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Thinking to get a job to keep the startup going


#1

Hi guys,

It has been a bit of a tough time lately. After quitting my corporate job, I spent months financing the creation of the product and, most important, believing in the dream.

Now the product is ready to launch, we do have a couple of customer inquiries too.

However, after 8 months of serious savings and sacrifices, my money is over and I’m not that keen on a bank loan. I’ve been thinking to get an angel investor but I’m concerned he will add a lot of pressure - and I don’t aim to become the next Mark Zuckerberg. I just want to make a good living out of my startup and, in the long run, live anywhere I want without having to be physically there.

I was considering getting back into corporate (!!!) and get a fat salary (they would pay quite well for my experience) so I can keep financing my startup and…have a life too. Perhaps I would hire a sales manager, so he will take care of biz dev and customer service.

How does it sound? Bad idea?

Is there anyone who manages to work in a corp and run a startup too?


#2

It makes perfect sense. Just be careful that whatever paperwork you sign as part of the hiring process doesn’t cause you problems down the road. Even if they aren’t legally enforceable, non competes, etc. can be a headache. Contracting might be the right balance of pay without long-term commitment.


#3

I do sporadic sub-contracting, just enough to get by. I find it pretty well impossible to progress things with my startup while I’m doing that, though they tend to be short, intense gigs on the other side of the planet.

On the other hand, I was talking to a guy yesterday who switched from contracting to permanent so that he could save energy at work and spend it on his side project instead. So maybe a full time job won’t be so bad.

Food for thought: You’re not ready for a sales hire. When are you ready?

When [a prospective sales hire] sees your customer list, you want her to think, “Oh man, if the founder can get these customers, I am going to KILL IT here.”

Bonus links:
How to hire sales people: Wait longer than you think
When to hire a sales person
Startup Sales – Why Hiring Seasoned Sales Reps May Not Work


#4

There’s no shame in it, we consulted for YEARS to get our product going.


#5

I’m in the same boat, lasted about 8 months, some customer inquiries but ran out of money.

I took a job a month ago with a really great company and a really great team. Inside, I know it won’t last forever because once the product grows I’ll have to quit, but for now its a steady paycheck and a little less stress. Very sad in a way, if the entrepreneur bug never bit me I’d retire at a place like this.

My startup has two other non-technical co-founders so they are still knocking on doors and arranging meetings which helps a lot.

Sometimes its a balancing act. Its hard to say “Hey I have a startup and I need to go meet with a customer this morning, I’ll be late”. Instead try and be vague and say you have a meeting you HAVE to go to, like its a burden on your life. I don’t want to recommend lying but telling your 9-5 your passion lies elsewhere is a mistake.

Once you tell your job you have a startup every time you have to go to the dentist your managers think your making a phone call, every bathroom break becomes a chance to answer your startups emails. All of a sudden you’re less productive according to management and your co-workers think you’re rich. I think its a jealousy thing, so have to manage it in a political sense.


#6

Thanks guys, your answers are very supportive.

And thanks John, it looks we are on the same boat. I ran out of resources right after the 8th month too…It might be some sort of “crisis of the 8 month” :slight_smile:


#7

Sorry to jump on this thread late.
I’m in a different boat. I’ve never quit my corporate job. I worked on my product during evenings, weekends, I’ve hired some contractors on odesk for some tasks. While the product is growing and I have customers, it’s still nowhere near replacing my corporate income. With kids and a mortgage, I never seriously thought about quitting my job. It’s something I dream about, but I need to grow the startup to a point where it generates a chunky income.
Having a corporate job makes it frustrating sometimes as the time is never enough to work on your startup but if you work patiently, it’ll eventually move in the right direction. Slowly but surely.
I think getting a corporate job to sustain your startup is the rational thing to do. Maybe you can look into consulting, contracting, freelancing - that’d provide a better mix perhaps.


#8

I think it would be very hard to manage someone else if you are working full time at a day job.

I guess the ideal would be to get a job (contract or permanent) that is less than 5 days per week, so you have a guaranteed income and time to work on your product. That is what I did for a while.

I definitely wouldn’t recommend getting into personal debt to finance your company.


#9

I second @Andy’s comment. In my limited experience, while it is possible to be an “absentee” owner from some types of businesses, for most of our businesses the person that has the drive to handle sales/biz dev will start to become resentful of the lack of time you put into it no matter their compensation. There is a tipping point where a GM seems to be ok with the team and I see it in my clients but it is down the road.

Not to mention being available to manage and respond to that person.

@johnf also had a great point too that once people know you do something else (no matter how small) it does affect their perception of your time and effort.

@Daniel It is great that you have skills that are in high demand. Pick a number of days/hours you can spend a week on consulting to keep the dream alive.

Sounds like you are in a spot where you still have some time and some options.