Startup On the Side

Here are my thoughts on a transition plan from full-time employment to full-time unemployment; also known as becoming a founder of a startup.

  1. Never sign an anti-moonlighting or non-compete agreement – ever. Never sign a blanket IP assignment agreement.
  2. Find the smallest iteration you can do. Do it.
  3. Iteration zero: plan the first four weeks of development.
  4. 1 hour of focus each weeknight, 2 on Saturday. 0 on Sunday.
  5. Consider learning to be productive time. This includes reading books.
  6. Create a quiet space in which to work. Have a family? Include them in the planning so everyone has a voice and catches the vision.
  7. Write down on paper and post in your offline life somewhere: “Life is a marathon not a sprint – pace yourself.”
  8. Sleep well, eat well, don’t drink. No sugar, no pop, no diet pop, no candy. You need mental focus.
  9. Maintain old and foster new relationships. Life is relational not just task oriented.
  10. Don’t give equity away. Everyone’s time has the same value no matter what role they play. $200/hr, $100/hr, $50/hr – doesn’t matter what you choose when everyone is the same.  More is probably better later.
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