BigCo vs Freelancing.. and then Startup


I'm in a bit of a pickle - I'm trying to build a startup, solo, to start - I'm burning the late night oil at nights and weekends.

I currently have a well paying job in IT at a top 10 online retailer.

I've been trying to build my product nights and weekends with some progress, but nowhere near the progress I desire. I attribute it to a diverged focus of working full-time for someone else (40 hr+), and overall exhaustion. Don't get me wrong, I have done probably 3-5% of the project in about 2 months moonlighting on nights/weekends while still being on-call 24/7, but haven't reached the full meat/potatoes of the application (yet!).

One thing I've recently begin considering and reading about is starting a small freelance business to begin (to pay the bills) - max 20 hours per week and then quitting my job to do that, while investing the rest of my time in my startup until it flourishes enough to quit freelance and go full-time on the startup I'm trying to create.

I've read countless articles of people having a full-time job (in bigco) and then just:
1) quitting cold turkey and focusing full-time on startup
2) quitting when startup product is built, then quitting cold turkey from bigco.
3) quitting when startup product is built and has paying clients = bigco income
4) When startup product is built, has paying clients > big co income.

Resulting in an understanding of : there is no black/white answer.

I project this first version, with a full-time focus, will take 6-9 months to develop.

I guess I'm just at a crossroads on what to do, I've talked to others, researched myself, tried doing some moonlight, but I'm not seeing the progress I hope for and I'm a bit confused on how to approach the situation now.

I'd love to quit right now and go full-time, but that isn't realistic due to apartment bills and daily living expenses of about $1k per month

I have quit a lot of skills in open-source development (ideal for freelance).

Thoughts? Suggestions? Stories? Fire em' at me :) . Thank you!

Getting Started Startup Costs Day Job Jobs Fulltime

asked Oct 9 '13 at 23:39
Code Talk
253 points

4 Answers


I think you are still mulling over the same question you asked few months back on quitting 9-5 job. When did you know it was time to leave the 9-5? You mentioned that you have got paying salary, and then you mentioned that you need just 1k per month to survive. I think by now you must have saved something substantial, worst case, 15k at least. So go ahead, leave the job. When you say you are skillful, go on, do not hesitate. People, will hire you if you are good. Give yourself 15 months of full time focus into what you want to achieve. With age, ability to take risk decreases and energy to work hours n hours decreases too. This is the time, take 15months of your life, and even if you fail, you won't say after few years - "I wish I would have taken that decision".

If I were you, I would do that.

answered Oct 13 '13 at 04:26
Nitin Srivastava
171 points
  • Great comment here. I've since decided through talking on other sites as well about this that I am definitely taking the plunge and going to quit and make it happen. Thanks for the reassurance. – User9968 10 years ago
  • @user9968 All the best. It is a lap of faith one has to take. Believe me, you will be doing much better than your peers if you focus and work towards your goal. Business is not that difficult. It just needs commitment. – Nitin Srivastava 10 years ago


This is a decision you shouldn't be making through advice of the internetters :)

That said, I suggest not quitting your full time job until you are sure you can sustain yourself with A. Freelancing (so you need on average to make double what you need to live, due to fluctuation), or B. Get your startup funded.

answered Oct 13 '13 at 01:38
820 points


If dipping into savings isn't an option, you will need to raise some funds to give yourself the financial opportunity that full-time commitment requires.

Is your product B2B? Perhaps you can show some mockups to potential customers to raise funds in advanced to give yourself a modest salary.

There's also always Friends & Family, and SBA loans.

answered Oct 16 '13 at 03:44
David E
51 points
  • I'm since put in my 2 weeks and going to go for it full-time, no freelancing, just startup. I've heard you cant really get money before product unless your a season entrepreneur – Code Talk 10 years ago
  • For B2B I think you can get some funding up front if you can explain clearly how your product will save your customers money. – David E 10 years ago


The lean startup, build an MVP to test your product in the market Minimum Viable Product. Don't build the full thing with all the bells and whistles, less = more. I did make that mistake and now finalising on the only most essential parts but still being a perfectionist spending to much time

answered Oct 16 '13 at 08:10
1 point
  • I've done that, I've cut my product from 100% feature to 20%. That 20% represents a significant portion of the product I'm building – User9968 10 years ago

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