base lined up and some income is all but assured, or...

2) You have enough savings to get by for at least one year (including insurance) and a skill set or network that would enable you to jump back into a similarly desirable job right away.

Quitting with just an idea and strong cofounders is a recipe for disaster, stress, and misery. Remember, building is fun and easy, making sales isn't.

First whittle down what you really need to start (often times it's a lot less than you originally thought) and examine whether you really have to quit. If you are building something that your employer could lay claim to due to your employment agreement, it's a little more tricky, but if you are careful it is pretty easy to get around that.

There is also the option of part-time consulting to pay the bills while building the startup. As a Django consultant, this person could probably make $50k annual income by consulting a few days per week. The rest of his time could be dedicated to the startup business.

Even if you have low living costs, you should still consider opportunity costs of not working. A consultant making $100k per year who takes two years off to do a failed startup has effectively lost $200k in income.

One recommendation, stolen from patio11: sell weekly blocks of your time. This is more fair to both those hiring you, and to your startup, because ramp-up and context-switch time are an expensive part of software development.

This is what I've started doing. Right now I'm consulting for a TechStars company doing some Akka stuff while I work on my own venture.

I'm single and 22 so doing this for a few months brings in enough to float me for ~year, not including the savings I had from the BigCo job I recently left.

The real bonus, IMO, comes from the fact that your former consulting clients are your most likely bet for job prospects if/when your venture fails, assuming they like your work of course.

2) Actually scares me. Without a fire under my feet I fear I might get too "comfy", not ship because of perfectionism, and not focus on the most important things (I'd work on coding instead of customer development and sales).

See if there's some way you can organize with your bank or a friend to limit your access to your savings, being only available in the event that everything falls apart and you have to go back to regular life.

This way, you won't feel like you have too large a safety net.

I agree with all of the above, except I'd recommend having enough for 1.5 years. You're going to spend the first few months doing setup work for the business.

Although I generally agree with your point, I've found that the difference between working on a project full time and working part time is a night and day shift. There's a lot more pressure to make those sales if you define your full time job is making your business a success. I've done both, and found the full time option to be more likely to produce success for me.

The other thing was that I got lucky on my first startup and have a bit of income coming in from that, which means the cost of failure is pretty small. As an econ major in college, I'm well aware of the opportunity cost of not working, though, which did weigh heavily on my decision.

I'm sick of everyone perpetuating the notion that developers need to either become spectacularly successful through starting companies or die trying. There are many people, perhaps even the preponderance, who are perfectly content with having a $100k mortgage and two kids while working a nine-to-five job for $75,000 per year.

People prefer this because it is safe, and affords a nice lifestyle. Starting a company offers neither, and those who pursue startups incur massive risk. The overwhelming majority fail. Entrepreneurship is incredibly dangerous and trying, and is neither optimal nor tennable for most. Encouraging people to blindly quit their jobs to go take part in what is essentially a lottery in which the odds are stacked tenfold against you is ridiculous.

Don't just up and quit your job right now. Think long and hard about what you in life. You'll probably come to the realization that you don't want to subject yourself to the tribulations of entrepreneurship.

First, it's inaccurate to state that "everyone" is "perpetuating the notion that developers need to either become spectacularly successful through starting companies or die trying."

Second, if you're truly "sick" of so many people promoting entrepreneurship, have you considered spending less time at a news website hosted by a startup incubator?

If houses cost 100-200K where I lived (NY area), a 75K income would be fine. My friend circle is getting decimated as friends are moving south :(

My wife and I have considered moving back to the Bay area (professional growth and general quality of life) but likely won't because of housing costs (I don't think buying a starter home for 600K in Sunnyvale is a responsible thing for us to do).

'notion that developers need to either become spectacularly successful through starting companies or die trying'

Agree. You missed the option of having a side-project that pulls 20k-30k a year without much additional effort after launch. You can have your stable job, too!

