Last week I spent some time talking to the entrepreneur that I mentioned before that has his entrepreneurial desires trapped by the American dream of home ownership. This young professional has a business idea, two co-founders, a mortgage, and a finance background with no software development experience. I asked him where he’s spending his time outside his day job and he said there wasn’t much for him to do since he wasn’t a developer. Naturally, I told him that he should roll up his sleeves and learn HTML, CSS, and PHP or Ruby and get to work on developing his skills since software engineering is just like finance where you solve logic puzzles according to given rules.
The real heart of the conversation came when he said he was going to continue helping out part-time on the business until they made enough progress to pay himself a salary and go full-time. I said that wasn’t a good approach because his goal is to be an entrepreneur noe and building a business on the side is going to significantly prolong the amount of time it’ll take before he makes enough progress for it to be his full-time job. A startup isn’t a part-time job (see Rob Kischuk’s comments on trying to get funding while still having a day job). I said he should view it like wanting to be a doctor — plan for four years of med school and a couple years of residency and you’ll have the right mindset. That’s right, he needs to modify his lifestyle now by cutting back his expenses and selling his house so that his spouse can support him without his income and plan for working full-time for the next six years, likely on multiple business ideas or pivots, before he’ll be back to where he is now in terms of income and ability to go on vacation for a week and not have to worry about anything. That’s a serious commitment, and not one to be taken lightly.
What else? Do you agree a serious lifestyle modification will help him be a successful entrepreneur sooner?