Not that I have a choice at the moment, but not a day goes by when I ponder on whether I can do this – whether I can start an internet business – while working in a full time job. Obviously I need money to live, and I have the unfortunate curse of requiring quite a bit to live (damn that shoe addiction!), so some form of healthy income is a necessity. This means I have a few options up my sleeve:
- try to spend less and negotiate a day off my day job per week, thereby living on a 4-days per week salary
- continue working full-time, and try and give up my social life, so I can work on the business in the evenings and on weekends
- get a loan and work ful/part-time on business
- get an equity partner and work full/part-time on business
Once again, I find myself being guided by 37signals’ recommendations. Especially at this early stage in the development process, I do not need to give up my day job. So I do a combination of points 1 and 2 above… some weeks I take a day off to work on the business, other weeks I go out less and work on the business at nights. And despite my occasional exhaustion, it does work. The amount I need to work at this stage is manageable using this approach – its my developers that are working hard, and my contribution involves a Skype chat with them every few days (and due to the time difference, I can only do that at night anyway), and a few nights per week giving feedback and reviewing their work. There is no problem there.
What I am starting to ponder heavily at the moment, is what I do once I launch. The safest option is to approach things organically, and let it grow slowly, to the point where its earning enough so that I can give up my day job. The risk here though is that a competing web site will see my innovations, and quickly adopt them, rendering my site negligible. Also, the rate at which revenue can grow will remain quite low when I cannot dedicate myself to promoting the site and building strategic partnerships.
The alternative would be that I somehow manage to be able to work on the business at least a few days a week post-launch. This means I can dedicate business-hours and physical (ie. non-exhausted) energy to promotions, building partnerships, and integrating revenue generating features. It is likely that the site will then become financially rewarding in a quicker time-frame. This is a very tempting option. I have therefore been pondering deeply over how I can achieve this.
My options are: get a loan, get an equity partner, or move out of my flat, spend less money, go out less, and use my savings to sustain me during this period. Or, of course, continue doing what I am doing, and juggle it all.
I am at a quandary as to what the best path would be. Does anyone have suggestions?