When is the good time to quit the dayjob and start full time on startup?


I am recently passed out college graduate. Currently working in a mnc for full time job and also with couple of friends working a web based product during extra hours. We are expecting to complete the prototype of the product by this year end. But i am still confused about when is the right time to quit the day job and completely work for our own startup.

Is it necessary to quit the day job early so that we can focus on the product more and plan for a quick launch ?


asked Nov 10 '09 at 05:00
83 points
  • +1 for "recently passed out college graduate" ;-) – Brandon King 13 years ago
  • 14 months later. Did you start yet? – Nathan Farrington 13 years ago
  • @Nathan We finally stared in Oct 2010. – Prabodh 13 years ago
  • Prabodh, Congrats on the launch! – Keith De Long 13 years ago

13 Answers


If you're completely committed to the startup, the answer is "As soon as you can possibly afford it." Yeah, that means living lean for a while. Maybe a long while. The 'when' is a matter of realistically evaluating your priorities and your current life situation. Married? Kids? Mortgage? School loans?

If you're not 'all in' at this point, your startup is a hobby. You should keep your day job until your hobby becomes a red hot passion or grows to where you can afford to give yourself a full time job (a pretty rare occurrence). Hobbies can become passions so they're worth investing in, but not worth giving up the day job to pursue.

answered Nov 10 '09 at 13:29
Keith De Long
5,091 points


In your particular situation, as soon as you believe the business will succeed.

Once you've become convinced that the business will succeed, you can and should make the leap to accelerate its success. If you wait you lose valuable time, effort, and energy that are currently going into your current job.

As a single person just out of college you should be able to

1) Make substantial personal sacrifices for a risky startup
2) Have a low 'cost of living' overhead, suited to low or no pay
3) Have family and friends that can support you if things don't work out until you get back on your feet.

This would change if you are supporting a family and/or have no support network to catch you if you fall.

Otherwise, make the leap and make it now. You will be happier and more productive.

answered Nov 10 '09 at 06:43
Adam Davis
378 points


ASAP or as soon as you;

1) Can earn enough in the startup to not need your day job.
2) Have enough saved as a "buffer" to tie you over for period of time where you know you're not going be paid.

No. 2 has its obvious risks, however if you are determined you can manage this "buffer" by doing some smaller jobs or by finishing your project. Its up to you whether you take the risk. I took this risk over 3 years ago, still managing the buffer... but also owning a business and learning a lot.

answered Nov 10 '09 at 05:40
Mark Redman
121 points


Your own business may tell you, as soon as you notice risks are affordable.
You say there are friends working with you on this, do they feel comfortable with your idea?
How long could you continue on your dual basis workload?
Do you have your first customer?

answered Nov 10 '09 at 06:53
532 points



answered Nov 10 '09 at 23:35
Lakshman Prasad
111 points


I would look at it from two angles:

1. cost of failure The younger you start, the less damaging failure should be. I started my company at 24, two years after graduating. I was living with my girlfriend (now my wife) at the time, in a rented flat, with hardly any expenses. She had a great job in the city that basically could pay all the bills. So the risk was pretty much zero, even if I already had a very well paid job. Now, we are married, two children (third on the way) a huge mortgage, school fees, etc.. Would I start now? I would have to think really hard about it, as the cost of failure would be HUGE, with consequences not just for me but for my whole family.

If you still live at home with your parents, then the risk are pretty nil (assuming they won't kick you out if you don't contribute:-) ).

2.Advantage of making the jump now You say the project should be ready by the end of the year. You might just as well keep your job and see how the launch goes.

After that, it very much depends on your role on the project. I agree with James Black, if your role is development, then of course you have multiplied the number of hours you can work per day. If you are on the support team, or the sales team, or project manager, will the impact of moving full time be as visible (you will have to do it at some point of course, I am not suggesting those roles are not important)?

As a final note, before you make the big jump and start a company with your friends, I would also read making partnerships successful.

answered Dec 13 '09 at 00:09
Guillaume Justier
796 points


I think a big factor in this is what is your role precisely. If you are in sales, then quitting your job may not help as much, at the moment, as if you are a developer.

So, if you work on it full-time, how long can you do it before you need money, how much can you lean on friends/family for financial support, and what is the benefit to the idea. If you work full-time will you be able to get it released in 4 mths, as opposed to 12 mths if you are doing this part-time?

As you go through this process of figuring out the ramification of quitting then the answer should become more obvious to you, as long as you are very honest with yourself.

answered Nov 14 '09 at 11:43
James Black
2,642 points


I love start-ups. But we all need to beware of too much of a JDI ("just do it") mentality. Because most start-ups fail. Always have, always will.

If your jobs are giving you the income and stability you need and leaving you sufficiently free to work on your venture, that's a great place to be. Not forever, but for as long as it makes sense.

The right time to jump is likely to be triggered by something. The most useful 'something' is evidence of revenues and the ability to grow. Another might be achieving a first funding round. And another might be when you know you can (all) afford 6 months with no income, and are (all) convinced that you're onto something that will be lucrative enough quickly enough to make sense.

However, if the right answer now is to carry on as you are, you need to beware the way comfort has a tendency to soften deadlines and foster endless scope creep-itis. You should be pushing to market with just as much urgency as if this were the only hope you had of making ends meet. Bring your product to the necessary crisis of encounter with the market, and be ready to accelerate or pivot, according to what you learn when it's out there.

answered Jan 4 '11 at 21:44
Jeremy Parsons
5,197 points


I would suggest you can keep working on your ideas with out affecting any of your daily routines.

In general
have you identified your end customers/users/target market
take some survey to locate your idea in the market
is there any competitor you have if so how you are better
evaulate your USP

Be confident on your ideas, take some time to brain-strom yourself or with your trustworthy friends.

Always have a vision for the next two years and move according to that

answered Dec 28 '10 at 16:09
108 points


If you want to build a a product and launch it , why quit your day job ? If you do not know coding , you are going to hire some one. Other wise do some coding and hire some one to do rest of your work.
Launching is easiest part of a product. Then the real test starts.
People like it or now
Are there enough visitors ?
Can you make money out of it ?

answered Nov 11 '09 at 05:33
344 points


You really need to get The Web Startup Success Guide by Bob Walsh.

I just finished reading it, and it had a whole chapter about the very question you ask.

answered Nov 13 '09 at 14:21
1,471 points


I am opposite from most of the other answers posted - my experience says keep your day job as long as you can. Entrepreneurs are optimistic people. Even with conservative estimates, we think things are going to move along faster than they are. Look at the #1 cause of business failure - cash exhaustion.

Sorry, but people are too quick to bail on a decent paying job when their start-up isn't ready for 100% involvement. When your startup is ready for you to quit, you'll know because you'll be at a point where you must quit. When that happens you'll be more prepared to take the leap.


  • If you have a crap $8.50 job - quit, your time is worth more.
  • If your startup is truly time sensitive - you'll wanna move as fast as possible
answered Jan 3 '11 at 01:14
Cinqo Timo
101 points


no. do it now. who cares if you fail? better now then later, later you'll already be recovering(ed).

stop hashing over yesterday and planning tomorrow, neither exist. today is all you got playa.

answered Dec 31 '10 at 14:04
107 points

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