I haven’t had a “job” in 2 years. But when I did, it sucked. Seriously, it was terrible. Take a close look a the office timetable above. Is that you? Be honest with yourself. That was my life. Every single day. For 6 years.
This article is in response to this week’s Startup Edition topic, “Why are you working on your startup?”
In a regular 9-5 job you’re selling your time to an employer. I understand this is the normal way of working in our world. And I can respect anyone who puts food on the table. But it’s not the only way. In my path, I chose doing a startup. Here’s why.
You can do whatever you want now. Everything is under your control. It’s not dependent on your boss, co-workers, or other departments. You decide what projects to work on. You decide when you want to work on them. You even decide whether or not you want to get out of bed every day.
That freedom allows you to travel any time you want. You don’t have to ask your boss to approve your hard earned vacation days. When you want to go somewhere, you just do it. Your startup doesn’t need to stop either. Just bring a laptop. This year I spent some time and worked from SF, NYC, LA, Portland, and the Caribbean islands. I still plan to spend time in Australia and Mexico.
Yeah, sipping coconuts on a deserted beach in Barbados was nice. This was my office for 2 weeks:
You get to put all your time and effort into only things you’re truly passionate about. I remember what it’s like to get assigned a project you didn’t love. But you have to do it. It’s your job. So you slave away coding until it’s done. Most likely never to be used in production. That’s just not fun.
When you’re working on a startup, you need to love what you’re doing. Or else you will get burned out and quit. That’s why it almost never works to sit there and dream up startup ideas. You have to have a deep understanding of the problem you’re working on. If you’re not passionate about it, it’s freaking hard. I’ve tried.
Time and money
Selling your time for money to an employer will put a cap on the amount of money you can make. If you start your own business, it’s up to you to decide how much money you make. And it’s not dependent on how many hours you work. If you’re able to get 1,000 customers paying $20 a month, then you’re doing well for yourself right?
When you work for an employer all that money is just going straight into their own pockets. You are generating more money for their business than they’re paying you. That’s the only way they can run a profitable business. Which means you’re getting screwed.
Making a bigger impact
Let’s face it. Most of the software you write at a company doesn’t ever ship. It never gets into the hands of a customer. There are long drawn out roadmaps and projects tend to get cut for other priorities.
When you’re working on a startup, you make sure that product gets launched. It’s your livelihood. And since a startup can’t survive without users, you know you’re going to make that software so freaking valuable people will shove money in your pockets for it.
Imagine how many lives you will be improving with your software. It starts becoming your mission to spread that impact. Most people won’t know about you yet. It’s going to be your job to make sure you reach them. It’s your job to make them understand how valuable you are. When you get that email from a customer at 3 A.M. telling you how your product works 100x better than anything else they tried, you know it was all worth it.
Why can’t you stop selling your time for money? Please share your fears in the comments!