As a developer, you are sitting on a gold mine. Are you aware of this?
No, seriously, on the @ # $% gold vein! Never in history has it been possible to create something from scratch, with little or no initial capital and a marketing model that is limited only by your imagination.
Think of the biggest sites you regularly visit: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Foursquare, or even Google - all were created by developers who only had an idea. Was it easy? Hell no. But this could only be done in our time. So, damn it, why are you sitting out day after day working for someone?
Yes, I am also an employee. And I hate it.
If there are so many great opportunities around, why are most developers not working for themselves? I think there are some excuses that we invent ourselves. But none of them is serious.Myth number 1: you do not have time
I often hear this excuse and laugh every time. How much time do you spend watching TV or playing XBox, Wii, Playstation, and so on? On the strength of an hour a day, right? How much time do you spend on Facebook and Twitter? (Most likely, a minute now, a minute later?) And what do you do every day at lunchtime? This is a full hour of time.
Here is what I say: an hour here, an hour there - you actually have time. The bottom line is how you spend it. If you really want to do something, you need to find an idea (a really good idea) and catch fire on
it! If you get carried away with something, you will find time. And in the end you will come to the conclusion that it’s uncomfortable for you to work on something other than your idea.
I am 31 years old, I am married, and we have three small children. I work all day, and then I come home to my wonderful wife, who by the end of the day does not know where to go from her children. I consider myself a rather busy person, but nevertheless I manage to find at least 20 hours a week in order to work on my idea, which will help me to free myself from the salary trap, where I lured myself.
I write this text sitting in a comfortable chair in a cafe across the street from my work. I come here almost every day, and it is almost 5 additional hours of productive work per week! No running children around, no distractions, just me, my laptop and my headphones.
In the evening, after we put the children to bed, I wash the dishes, I sit at work for another 3 or 4 hours. And so every day. I usually give myself a day or two days off to rest and relax a little. But for these 20 evening hours and 5 hours of lunch breaks, I manage to do a good amount of work.
Even if you can't quit your job to get your idea going (like me), I think you can take the time to work on the idea if you are passionate enough for it!Myth number 2: I can not come up with an idea
If you are just starting work, you constantly hear from people phrases like “Ideas cost nothing” and “I can easily come up with an idea, I just don’t have time for implementation.” When you sit and try to
come up with the Next Cool Stuck (another Facebook, another Reddit, etc.), it seems to you that all the good ideas have already been implemented
! And you can't think of anything worthwhile.
Ask the founder of any major website to compare the current state of affairs with how he represented it, and I am sure it will laugh. They all hardly went the way they were going. Now these sites have a huge attendance due to the fact that their creators were smart enough to improve and create features that users like
So stop trying to make a home run ( note: in baseball, hit through the entire field, allowing you to score a point
), better try to reach the base first! Create something useful. Something that people need
, and then improve it, again and again. Start simple and develop. If you are too passionate about the end result (a yacht and a private island in the Caribbean), then you are just a dreamer. Do something, show it to people, get feedback and improve
This is what I do when I try to come up with a new fun idea for work:
1. Listen to National Public Radio (or any other talk show). People love to complain. I look at any complaint as an opportunity! For example, my current project was born during the celebration of the centenary of the scout movement. I myself a former boy scout, was the leader of the scouts. However, I managed to forget about all the difficulties. The radio show gave me an idea I'm working on. This is a fairly narrow niche, but it provides many possibilities.
I also have a lot of bad ideas that come to mind, but this is normal! It is like an exercise. The more open you are, the easier the thoughts come to mind and the easier it is to evaluate them. Find what people hate, what makes them uncomfortable
, and do something they want to pay for (whether directly or indirectly).
2. What do you like
to do? What do you like best? Do what you like, otherwise it may soon get really
boring and you will want to do something else. Before you begin, make sure that you are ready to think about your idea all day and night for a week, otherwise you will fail. One of my hobbies is scuba diving. I would really like to live in a world where you don’t need to think about anything other than diving. So I have a few ideas in this area that I’m still thinking about.
