That's it. I'm getting a 9-5. Again

Ok guys, I know this might not sound in line with the entrepreneur attitude, the positive thinking, the persistence-thing…but I’m going back to 9-5 for now.

This last year spent on building a product and trying to grow it hasn’t been a real failure. It made me realize that this is not the right time for me. And it made me realize that I don’t want any VC or pressurizing investor over my shoulder.

I’m a bootstrapper. And like any other bootstrapper, I can easily run short of money.

Bottom-line, I’m getting a job (somewhere in the world) and postpone my entrepreneurial dreams. Though, knowing myself, I might keep working on building something cool on day-1 of my new 9-5 :wink:

Wish me luck (and all the best to the ones who are persisting!).


[quote=“Daniel, post:1, topic:1744”]
Bottom-line, I’m getting a job (somewhere in the world) and postpone my entrepreneurial dreams. Though, knowing myself, I might keep working on building something cool on day-1 of my new 9-5
[/quote]I think it’s normal to build a business on the side while working 9-5. It can take years for a business to become profitable; see also the ‘Long, Slow, SaaS Ramp of Death’.

You just found a way to self-fund your dreams. The trick will be to keep the 9-5 from taking so much of your time/energy that you don’t have anything left for your own work.

Good Luck!

Being entrepreneur is about taking smart decisions, 1 year trying is a very smart decision. Maybe in another moment would be better.

As you seek to work on building something on the side, this post by Amy Hoy might be useful:

Commisserations and better luck next time. I worked on a couple of products that weren’t successful before PerfectTablePlan (thankfully being paid a salary). They key is to learn from your failures. Also there are lots of things that are outside your control, so a fair amount of luck is involved.

Don’t feel bad at all. I had to do exactly the same thing 2-3 years ago and am just now at the stage where I am ready to resume my projects/dreams on the side.

For me the switch back to 9-to-5 has been good, firstly by removing the financial stresses and pressure and secondly by allowing me the chance to step back and look at my ideas and where I wanted to take them without needing to get something out the door and launched quickly to get funds coming in.

Now that I am restarting development, I have a much better idea of where to take my ideas and how to develop them in a better way.

Hope that makes sense and I hope you get a day job again soon. Hold onto those dreams!


1 Like

I empathise.

Poker Copilot was my third attempt at running my own software company. In between my first attempt and success, I became an employee and then spent years as a freelance consultant.

Enjoy having a reliable wage again! And less stress to boot.

Back at a 9-5 myself.

I figure we all have 30 years to figure this out. A little full time bump in the road is no big deal.



Thank you all, seriously.

I feel pretty much lonely in this period: not many really understand the reasons why I left my old 9-5 a year ago. That was a high profile job in a top tech company, paid really well and that gave me the time to work on my things on the side too. Lesson learnt: don’t leave until you’re not sure what you’re going to do.

Again, thanks all of you for your words of encouragement.

Well, first task when I will be in my new job: find an automation formula (like @tnorthcutt was suggesting)!

1 Like

I think you hit the nail on the head there. Don’t ever leave your 9-5 without a solid plan of what you’re going to do, and even some product market fit/revenue established. Unlike a funded startup (angel or VC), bootstrappers tend to have much less runway, if any. So having a game plan for day 1 is pretty critical.

Good luck with the gig and don’t worry too much. There is plenty of time to give it another go…or 5. As others have mentioned, just keep some time available on the side and always have a side project. Side project may not be your eventual startup, but can keep you having fun, experimenting and generally staying sharp.

1 Like

It’s hardly something to be ashamed of or apologetic for.

I’ve returned to FTE (too) many times—I just think of it as going back to the bank for another cash withdrawal (and always with one eye on the exit).

Or if you really just don’t care for “the life,” congratulations on giving it a shot. How many people dream of making the leap but never even try?

So good luck!

1 Like

I just think of it as going back to the bank for another cash withdrawal (and always with one eye on the exit)

This made my day. I love it!

Guys, knowing myself and my dreams, I will keep trying while at work. And, to be honest, I will use part of my salary to fund my project from the first month, as I’m not giving up on it.

I know we might be going a little OT here but…how would you justify the fact that you have been away from employment for a year? Also, I have changed 3 companies in less than 3 years prior to that. Startups don’t care, they actually appreciate the entrepreneurialism. But corporates don’t like that as I look unreliable.

1 Like

Don’t worry about it. Have (or make up :smile:) reasonable reasons for each job move made that you can provide if they ask. I’ve done some job changes in the last few years, and as long as you have skills a company needs and can interview well enough, you will find something.

With your year working on your own company, you grew skills and knowledge in many areas. You could talk about how you better understand business as a whole, or whatever else you learned, or how the experience makes you better than qualified than others who have not tried what you did.

You’re not looking for a career, so don’t turn down contracting jobs, which can be more available/easier to land.

I’m usually just “independent consulting” during this time, as an umbrella covering both client and personal project work.

I recommend tailoring your presentation to your audience. Certain organizations may be appreciative of your overall experience, as suggested above, while others (most) really don’t want to hear that stuff.

In the latter case they only want another cog for their machine, so you’re going to be the bestest, most uniform and perfectly fit one they’ve ever hired, right?

I wouldn’t lie about it, but “positioning” is important. This does no one a disservice, as all they want to know is that you can do the job, and the interview is just a means to an end.

I’d categorize this as “startups versus large corporations,” but for me that hasn’t been the case—I’ve encountered narrow-minded CTOs at small, ostensibly progressive companies, and large employers that don’t seem to give a hoot what I’ve done as long as I seem like a good fit.

For someone searching for a day job to support a side business, I’d recommend large organizations over startups, based on my experience.

I also think the contracting suggestion is a good one, as you can find long-term contracts through recruiters that offer a rate above market salary, but with stability and W-2 status so you don’t have to mess with self-employment tax.

It’s true that you won’t get your full billing rate, but larger employers typically aren’t going to hire an independent to begin with, and besides you’re not trying to build a client business anyway. (If so, there are different strategies, and if you want to build products there’s the billable hours trap that many consulting shops fall into.)

1 Like

I agree. However, it is important to have answers ready for any potentially awkward questions, just in case they do ask.

Don’t ever apologize for having tried – most people never even try to become entrepreneurs. Just don’t take it as a contest. You don’t have to be a millionaire by 30. Life goes on much longer than this & you’ll have other opportunities to dive back in when you’re ready. Enjoy your new job, your life & your loved ones. :slight_smile:

Good luck & take care.

– Nick –