Another alternative is to save aggressively working at a lucrative job when you're young, then do the startup when you're thirty-five or forty and can live, with discipline, on the gains from your investments. I know at least one very successful person who took this approach (anecdote != data, I know). Not always an option depending on your credentials, but there's something to be said for a hybrid approach of building a personal runway (and gaining skill at the craft) before quitting and throwing the dice.

Obviously you shouldn't do anything to shorten your personal runway if you plan to make a startup. Big houses and mortgages and expensive cars are out, even if you don't plan on quitting immediately.

Some of my bias may be showing here, because I'm fairly satisfied with my life and work at BigCo right now.

Or get married to someone who can support you while do something risky. If the Korean immigrant with a wife and kids who starts a dry cleaning business in your neighborhood can do it, then it can't be intractable.

Your post is inaccurate on two levels:

1. You assume because a "korean immigrant" can do something, that it must not be intractable (hard). Immigrant entrepreneurs are usually highly motivated, especially the kind who start small businesses. I would rescind that comment.

2. You are comparing a dry cleaner to a startup. The failure rate of startups is several order of magnitudes worse than a dry cleaner. Figuring out the potential numbers for a dry cleaner is simple math that you can base on the local population, income/employment stats, and # of dry cleaners. Most startups would kill for that kind of estimate.

I read the "Korean immigrant" comment slightly differently. Not as a "if that schlub can do it so can you!", but rather as pointing out that immigrants to most countries generally face all the same business challenges of any citizen plus the burden of being an immigrant in a society that may not always be welcoming. If someone can succeed facing all the same challenges you would face plus a few more it can show you that your challenges aren't insurmountable. Or maybe the person is just so head-and-shoulders above you that you shouldn't even compare, but that is less likely in my experience (i.e. variation amongst people in sub-groups, say entrepreneurs, are generally not as vast as people think, mostly because most people only compare against the outliers).

> 1. You assume because a "korean immigrant" can do something, that it must not be intractable (hard).

Or he assumes that integrating yourself and your family into a new culture, quite possibly while learning a new language, are both difficult problems which the OP would have the benefit of not having to overcome.

1) Intractable means infeasible, not hard. 2) I'm focusing on the "family obligations angle." Having a spouse and kids makes it hard to devote time to a startup. But starting a dry cleaner isn't a less time-intensive thing than starting a tech company.

That's a good approach as well. I think it's highly dependent on your personal living situation. I sorta lucked out with my first startup in that it's producing a little passive income and I couldn't stand the thought of squandering it (ie, putting it in the bank to earn 1% pre-inflation).

I'm all in favor of doing work you like. If you are happy working for a larger employer, you're probably a lot better off than some crazy guy like me wanting to run a startup. :)

I've bought a home 5 years ago when I was 24. So, I am stuck with it. I do want to create a startup and have began rolling out code for my website. Its very tough to have to pay a mortgage. Which means to work 8 hours a day on something else, so that you have a place to stay so that you can work X hours a night on what you want to work on.

At the time I bought my home, I'd never thought that I would be in any position to create/run a business. I was a naive kid, and in hindsight I'm on the fence to whether or not that was a good idea or not. So, packing up my things to move over to Cali isn't going to be that easy. But whose to say that creating a startup is easy?

I believe I have a great idea. I really do, but the risk to just leave it all behind is daunting. For me, I would (and am) doing as much research as I can. That's why yCombinator is such a great program. They will help you out as far as the world of the startup. I missed this round, but am planning on entering the next one. By that time, my work on my site will be that much more polished and "ready".

I would love to leave it all and wish I had, but I was in no way ready for that at 24. Staying allowed me to move up the ladder, and really learn my craft very well. I would've been a terrible developer 5 years ago. I'm a firm believe that its never too late. Yes, I'm spending every waking hours thinking about code (both at work and for my site), but I have a feeling it will pay off.

Here's hoping...

The good thing is homes can easily be bought and sold. It may be less of a trap than you think. Children, on the other hand, are more difficult to move on the open market...

Chances are if you bought 5 years ago you are underwater and can't sell it.

In that case it _could_ be reasonable to let the bank foreclose on it. I know people that have done this to their relief. Obviously a more serious decision than selling a house, but still less serious than selling children.

