Several years ago I was talking to an entrepreneur about his startup. When we got to the part about funding, he said that it was all bootstrapped. Each day he would work full-time on his company and then at night, to pay the bills, he would valet cars. Valeting cars is hard – constantly running back and forth, hoping the customer didn’t wait too long and will give a nice tip, and loss of a social life. Also, it’s something many people, especially engineers with college degrees, see as being beneath them. Only, to me, it showed how serious he was about being a full-time entrepreneur and doing whatever it takes to succeed.
The next time an entrepreneur laments not being able to work full-time on their startup due to funding, ask a few questions:
- What lifestyle sacrifices are you making to be an entrepreneur?
- What can you change so that you can be a full-time entrepreneur?
- What jobs can you do after hours to pay the bills (e.g. being an Uber driver or valeting cars)?
- What percentage of your savings are you willing to invest in the startup?
The initial stages – going from idea to product/market fit – are terribly difficult, and practically impossible as a part-time entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs that focus full-time on their startup have a much greater chance of success.
What else? What are some more thoughts on the idea that entrepreneurs need to figure out how to go full-time on their startup?