Can you build a startup without quitting your day job?
“Something brewing behind the scenes can turn into your life’s work.”
A small sideline has the potential to morph into something huge. With reliable internet access and enough devotion, a nugget of gold becomes a rainbow. Many of the world’s most successful companies started as an afterthought in someone’s spare hours, while the ‘real work’ chugged on in the background.
Even Apple was born in a garage, not an office. College dropouts Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak could only work on their DIY personal computers AFTER their 9–5 had finished. Here are a few pointers on how you can build a startup without quitting your day job:
Define and execute the barest minimum.
You may be bursting with ideas and ecstatic about the possibilities, but you’ve got to focus on the basics: 1) what is our product, 2) how will we take orders, and 3) how will we fulfill those orders. Everything else is invalid until you.ve got the basics in place. In most cases, assembling the bare minimum will be about the same amount of work as writing a detailed business plan. More important, the time you spend executing the basics actually launches the businesses, rather than just trying to define it.
Use every second you’ve got.
It goes without saying that time management is absolutely essential to working while bootstrapping. Working nights and weekends is a given, but really optimizing your time takes even more than that. The nine or so hours you spend at work each day takes a lot out of most people, leaving scarcely any time at all to build a high-quality product or service. For those who are committed to doing that anyway, you need to find a time management approach that suits you.
Shorten your commute.
Depending on what your full-time job is, you may not have any real options when it comes to shortening your commute. If your ultimate goal is to launch a startup, but the only real option is to build it up from a side gig, it helps to find a day job that makes that as easy as possible for you. To that end, it makes sense to live very close to where you work, even if that’s a bit more expensive or a longer distance from your friends.
Don’t build from scratch.
Many founders incorrectly assume that they have to build everything themselves. That takes way too much time. It might seem at first that a steady income buys you more time to build, but it can be a dangerous trap. Speed is even more important when you’re moonlighting as an entrepreneur than when you’re full-timing. All you have to do is bring these products together, tweak them, and you’ll be halfway there. This also lets you focus your limited time and precious energy on the things that really matter (like your core technology).
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About Devansh Lakhani
Director of Lakhani Financial Services, and a Chartered Accountant, he helps start-ups raise funds from his network of investors. He guides and advises start-ups to scale up by providing efficient sales, marketing, team building, and business management strategies. He has executed fundraising by block deals on the stock exchange and conducted IPOs and right issues on the SME platform to the tune of over Rs. 50 Crore. He is currently working with start-ups from various sectors to help them channelize their business models and investments.