I'm not sure how to satisfy the entrepreneurial itch


I have a good job and a good salary that supports my family, but I find myself constantly dreaming of owning my own business. It's a sort of obsession that I can't stop. It's been going on for about 4 years without relief. The problem is, I don't know how to transition the decent salary I'm making now through the hard times of starting up my own business.

I am a software developer by trade and have an accountant wife who has some of the same urges I have, although maybe not quite as strong. I tend to gravitate towards software when coming up with ideas because it's what I know the best, but I'm not set on it. What bothers me with software development is that I feel like I would need a larger investment to create a product that is marketable. I'm not wealthy, so I'm trying to figure out how I can get started with what I have. I have around 50k of my own money to invest.

I have considered a tanning salon, software company, and just about everything else you can imagine. I know that I need to have something more specific in mind to really get started. Has anyone else been in this position? I don't expect anyone to tell me what to do, but if anyone could share similar experiences of getting past this sort of mental block, it would be appreciated.

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asked Apr 29 '11 at 10:50
11 points
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  • I think software is generally one of the less expensive entrepreneurial fields to enter. There is no immediate cost of producing a product when you develop it yourself. – Craige 13 years ago
  • Software is much less problems in case of failure. It's possible to bootstrap without borrowing any money. If it fails You may immediatly restart by trying a new idea. How do you find an excellent business idea ? By testing many ideas ! – Chmike 13 years ago

5 Answers


I'm 30 years old now and am just starting a new mobile app company. I still work full time. I have three other businesses - a web design company, a software company, and an online community. I have my degree in business and a MBA with a concentration in entrepreneurship - I have always wanted to start my own business, but a real, big one... not the small ones I run now.

I'm very confident the one I'm doing now is going to take me to that level. It's the first "fundable" business I've ever embarked on, and that funding is something I need to work on it full time, but the business also needs me full time to grow it.

For the past few years I've always been beating myself up over not doing something, feeling lazy, etc., even though I've tried many things. I also looked at one point at all kinds of businesses - moving companies, fitness stores, drop shipping, etc.

It took me until 2009 to realize, for sure, I wanted to be in software and technology.

I think one thing that is really motivating now is having a partner - we have a set schedule (Tue & Thu evenings) where we meet with an agenda and plan our next steps; and we also work other nights of the week. Thing is - I LOVE it. I am working 30+ hours on top of my day job and I love every second of it. I can barely sleep at night I'm so excited about this one.

Cliff notes: find something you are passionate about - make it regular and scheduled - find a partner with whom you can motivate each other.

Good luck!

answered Apr 29 '11 at 13:03
1,171 points
  • +1 for 30 hours per week on top of your day job. Also a great answer in general. – Craige 13 years ago


A recent book called "Little Bets" advises that you just need to get started by experimenting with something you know and iterate over and over again. I'd definitely avoid a tanning salon! I recommend you spend mostly your time - preserve your capital. Worst case you'll learn some new technology on the side that will help your career.

I have the itch all the time. The last time I did something about it was when I started a business writing computer games. I did it on the side while doing consulting until I got a publishing deal. From there, I went full time.

So pick a small project - perhaps writing an iPhone app or picking a problem that annoys you that you think a piece of software can solve. That's how twitter got started.

answered Apr 29 '11 at 11:38
Doug Donohoe
401 points


There's really only three choices that I see:

  1. Stay put, make the best of it, life isn't too bad
  2. Scratch your itch, do something you love, and don't obsess over getting rich (and maybe you still will)
  3. Scratch your itch, do something stressful but with greater potential for a financial windfall

If you ENJOY working and don't mind the stress, you could venture out on your own and be making lots of money, maybe soon given your background. If stress and uncertainty don't suit you, maybe think about how to make your current job more tolerable, or work for a smaller company where you still have some security but more freedom to do some entrepreneurial work (side projects, etc.)

answered Apr 29 '11 at 11:36
212 points


Depends on how ambitious you are in your dreams.

If its just starting a business selling a product with you and your wife (to start with) then I would suggest having a listen to the back catalog of

  • Automate my small business. These guys have each started around 4-6 small businesses, first few while still at their full paying job and grown them from there. They cover product development, website, marketing and processing orders, basically the works.
  • Small Business Big Marketing. These guys are good especially for a techie and an accounant (neither marketers) for starting points on how to market it.


Find a company like mine which works with industry experts to build their product, we often need developers who have that sort of drive to take over as a CxO (CEO, CTO etc) as the company scales up.

This is a slightly safer way to grow a larger concern. You have the backing, you have the time, you have the guidance and team ... BUT you don't own it all, just a part.


As the others say roll the dice and see what happens.

answered Apr 29 '11 at 11:59
Robin Vessey
8,394 points


Are you passionate about Tanning Beds? Save your 50k until you find a business idea that relates to something you really care about.

Satisfy your itch by coming here and reading Techcrunch. The difference between dreaming and doing is in the doing version you're convinced your dream is well worth throwing the 50k at it and you won't be asking us what to do then. You'll know.

answered Apr 29 '11 at 18:20
Long Winter
271 points

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