Foreclosing isn't as easy as it sounds. For one, the bank can sue you for the difference between the auction price and the loan. For two, the IRS will expect you to pay taxes on that "forgiven" difference. For three, your credit will be (temporarily) ruined and it will be difficult to get a new apartment/mortgage/loan. So, owning an underwater house can be a big problem. Though, sometimes it is worth it to sell for a loss in exchange for freedom; within reason.

Oh, I wasn't really suggesting it's simple. I don't envy anybody in that position, and hope anybody thinking of walking away from such a situation does so on good advice. I know two people who've done this; I don't know the low-level details, so perhaps it was necessary for some definition of "necessary", but the next few years will be interesting to hear of, regardless.

Having a mortgage means you can't tolerate a long profit-less ramp up. Find a business you can start that draws revenue immediately. You'll have to do some business analysis before you code, but this actually is probably better than the "build and pray" method that many younger founders do.

Not sure where you live, but have you looked into renting the house in a way that would cover your mortgage?

Yes and no. A year ago, I was thinking of renting out rooms in my home to my sister and two others (her friend and another person). My sister ended up getting sick, so she wasn't able to live with me. I did get a roommate however 6 months ago. So, that's a step in the right direction, but it seems very tough to rent the other rooms out. I usually have someone agreeing on living here only to find out that they chose another place instead.

I started getting fed up and have decided that this place needs to be filled now or I just need to get rid of it anyway I can. I've been lightly thinking about doing that for a while, but now that I have a working prototype online (and may more to come), I need to move a lot faster.

It is maddening. But, I suppose that the start up life can be this way. The ultimate goal is to be able to get this thing off the ground, so that's something I just have to do. I just want to get rid of this thing and focus on building this product. It is my first home, but now is the time to part ways with it. I will be making calls this week on how to move forward.

Hey sreyaNotfilc.

I'm in nearly in the exact same boat, but I've started to see some movement on the career front in just the last few weeks.

It took much more than those few weeks to get there, though, and a lot of little things over time to change course. You can find my email in my profile if you want to exchange notes.

Good luck!

Rent out the house and move into cheap accommodation somewhere. This isn't really a good excuse. You may even be able to rent it furnished.

As someone with a mortgage, wife and three kids... Listen to this person! We're trying to sell our home so we can follow our dreams with less stress and worry. Notice I said less.

I haven't quit my job yet but I get similar responses when people hear we are selling our house. They do not understand and think we are crazy. Thank goodness I married a woman as "crazy" as me.

The only thing you can't get more of is time. Cherish it and use it wisely while you still have it.

Why not rent it? When I bought I did so in part because I knew I could rent it. If you live in an area with terrible job prospects or no other draws that may not work.

Great little post. I agree and add:

+save your money, don't buy tv's cars and homes. specially when you are in your 20's (i still am, I threw a minimum 20% of every paycheck into savings).

+Debt, and any such thing that anchors you is a NOGO.

+only debt to take if ever is for a business, and only when cash is the only barrier impeding growth. (and if this is the case most VC's will gladly give you money)

Going into debt to consume things (cars, homes, vacations, clothes, etc.) is Bad (capital B).

Going into debt to purchase capital that has the potential to pay for itself and make a profit in the long run is [not as] bad.

Saving to buy things debt free regardless of its purpose is the best way to go. Those that [can] delay instant self gratification tend to be the ones best off. Short term pains for long term gains.

Strangely, when I first got my job 2 years ago, I was sorely tempted to buy my dream car. I actually test drove it with a super pushy saleman and was within an inch of buying the thing.

Good thing I didn't, because I'm using all the cash I would have spent on that car to get this new company going. And living frugally, you can stretch out the value of a car a very long time. Plus, the car is a constant monetary drain, starting a company has the potential to make money eventually (although statistically I imagine most startups are a net drain on a person's net worth).

I would also say that if you think you want to try a startup, do it before you get married or have kids. Spouses will say they will be supportive, but like anything else involving a startup they don't really know what they're in for. Many simply cannot handle it. Divorce and/or child custody issues will not help your startup be successful.

