Do you dream of one day coming up with a breakthrough idea, building your own startup, and becoming the new Bill Gates? You're not alone. But like most people, you probably don't have millions of dollars in capital to quit your job and create a new unicorn by just snapping your fingers. But what if you just don't want to pass up this opportunity? Begin working on your project alongside your job.
I know a thing or two about this, so I have prepared a few tips that could help you make this difficult journey at least a little easier. I based them on the experience I gained when I founded the startup Dio while working at the software studio Applifting. These eight tips will assist you in minimizing the risk of failure and help you avoid burnout, getting fired, breaking up, and other curveballs that life can throw at you. You will learn, among other things:
- Why it's a bad idea to quit your job
- How to communicate your project to your employer
- Why your personal life is at critical risk
- How to not suffocate under a pile of tasks
- What your work must be like for you to stay motivated
- The name of a sport that combines skydiving and skiing
- How to choose a startup-friendly employer
- When it's time to stop following the rules (including these)
Don't quit your job
The first step to start your own business is—surprisingly—to not leave your current job. There's a simple reason for this: 90% of startups end in failure. Even if you have the perfect product, a cohesive team, and breathtaking market research, you still have to keep in mind that statistics are relentless. It's good that you believe in your idea and are confident that it will reap success. But don't get swept up in the rush of positive emotions and deprive yourself of your regular income.
If your product or service is really going to be a hit, the right time will come. But by that time, you should already be generating a profit or have an investor, who will also pay for the time you spend working on the project.
Are you worried that your employer won't like you running your own business while working at their company? Don’t be. Many progressive companies are happy to have ambitious employees who are motivated to change the world. The important thing is to be honest and open from the very beginning.
Some companies even go so far as to encourage their people to start their own business. A good example of that is Applifting’s internal startup incubator Voyager, which helps people validate their business ideas.
Yes, entrepreneurship while working full time comes with its risks. Sometimes, you'll have to run to a lunch with an investor or have a business meeting during the working hours. That's why you should talk about it with your colleagues or superiors and be absolutely transparent. You might be surprised to see that they don’t just understand you, they support you.