Recently, there have been a series of articles about bootstrapping your business while still working your day job, and we thought we’d way in with our .02.
Theoretically, it’s the best of all possible worlds….one gets the saftey of a regular paycheck while working on the entrepreneurial dream. Realistically, it might cost you your sanity and a lot of sleep while trying to figure out if the new business can be self sustaining and provide the life you currently lead.
First, you’ve should take our Entrepreneurial Aptitue questionnaire to find out if you’ve even got the stomach to entrepreneur. It’s not all wine and roses.
Second, take our idea validation course (A02) and research the idea as best you can, using those techniques. Maybe even invest in a live session to cover any other items that the course might not cover. These are cheap investments. Be realistic on the outcomes, too; don’t plow ahead when the outcomes don’t match your preconceived notions of what you’d like to have happen.
Third, if the market appears to be there, put a pencil to pricing and gross costs, to figure out how much money you might need to get to launch and beyond. Then double it. Can you find that amount of money among friends and family? Unless you have collateral (house, 401 k, etc.) banks won’t lend to you. If you run out of friends and family money, will you be well enough along to talk to venture capitalists? They’re still in the game.
Fourth, if things are still looking good, discuss it with family. Are they supportive? What do they think about balancing the dream with present reality?
Fifth, and this is the toughest step, what seems to be the consensus about when to quit the present job to pursue the dream? You’ll get to that point, so think about it in advance. You won’t be able to do both jobs, so figure out at what point you make the leap. Odds are that it’ll be before you’re completely ready to make the leap.
Sixth, if your dream comes apart down the road, can you go back to your present employer? Some employers are supportive of entrepreneurial leanings, some aren’t. Some employers, such as Google and Microsoft, even financially back entrepreneurial ventures. Don’t be afraid to ask….odds are the employer has noticed your sleep-deprived ways,and has been waiting for you to come talk to him/her.
So, in the final analysis, it’s a long and winding road bootstrapping your company, but certainly not impossible.