Definitely. When I got married I told my wife "I might start another company, be prepared" but there's really no preparation for the amount of time/money/energy/hope that goes into a new venture. If there's any advantage I had it was that I knew what it required to get my first venture off the ground. But like anything else related to building/maintaining relationships, it's all about ongoing communication.

What about doing both?

Work at a great company and your own projects on the side. Seems like the best of both worlds.

Ever since starting to read HN a few weeks ago, I've become interested in learning Ruby, Rails and general web development. I love where I'm at now (which is not hidden but easily found via my name and profile link) and the fact that I can spend my free time on weekends learning for the sake of learning, without the stress of having to make an income from it.

There is a great quote from Who's Your City that states you need an additional $133,000 in annual income to make up for the happiness from seeing your friends and family on a daily or weekly basis. That's a big jump for those quitting to move halfway across the country.

The quit-to-startup culture is certainly enticing but there's really no reason many of us can't have the best of both worlds without quitting a great job at a great company.

Agreed. This is definitely one of the hardest decisions I've made in the last 2 years. I did the "work in my free time" thing, albeit on another project, and had difficulty with the work life balance. In the end, the other project successful enough that I'm able to afford to quit (for a short while) and go full time on this idea. I actually finished the second edit of a new blog post earlier today suggesting that folks bootstrap their first startup for some of the same reasons you bring up.

I was in a similar situation, but with 2k/mo in mortgage, passive income and about 12 month's expenses saved up. His situation is much better! My business turned out ok. I just asked myself, what's the worst that can happen? Get another job in 10 months. Ok, no brainer. go.

You should listen to Shane Becker's (@veganstraightedge) talk at LA Ruby Conf 2012, 'Quit You Job, srsly' http://youtu.be/0CMjiIqhvdQ

This is awesome. Thanks for sharing.

This site sees so many posts saying "I just quit my job, and you should too," and so few that say "I quit my job x years ago, and you should too."

Is their dream losing it's luster when it becomes a reality?

Or you can start the company on the side and jump when you are ready (or not start one at all, that's okay, too). I bootstrapped my current company with my friend just working nights and weekends. We are now profitable and growing and the schedule helped us focus on what was important.

In hindsight the risk was actually staying at my job, where I would have stagnated and not had the amazing experiences I've had over the last year and a half.

This is one of those decisions that really depends on the individual making them. You really have to go with what you feel makes you the happiest. For me, entrepreneurship is the only option. For the last 10 years since I was 18 I've been a business owner. It has been quite the roller coaster as well. In that time I have experienced living in a fancy loft in Hollywood to being homeless and living in my car for a month. From working 6+ months 12-15 hour days and making no revenue to having 12 employees on pay-roll bringing in $100k monthly gross sales with a nice chunk being profit. Regardless of the ups and downs there was always this consistent happiness which seemed to be backed by hope and passion. Even while living in my car and having to take showers at the gym to then go to Starbucks to access internet in order to work on the business I was building, I was still happy, and seemed happier than most.

Most people, even with an entrepreneurial spirit will choose comfort over risk and reward. That's all fine, it's just for me I find comfort to be the cousin of death. Comfort in the sense of not worrying about how to live is good. I'm talking about comfort in regards to losing purpose in life. Living a lifestyle where you're kind of just "wingin' it". Those are traits I don't foresee myself having regardless of whatever dollar amount I'm worth.

Some don't understand passion and don't know how to put an appraisal value on it. Your previous co-workers might have found you to be wreckless or not taking life seriously, when in fact you're taking life far more serious than they are.

I think you're doing the right thing. Forget the safety net, it's going to slow you down. It's going to keep you from pushing yourself to the limit.

I wish you luck in your endeavors and..."Stay Thirsty My Friend" :)

I quit my job just over 1 year ago to work for myself, to do some consulting work and improve on a website that I had knocked up with a mate over 2 weekends and see where it would take us and we are doing OK.

