If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you’ve always wanted to start your own startup.
What is pretty predictable however, is that you’re still working for someone else. Maybe it’s because you’re afraid to give up that steady paycheck. Fair Enough ! But there are still ways to start your entrepreneurial journey .
Starting a company while employed by another one can be tricky — especially if you’ve signed agreements promising not to compete with your employer or not to hire away colleagues. Indeed, in many cases anything you invent while collecting a paycheck can be considered the company’s IP.
Still, working at a corporation affords access to several things that are vital to a fledgling company: money, time,network, customers, market research , personnel. And it turns out that many former wage earners have successfully exploited these resources — legally, and in some cases with the assistance of their employers — to realize their entrepreneurial dreams. Some actually built their startups while working for someone else, while others simply tapped previous employers’ people and cachet.
The Mantra is Simple – When you come across hidden customer demands in your job, turn them into a business.
Here are a few things that could help you out in such tricky and sensitive situation :
1. Use Your Salary as Funding
The key, is “to use your salary to invest in the startup as much as possible before jumping ship.”
Because it is important that the more you invest the better it is going to be. The more you have to work on and the more important part is once you jump ship, you have to make your own earning and all the investment that you have has to be made by you. This will not only help you bootstrap, but also help you in getting an idea as to whether you can work things out or not.
There are two things to factor in a product: Time and Money. Taking money, the usual cost of creating a product that is market-ready is somewhere in the range of 10-25 Lakhs (INR). Now, let’s face it, that is not something most of us already have saved up, or can afford while working in the early stages of our careers. So let’s take the other alternative, time. While being employed at an organization full-time, it will take you somewhere in the range of 3-6 months to come up with a working version of your product. Now the middle ground comes up, where you can hire interns to work on the product, while you can use the same time to network, decide on the pricing and market plans.
2. Turn Common Complaints Into a Business Plan
You know the vertical thoroughly . You know that exact pain point your customers keep ranting about. If your employer won’t deliver it, maybe you should.
The best advantage of being an employee is that you get up close with the customers and you are generally the courier of the problems to your boss, so make full use of that when you have your own, and not taking orders from anyone. Also, being the employee lets you know what the current demand is and what is it that is keeping the customers from being satisfied.
You also benefit from having first-hand knowledge about all the shortcomings in the existing solutions , the current pricing and direct contacts at the customers office. The only missing link is your differentiated solution !
3. Make Your Boss a Beta Tester
You have an idea, you have a better guide at your disposal, yes it’s obvious and its your own boss. And not to forget that he is the boss, and hence knows a lot more in terms of knowledge and experience, hence it wouldn’t be bad to take advice from him and better your ideas, but only in a passive way, because you wouldn’t want to get yourself caught at trying to show up as a competition.
4. Take Advantage of Your Company’s Reputation
The mantra is not new, it has been age old, that people working at a good workplace are reputed to be knowledgeable and also experts in their respective fields. And that is something that, when paired with proper advertising can turn your startup into the next big thing. “Ride the wave” is no new slogan. Bank on your employer brand to improve your own.
Developers at many reputed companies get a huge load of goodies that they never use. Google credits, AWS credits, Gartner Insights, and what not. What would otherwise cost you a bomb, is there, sitting in your lap for no cost. Utilize this to the fullest extent before you spend a single penny on these services.
5. Convert Your Employer Into a Business Partner
Don’t rely too much on a parent company. Sooner or later, all startups must be able to fend for themselves. Also, that reliability might just as well inhibit your growth and turn it into a liability, which is a disaster for a new startup. And certainly not what any person would want. So what do you do? Turn your current employer into a business partner, grow using their resources and make sure you chalk out the terms of the divorce carefully, or you will suffer later.
6.Never be afraid to experiment
One thing that most people are afraid of is that the fact that they are afraid of losing. And that’s what takes most of the aspirants down, the fear. Well, to be honest what most people should try and do is to channel that fear to help you propel forward. It’s no cliche to say, “Edison failed 9999 times trying to make a bulb”, but he did make one. And once you make it, nobody counts that number of times you failed. So remember to try and make it work, just give it your all.
Lot of SaaS platforms that make in the range of 1,000-10,000$ a month have been built by employees of various organizations, and they just sit and let the platform earn for them. No regular intervention is required and that is the ingenuity of it all.
If you are waiting too long to get started, you will be too old to start. Responsibilities and other things will weigh you down. Go out when you have the time and energy to pursue your passion. Look for co-working spaces that help you work out at nights, weekends. Considering these are times when they have almost 0 demand, you should be able to get a big bargain on the price. Find like-minded people, or better, find people who share the ideology but you can argue with.