Is this really a good method of going about this...?


We're a 2 man startup. Im tech side, hes (business) side. I'm a full-time student, put in a good 20-30 hours per week (still!) while he says hes putting in around 10.. but its really closer to about 5 max he is doing.. not counting communication through email. He works full-time (closer to 50 hours a week) in corporate america.

I've been developing since September on this webapp.

Meanwhile, my partner has slowly been achieving anything on the business end. We have no formal contract, and we're splitting equity 50/50.

His latest solution to his role as the business side... when he was supposed to be developing connections for this business, doing some general marketing, and overall running the business side is to bring in another person to handle the marketing/business end while he just keeps his full-time job and the company's progress seems to coast along on the business end. Meanwhile, I've been developing nonstop in my free moments aside from school.

My questions are:

1) Is he just trying to sacrifice our company's potential because he doesnt have the time himself, but wants to dilute both of our salaries to bring in someone because he doesnt have enough time?

2) Are people generally who say their 'entrepreneurial' who have a full-time job ever the right choice as a business partner?
- the reason I say this is, I know a few people who moonlighted businesses while working over f/t hours and now have a profitable business.

3) Is there any harm in just cutting out a business side in a new venture until its needed? What are the pros/cons of doing so?

I struggle to find reliable business partners who want to put in the sweat to form a successful business.

Business Model Conflicts Problem Solving

asked Dec 3 '11 at 02:02
137 points
Get up to $750K in working capital to finance your business: Clarify Capital Business Loans

1 Answer


If he's in charge of the business side, then he should be doing the marketing. I don't see the need to bring in a marketing expert during the very early stages of a bootstrapped startup. He should be handling that himself.

You say he has a full-time job, which seems to keep him from working on your startup. One possible option to consider is to switch his role from the business person to the investor. Meaning you bring in a third person to be your general business person - not just a marketing expert, but a well rounded business guy/gal - and your current partner drops the business role and agrees to fund your startup instead. It's hard to say if this will work for you. I'm assuming as a full-time student you don't have a lot of cash laying around, so this may have been part of the deal already.

To answer your questions:

1) I don't know. Your partner is the only one that can answer that. Ask him.

2) Yes, it's possible for that to work. You seem to know of some examples of that. I was in that situation myself, and made it work. It all depends on the indiviual and the circumstances of each case. For example, someone with a full-time job and kids is going to find it a lot harder to make it work than a single person with a full-time job. It doesn't mean that the person with kids can't start a successful business, it just means that they have a bigger hurdle to jump.

3) That depends on your startup. I would never totally ignore some things, for example legal issues, but I'm sure there are things you can get away with not working on in the beginning. One situation where this may work is if you come up with an idea, and decide to build a prototype to prove the concept before establishing a real business behind it.

answered Dec 3 '11 at 05:18
Zuly Gonzalez
9,194 points
  • I have a little cash. We both pitched in to have the logo created by some freelancers. He has no kids, but is married. – Meow 12 years ago
  • @Meow After reading your other question (and comments) the only value I see that your partner can bring is cash. If you think you can make it work with just the bit of cash you have, then it doesn't leave much for him. – Zuly Gonzalez 12 years ago
  • Is asking him to quit his job for this, reasonable, if he wants to make it work, or atleast cut back his hours some 20-30 hours (leaving him working 20-30) if this is hypothetically even possible? – Meow 12 years ago
  • I don't think he's going to quit his job, but asking if he is willing to cut back to part-time work seems like a reasonable compromise to me. I would approach him with the idea. However, he's married, so you're going to have to convince both him and his wife. I don't know how supportive his wife is of your startup. Once you convince both of them, he's going to have to convince his employer to let him drop down to part-time work. – Zuly Gonzalez 12 years ago
  • Thanks again Zuly! – Meow 12 years ago

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Business Model Conflicts Problem Solving