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My experiences working solo
3 min read
I resigned from my full-time job in March, 2022 to work on my startup. Since then I have been pretty much working solo. At times I will have meetings scheduled to talk to customers and potential investors. But that's just a tiny percentage of my time. I would say my experience working solo is enjoyable as well as painful.
When the time came to work on my startup, there were quite a lot of choices to be made. Instead of spending time and money on hiring or outsourcing to offshore companies, I have decided to work solo so I can deliver the MVP. Once the product is out and there is a market fit, I can get the help needed. But that meant doing a lot of things myself that I have not done before so I can extend my runway as much as I could.
Here are my experiences working solo on a startup:
The freedom to set your schedule, making technological choices and having the ability to roll out new features without any dependencies is amazing, challenging and enjoyable.
Business side of things are complicated and are often expensive. Dedicate at least 30% of your time at the start for all things - business, accounting, compliance, stock issuance etc. Once you are done with all the initial setup, things will slow down and you don't have to spend a lot of time. But every year, set aside time for taxes, reporting, compliance etc.
Working alone is not easy, in fact it's really hard. You have to be able to constantly motivate yourself every single day. It's pretty easy to be distracted by something and spinning hours without doing the work that really matters. Only your ability to push yourself can help.
Working solo meant you are on-call 24x7. You have to plan your vacations, carry your laptop around or even skip the holidays to be available. It can be frustrating at times, but having the bigger goal in mind helps.
Long work hours are expected. Based on my experiences, just working about 8 hours a day won't cut it if you plan to deliver an MVP without bleeding too much financially. You probably have to deliver 2-3 workdays, every workday.
Having a partner who has a full-time job really helps and gives a lot of peace of mind. Thankfully we have our insurance and basic necessities figured out through my wife's employment. But if you are single earner and planning to spend months on a startup without real income, it can put a lot of pressure even if you have money in the bank.
Whether you like it or not, you have to sell. That's the only way you can sustain.
You have to be a generalist. If your strategy is to work only on backend or frontend and expect to outsource some work to consultants, you probably have to rethink the strategy. Finding individuals who have the same level of commitment as you is incredibly hard. You have to spend a lot of money. Or plan to work on everything and anything - product management, testing, talking to investors, design work, graphic work, video editing, marketing, sales, pre-sales. It just doesn't matter, just roll up your sleeves and do it.
Working on a startup means you are trading your time for freedom to work on things you like and for potential financial independence if everything works out. In the end it may not work out, but you won't regret the journey.