I felt I got the same treatment as the original poster did (quiet pity & the why's) but I didn't care it was/is low risk and if worse come to worse I will get a job again if I feel things really aren't going the way I want. One of my friends even asked, "do you like money and want to get rich so much that you are willing to leave your job that is stable and go out on your own". I think the assumption for everyone who doesn't know about the love of working with tech is that its done just for the money only not because its so fun and challenging to some of us.

I responded by saying that I actually like money less then he did because I was willing to go for 2 years (if needed) without stable income or money to do the things I like (within and outside of tech), the way I figure, this shows less of a desire for money then someone who wakes up everyday hating what they are doing just for the money when they don't have the kids and a wife ?!

One of the advantaged that I didn't realise about quitting was other then being able to do the work that you want to make $$$ (work that replaces your 9-5) you end up with much more time because you are able arrange your time appropriately and the time wasted on ridiculous meetings, coffee breaks, friday drinks the 2hr total train ride everyday and the complete drain at the end of the day that just leaves you wanting to veg-out after work and not do anything was no longer there. At the moment after I get a piece of work done and I am happy with it I move onto the next thing whether it is a "work related" task or "something fun" (like going to the beach for instance).

When I had that additional time the one big issue I had was trying not to feel guilty about not working on the tasks that I was doing to replace my previous day job and force every bit of work in any free time BUT once I was able to get over this I managed to pick up a new sport a new language and learn many things that I feel has enriched my life so much more.

What i kinda learnt is sometimes you quit work because of the usual HN reasons, to do a startup, work for your self but for me specifically because I didn't have to waste so much time I ended up discovering lots of other things that makes life awesome. Unless i really need it and things go south in a big way, living life with much less salary as before but with this additional freedom is so much better. I guess its good to enjoy this whilst you can for those that can because when kids come along being a responsible adult things will obviously have to be different.

I think you're right on with the monetary bit, statistically every startup/consultancy/independently produced product is a money/time pit waiting to happen. The number of successes in either category is tiny and you really have to do it for reasons other than cash. I spent 4.5 years on my first startup. If I wanted to maximize my income, I would have pursued a career in finance, not started my own company.

As you say, I too find the freedom liberating, but more than that, I find it exciting to work on problems that are personally interesting. To have skin in the game is the best way I've found so far to keep my work interesting and engaging. The fact that I can define my own work-life balance helps too. :)

The idea that entrepreneurship is some kind of nirvana that you have to aim for is downright ridiculous. Being an entrepreneur is hard, more so in emerging markets like tech. The world is currently evolving around technology, and it is quick to adopt, but quicker to abandon. Getting customers these days is a lot harder. People expect more, so you have to provide more with less. Five thousand dollars could get you on the way, but now days, you need twenty thousand. But no one ever tells you that. All you hear is "I'm quitting my job to start some ridiculous business based on an unproven idea." Because, some months ago, a guy or some seventeen year old kid sold out their half-finished project for thirty million dollars.

The real truth about being an entrepreneur, and a tech founder is that this shit is really fucking hard. I mean, harder than opening up a pizzeria and simply operating it with a 6% margin on gross (which makes for a good living). Startups are very, very hard due to how you have to invent everything. Even if you are copying some other team, you have to create your own systems. That is the main reason most people don't even manage to launch. They had never realized that sales and marketing need to be systemized before they can work. That you can't simply run ads on adwords and get good traffic. They don't know how creating content marketing is tough, because it takes time, and a good understanding of what the market wants to read about (something even marketers get wrong).

It used to be that some person could simply throw some PHP at it, and get going. Not so much. With money, comes competition. And bubbles create an over-abundance of money, hence an over-abundance of competition. I've learned to think small. Rather than trying to build the next big thing (an attitude I would carry), I now want to build the next small thing. So small, that it goes unnoticed that most people here. Though small != small profits.

