It doesn’t take millions to start a tech company

This post is part of my 200 words per day challenge that I am sharing publicly on Twitter in order to improve my writing and develop a writing routine. Feel free to join and comment.

If owning a company is an old goal of yours, I come with good news.

You don’t have to go broke, quit your job, or keep daydreaming about it while eyeing Indie Hackers or networking at wannapreneur meetups.

It does not have to be risky either. But it is not going to be simple.

What it takes is persistence and curiosity — thirst for knowledge. This has nothing to do with money: entrepreneurship is an internal journey first.

So if you want to get started as a tech entrepreneur today, I advise you to do it on your free time in parallel of your main job.

Start getting into a hustling habit. Work one hour or two hours everyday, before or after work, and during weekends. I have been practicing this habit since my second year of college by working on pet projects and getting involved in organization activities on the side. One hour is not much, it goes fast.

In parallel, you have to learn how to program. If you are building an online business but have no idea how it works, it is never going to happen. First, you will lack credibility, which is essential to any position of leadership. Second, you will have to resort to development outsourcing or service subscription that will increase your burn rate and slow down your profitability curve. And this is not ok for a starting entrepreneur.

Those two points get you in the habit of making, which is the first step toward becoming a sustainable entrepreneur.

Then, you might want to start building minimum viable products and try them out against the market reality. Any fun idea you really believe in will do. Depending on your job and your country, you will have to set up a dedicated one-man business structure and a dedicated bank account to start receiving payments through Stripe or Paypal: revenues are the only metric that can validate an idea.

For a dynamic website, you will need an hosting service and a domain name. For static websites, Netlify or Github Pages might be enough.

All in all I am spending 30$ per month on everything (and I have 4 indie products so far). StartupCosts can give you an idea of how cheap it is to start a business.

Once you start generating revenues it is time to envision leaving your job to focus on your startup full-time.

At this point you should be enough self-aware to know if you have the fire in you or if it is time to move on.

Look up your runway and figure out how long you can sustain yourself and your family. If it appears doable to reach ramen profitability, make the jump. Else, save some more and/or reduce your monthly costs. Currently I am running on less than 1000$ per month by moving to cheaper — yet more comfortable — places.

Don’t do it for fame. Don’t do it to get someone in your bed. Or to get rich. Don’t even think about it as a way to be free, owing to the fact that you will trade a form of slavery for another. Don’t choose it.
Do it because it’s bursting out of your very soul, and you have no other choice but to give in to it.

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