Hi all, listener and lurker here with an interesting predicament I’d love to get your opinions on.
I’ve been working on a side project for over a year (learning to code along the way). It’s now working and ready for first users. It’s a two sided market SaaS business but the supply side doesn’t have a marginal cost except for time needed to create the posting in order to build the critical mass before being able to charge (similar to a job board).
Now the twist comes in. My employer has disclosure requirements for outside business. I followed procedure and was initially told that there would be no issue with my running it outside of business hours.
Later, they came back and said they couldn’t approve of it (for reasons that are a bit of a stretch but I get it). I’d been planning to go for it but recently found out I have a kid on the way. This makes my day job more important (golden handcuff situation) and I need to figure out how to manage this without being the face or sales for the next year or so until my wife goes back to work. I still will have time between my kid and work to handle the tech and back office work (I’m extremely productive).
- I have some funds to put to use but not enough to hire anyone full time.
- I have a VA already in place to take on the admin stuff
- I am doing development and outsourcing some of it
- No plans for VC route. No interest on my end and market is probably too small.
- Sales is not something I gravitate towards
I am considering a few options.
Find a cofounder
This is probably the smartest move although good partners are very hard to find. I’m partial to flying solo and managing employees. Longest ‘sales’ cycle due to risk of not getting it right.
Hire a part time sales/marketing person
This person would handle outreach with my guidance on a part time (10-20h / week) basis. Ideally someone with some B2B type experience but young and hungry. Offer performance incentives in addition to hourly with the goal of turning into full time once there’s enough traction.
Hire a contractor (firm or individual)
Contractors who specialize in this might be more polished and have some plans they’ve used with other clients that we could leverage. It’d be easier to end a contract compared to a failed cofounder partnership or employee. Probably more expensive, though.
Sell using a pen name
This has some ethical ambiguity to it but would allow me to be on the phone. I would do this as a last resort since it’d be less effective not having a public person behind it (linkedin profile etc).
tl;dr built SaaS product, can’t sell it due to employer rules, need to stay employed due to child being on the way until revenues coming in. How to get off the ground?
How would you handle this and why?