And did I mention work? In a regular job you clock in, do your thing, and clock out. If anything comes up, it will have to wait for tomorrow (or Monday). In a business, if you don't act in a timely fashion, you can end up getting DDoS'ed (like it happened during the whole Pycon fiasco), and simply get taken down by a bunch of dumb shits. Being a business owner means that the business is always in your mind, no matter what. If you are vacationing, it means that you log in every couple of hours and see whats going on. Employees? Try getting an employee to answer their phone while on vacation.

So, don't quit your job unless you have a steady stream of clients, and your business is profitable. Don't quit for an idea. Don't quit if you got accepted into some incubator. Because good jobs are a rare thing. If you have one, keep it. Its worth it.

But who am I to even say all of this? To turn you away? I talk and interact with founder-types every week. They are mostly lost, because they don't know what the fuck to do next. No money, and no future prospects. Lost and trying to make sense of things. They ask for help, and I sometimes do give then a push. But I know, deep in my heart, that they will never make it. Not due to their idea, or talents, but due to how unprepared they are for the reality of business. I've done more than a dozen, and I still feel like a noob. I make the same dumb mistakes, and still think a bit too positive. Though experience has taught me to be way more careful, and not trade-in a good, steady paycheck for the chance to become the next big thing.

Life is not about being on top, but about being on top of your game. Your own game.

Couldn't agree more. I personally relish the always-on aspect of starting something new and really missed it while working for my employer.

Your comment about good jobs being rare is definitely not lost on me either. It would have been so much easier to quit if I didn't like my coworkers or the company, but they both rocked.

I actually just finished writing another blog post today (hasn't been published yet) about bootstrapping your first startup and shooting for small but profitable.

I have a house and a mortgage (Europe, Scotland) and I pay at least half of what I would by renting. I can't speak for the US but here once you own 40% of the property outright, mortgages aren't a terrible idea.

Of course this is based on living alone, living with my parents or something like that would likely work out cheaper.

Unfortunately, those of us who are on an H1B visa do not have much flexibility when it comes to employment. For example, I can't just quit my job and found a startup. I can't join one either, because most startups do not want to deal with the costs and administrative details of sponsoring foreigners.

You would be surprised, especially if you're in-demand talent, i.e. iOS.

If you buy into life having rules about how it is supposed to look at certain points then this is applicable. If you don't accept it then life simply comes down to knowing what your goals are, working out a way to achieve them and going for it.

"HN seems to have picked this up [...]" because you submitted it :D

Unless you meant that it made it to the home page. ;)

Either way, best of luck. Definitely a good suggestion to try something a little scary while you don't have much in the way of obligations, yet.

Yeah, sorry if that seems like a misdirect, I do self-submit my articles, but most of them don't make it anywhere near the homepage. :)

Thanks for the kind words, I was telling my wife that I'm looking forward to making all new mistakes from my first business!

LOL, I would not leave a job to start a code tutor site. There's no $$$ in that space, too much free competition. Make sure you have a job lined up before running out of money!

I feel like I'm one of the odd ones out where I enjoy my job at a large company that offers me pretty much everything I could want at the moment

I go home, relax, read, hangout with the family and work on really interesting open source & side projects .. I can't imagine how I could be much happier ..

IMO if your goal is to start a business start planning things out and take the risks you need to only you have to not just when you can .. which is very situational .. i wouldn't just go and quit your job if it's not immediately necessary on a whim due to advice from a random blog.

Definitely agree ninetenel. I tried to emphasize in my blog that I have chanced into a really great, low-risk situation to quit, and it's still really hard to drop everything to give it shot. I am envious of your contentment with a job at a larger employer, having experienced both, a startup is definitely not the most fun option. It's hard, likely to fail, demanding, always-on, and otherwise irrational. I think I just caught the startup bug the first time around. :)

Counterpoint: Don't quit your job. Unless you're ok with the prospect of failing, and winding up broke, homeless, and seriously depressed. Oh yes, two weeks in the sky was the limit and I was living the dream! Two years in was a different story. Even if you're single, moving in with your grandfather at age 35 because you have nowhere else to go is not a picnic. I'm beyond grateful to have a 9-6 coding job again, and I'll be here for a while rebuilding my savings all over again.

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