When to Start your Startup?

I came across this tweet today from  @monkchips :

I read the article and thought it was just about the worst advice you could ever give a person who wanted to start their own business. In essence it says “wait” and “learn from others”. Well apart from the fact that success in startup land is in no way correlated with age (so waiting to get better is a bust)  the difference between running a business and working in a business is the difference between sex and pornography. Sex is hot, exciting, frantic and full of energy, pornography is well, kind of sleazy.

The best day to  start your startup is today, not tomorrow.

You will learn more as a startup founder in 6 months that you will learn in ten years as an employee. Why because as a employee you are riding with stabilisers and as we all know you have to take those mothers off to really grasp how to balance on a bike. As a founder you have to do everything, which forces you to learn prioritisation, you have to do shit you never learned in college and you have to learn that stuff fast. Finally you have to do the hardest thing you can do in business which is make life changing decisions with horribly imperfect data.

I worked for a a bunch of software companies big and small after college, always as an employee. Its inherent in the level you work at that I was never involved in decision making at any level that was make or break for my employer.  Basically you end up coasting in the functional discipline you learned at college (mine was computer science).

The other thing people forget about is that the salary sacrifice required for starting a company later down the line is a huge cost. If you are straight out of college you have been living on fuck all for four years. So some additional hardship to get your business up and running is no big deal.

So get out there, start, fail and start again. As Winston Churchill said:

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm

6 thoughts on “When to Start your Startup?

  1. This makes no sense Joe – “The other thing people forget about is that the salary sacrifice required for starting a company later down the line is a huge cost.” Cost to whom?

    Beckett’s advice is good too – “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”


    1. Huge cost to the individual. So if my salary on leaving college is 30k and I take 6 months off it costs me 15k. If my salary 5 years out of college is 60k and I take 6 months off it costs me 30k. Not to mentioned fixed costs I may have incurred (mortgage, car, pony 🙂 etc.).


  2. Got it, but isn’t one of the major points of starting your own business to make more money “down the line” than you would if you worked a 9 to 5? Maybe I missed the context here 🙂

    Love the blog btw!


  3. Spot on Joe.
    In Ireland especially, we wait far too long. Your best point is about salary sacrifice.
    Ask anyone in their thirties with a mortgage or two, a child or two, a car or two if they are risk averse – of course they are!
    With the MVP model and rapid software development frameworks available, I’d challenge every college student to try a startup over the summer. Better than working in McDs !
    In Ireland we’re crap at taking risks because there’re too many Multi-National jobs with no risk attached.
    There are great opportunities like StartupWeekend.org. Come along to Cork next weekend and get the bug.


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