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You should quit your job.

Mo Bitar on October 26, 2017

Sounds reckless right? But I want to make the case for why quitting your job can be a great way to advance your project, even when it may sound l... [Read Full]
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For U.S. developers:

Here are a few reasons you shouldn’t quit your job:

1> Health insurance is an absolute nightmare.

 
 

Mo, I appreciate your candor.

I think you hit the nail on the head right here:

I couldn’t escape from...feeling that I could be doing all this work for my own product rather than someone else’s.

If you have a founder's mentality, you're not going to work well for someone else. Invoking Socrates: "Know Thyself!" That is, be honest, and if you're miserable for this reason, strike out on your own.

I had 3 colleagues who exited their startup with a buyout from my corporation. Along with the acquisition, they had to stay on for ~2 years. They got fairly high-level jobs, directors, VPs of engineering for cloud, etc., but one could see they hated it.

The second that countdown timer expired, they were out starting new stuff.

 
 

For me, it was better to keep my job, and gradually build up a side income.

In 2014, based on the profile I’d built in the product community, I was able to quit my full-time job and start consulting full-time. I consulted for teams based in Colorado, Portland and San Francisco.

During that time, I launched a side-project: devmarketing.xyz. It ended up making $66k that year, and gave me the confidence to quit consulting, and go full-time on products in 2016. More on that here.

I've seen many of my friends quit their job, hoping to launch their startup. But things never go as fast (or as well) as you plan. Almost all of them ran out of savings, and got into desperation mode.

My advice: don't quit your job until your project has earned some revenue. You should also have 6 months savings in the bank.

 

It's great that it is turning out really well for you. I think about starting my own business every day but I don't have a clear idea of what I want to make and therefore not enough courage to make the jump. Thank you for the inspiration though, and hopefully I'll make the jump someday.

 

This presumes that:

  1. I hate my job.
  2. I have a project I want to pursue.

Neither is true. I rather like my job, and while I have some ideas I'd like to dick around with on a technical level, I have no idea how to turn any of that into a money-making business. I'm pretty comfortable having other people worry about getting the jobs, and just concentrate on doing the best technical work with those.

To each his own.

 

So, sorry to rain on the parade and all, but don't you need to get paid? If I quit my job I'd have problems with paying rent and putting food on the table, and I'm guessing so would most other people.

If you're going to do this, you'd better have a good business plan, or go live with mum or something. And let's be honest, quite a few coders aren't the best at business (myself included).

The best, most well structured code in the world won't help if nobody wants to pay you.

 

Loved this article. Every piece of it. I've been in this position for many years but specially in the last 2. Its so scary and I keep saving as much as I can (and keep accepting more and more work) so one day I can focus, but its a hard, scary decision. Thanks for sharing!

 
 

I can completely relate to this article and the points raised, it is not the easiest lifestyle yet building your own enterprise is the most rewarding thing you could ever do.

"what’s needed is capital-t Time" is an absolute. I've come up with a football analogy, where I play the quarterback and throw the ball then double as the receiver to catch the ball and sprint as long as possible. I've had to do this a couple times and each time I make many more yards. Right now I'm close to getting the touchdown and winning the game.

Between these plays I take a short contract or job to get what only money can buy. Even so I am very mindful of commute time, because I still want a good chunk of development time each day. I make sure to get my work bench into good shape so that each days focus is fast and I can accomplish milestones even in spite of a side job. Presently, I'm counting down to capital-t Time again :)

 

That's a nice way of looking at it :)

 

Well written article! I'm actually responding to this on my way to the job. I've been a programmer for a lot longer than I've been employed. So I know what you're saying isn't commmpletly true regarding benefits of going solo again (though your thoughts on ambition are spot on.)

Ultimately, you can follow the mantra of "always make progress everyday" while you have a job. You also make a lot more money than people elsewhere. You can have a fulltime employee for $400/m (browse onlinejobs.ph).

You can definitely build up a blog / community / following / email list while you have a job. Unemployed / underemployed-selfemployed people, even in the US, don't charge a lot! Have them do some work for you. It really doesn't eat up a lot of my paycheck, and I'm on the low end salary wise for a programmer.

 
 
 

All I can say is set your priorities(as per your own capabilities), there's a right time for everything. :)

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