I want to start my own company. I want to develop a product based on my own BIG IDEA, form a company around it, hire people to my cause. I want build something.
I think about this often. There are several ideas for products, all somewhat related to a general theme. Not necessarily a specific BIG IDEA, but something or several things.
I don’t have any cofounders to help me. I certainly don’t have any tech founder friends to lean on and write code. My skill is lacking here. I recognize that as a definite obstacle. I do have a mental list of people I would like to ask.
I really do think often about starting my own company. I don’t think this makes me different from a lot of people. Rather, I suspect a LOT of people out there daydream similarly to me. Beyond the obstacles I tongue-in-cheek outlined above, I consider the real risks of taking such a chance:
I have two daughters – Avery who’s 2 and Lucy who’s just 6 months. Coming home to them at night is amazing, and exhausting. They command my full attention before and after work, and on the weekends. How could I devote the often stated 100% focus to my potential startup while maintaining my commitment to my family? I actually took heart in a recent post by Rob Gonzalez, CEO and cofounder of Salsify, where he talks about the balance between founding a startup and personal life. Interestingly he talks about the advantage of parents in this environment – they have focus because they need to be. This theme was similarly espoused by Paul Graham of Y Combinator in his talk "The Counterintuitive Parts of Startups, and How to Have Ideas." Listen to the Podcast. But let’s be honest: I’ve never started a startup and everyone always talks about how much time must be devoted to it. Am I just cherry-picking the the advice I want to hear?
A GOOD JOB
I have a good job and get paid well for it. There is some reward in the work I do. Kids are expensive. How can I responsibly risk my income on such an unknowable endeavor? Losing my income for however long would put a huge burden on our family. And who knows when I would start to take in any pay, let alone match my current salary. If this is an ego – or selfish – leap to indulge personal wishes I will have failed in my primary responsibility as husband and father.
NOT IN MY twenties
I’ve been out of my 20s for a while. That’s when you’re supposed to try your hand at starting a company, right? Sure I have more experience now than when I was younger, but I have more responsibilities (see reasons above). What would I be giving up to make this happen? If it doesn’t work out (and the statistics say a startup is likely to fail), what damage might I be doing to my professional career? Am I setting myself back a few rungs? I don’t have an answer to this.
There are many reasons why starting my own company is a bad idea. Again, this realization makes me like many, many other people. We all want to be the boss. We all want to do great things. We see only success, and not failure. With all of that, I still hope to start a company one day. I don’t know when that will be. And I don’t know what it will be. Obviously I don’t know if it will be, but I’m hopeful.
Maybe as a dream, it can never fail.