Should I Quit My Job for a Startup?

Dear Professor Investor, I have an idea for an opportunity, but I am worried about quitting my job. Should I quit my job and work on my new opportunity full-time or keep my job and work on it as a part-time thing?

Mel from Tampa

Mel, that is great question and I one I hear a lot. In today's economy Entrepreneurs have become the rockstars of our generation.

Full-time commitment to the new opportunity matters. If the number of full-time founders is zero, you have a problem. Remember: ideas don't count. Execution counts and execution requires focused founders. If no one is working on the opportunity full-time, how will you make progress? The more people who are all-in and working exclusively on the opportunity, the greater your chances for success will be.

Working on a new opportunity full-time demonstrates commitment. If you aren't able to do that, consider other ways you can show commitment. Investors want to see what is commonly known as "skin in the game," a term that refers to founders having something at stake in the outcome of their company.

Most investors are hesitant to invest in something that the founders won't commit to on a full-time basis. However, many founders need funding to be able to focus on the opportunity financially, which results in a big catch-22. So what do you do if you aren't ready to quit your day job? If you can show that your product already generates revenue or users while you continue to work on it part-time, then you can make a credible case that taking on investment and going full-time would propel you to greater success. Today, most digital ideas can be proved by early experimentation and customer discovery. So while it's always important to show early proof of your concept, this is even more important when you aren't able to commit full-time to your opportunity.

Bottom line: work on the idea, turn it into an opportunity, follow the lean startup methodology until you have enough evidence to give you the comfort you need before quitting your job.

Hope that helps!

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