“Necessity is the mother of taking chances.” – Mark Twain
The irony of iconic businesses starting during economic downturns is too real. When the opportunity cost is minimal, why not put it all on the line?
There is no question great businesses require the full focus and time of the entrepreneur to generate sizable outcomes — Elon Musk (SpaceX, Tesla, Boring) and Steve Jobs (Apple, Pixar) are the two greatest exceptions.
Fortunately, we live in a time where starting a business doesn’t require $5 million dollars of upfront capital to get a prototype out. AWS hosting, cloud-based tools, and access to free online tutorials give any entrepreneur the opportunity to learn and execute on their vision.
10+ years ago, the options to start a company were nearly binary: all in or not.
The characteristics of the gig-economy layered with unparalleled access to information is an ambitious entrepreneur’s dream.
“There are two pains in life. There is the pain of discipline and the pain of disappointment. If you can handle the pain of discipline, then you’ll never have to deal with the pain of disappointment.” – Nick Saban
Below are three great examples where the pain of discipline led to the start of a great business while working a full time job.
- George Azih of LeaseQuery. If you have time, watch this amazing interview with a passionate entrepreneur who is solving a niche accounting problem. George worked his day job of 40 hours a week and then spent another 60 hours on LeaseQuery!
- Ben Thomson of Stratechery. In a recent Knowledge Project podcast with Stratechery founder, Ben Thomson had the game plan to start Stratechery on the side with a game plan to go full time after year 5. It took 1 year of subscribers paying $10/month for Ben to go full time.
- Tope Awotona of Calendly. The idea of Calendly came together during Tope’s sales career. He was able to moonlight the initial MVP and take his savings to build one of Atlanta’s fastest growing businesses.
These are all great examples of businesses started, not by diving headfirst into the deep end, but by pragmatically dipping their toe in the water and gaining traction from there.
Not surprisingly, the growth of communities who highlight this type of thinking — whether it be our Side Hustle Meetup or the Indie Hacker community — are great resources to learn and connect with builders.
Lastly, if you get some of the traction similar to the examples above, in today’s market (at time of this writing), there are significant growth options. Of course the best growth option comes from customers, and they have money to spend to solve important problems.
Now is a great time to start a company. At Atlanta Ventures, we’re currently starting four companies and it couldn’t be more exciting!