3. Keep records. Google Docs to help you. I have a document that I call "Ideas for my programs." When I have an idea, no matter how trivial or unique it is, I immediately write it down in this document. Some people hold notepads on a bedside table for this purpose. I don’t even know how many times I had ideas behind the wheel, and by the time I got home I forgot them. Not that these were bad ideas, I just got distracted and forgot about them. After a while they returned to me, but it was still unpleasant. Keeping records will allow you to organize your ideas, add notes and reflections to them.
Never start work the same day you came up with the idea. Think it over for at least a day or two. Make sure it's worth it to spend the next few years of your life on it. Do not do something to see if people will like it. First read “Yes, but who told you that they BUY this thing?”
(And the link leads to an untranslated article
) and come back. Let me wait.Myth number 3: I have no money
Who said "money"? Only if your idea absolutely
requires investment, which is quite rare on the Internet, can you start with zero. Zero. Nothing. Nothing. Be creative
to achieve the desired result. Change, sell, advise. Make it a rule to spend as little as possible
to achieve results. And it is better not to spend money at all until you start receiving it from your clients.
I spent a lot of money on hosting for Django in my current project. I like hosting, but I consider it a luxury. I could use the Google App Engine for free, but damn, I’m able to spend a hundred bucks a year. I plan to use free Chargify until I receive enough money from the project to spend on hosting.
To start you do not need money. If you think differently, and especially if you do your business for the first time, you should think again.Myth number 4: I do not know anything about marketing / design / etc.
This is not the best excuse for starting a business, but the most popular. As a developer, I’m horrified by what to sell. I hate hanging on the phone. I do not like to think about how to attract more people to my site. I love to create something. If now you agree with me, then you have two ways:
1. Find a partner who understands what you do not understand. Focus on what you do well. If you are a developer, listen to what users are saying and spend all your time creating a really cool product. Sales and marketing can take away all your free time. It is really difficult to manage in both directions. If you have two technical partners, we can share the sales and marketing tasks, and in the end you will find that the one who handles them better will do it all the time. However, the fact that you are a “developer” does not mean that you should not engage in sales or marketing! Although you need to focus on your strengths, you also need to know how sales, marketing, PR work and everything connected with it. This will prevent phrases like “Hell, why can't John bring a single customer? It seems to me that I am doing all the work. ”You will become more valued sales and marketing after you learn how hard it is to do them! Let's! Do not be a woman! (Ladies, I apologize for the expression.) And vice versa, let your partner, who understands sales or marketing, look at the code at least diagonally. Arrange a sort of cooperation. At least, if he knows how long your work takes, he will first consult with you about the new feature, and will not go selling non-existent functionality. Remove the veil of secrecy and delve into each other's affairs!
2. Do not be a rag and learn this! This means that you will need to put the code aside and learn how to sell and become a real salesman or PR manager. It will take time, but don't give up! The good news is that something that works for one company or site will not necessarily work for another. What? Is this more like bad news? Take a look at it from the other side: the worst thing you can do is not cope. I'm ironic, but it's true. If you fail in a marketing company, what then? TRY to do it in another way. Add the bad option to the list of bad ways and move on. Study books, forums, websites, manuals, and then go and EXPERIMENT. For this you do not even need money. Be creative and resourceful. You need to find out which approach works for you and not for someone else. Learn and try.Myth number 5: I can not quit work - I need a steady income
It looks more like a real reason than an excuse, but why put up with the status quo? Do you really want to work for someone until the end of life, agreeing with the proposed conditions? Not? Well, then you have to sacrifice something. And you know about it, otherwise you would not have read this article!
At the slightest opportunity, the best thing you can do is quit your job and devote 100% of your startup time. It makes you focus on the product and do something that people pay for. The need to pay bills and buy food is very good motivators.
If you also have children and leaving work is impossible, you can still find time. Just the project will take more time. See "Myth number 1: you do not have time."
All the big startups were not done overnight. Sometimes it takes years to achieve something. The main thing is not to give up!
As soon as you have a working prototype, you need to go to people who said that the idea is good and find out what they think about your product. It really gives strength. There will be those who do not like your product, but do not take it to heart. Consider criticism and make your product even better. The worst thing that can happen is people who say things that are pleasant to you just because they do not want to offend you. In this case, you get an ordinary thing that no one needs.
After you have started receiving feedback and attracting users, start attracting investments into your project. Ask your friends about it, communicate with business angels. Even if you fail to convince them to invest, it does not mean that your idea is bad, it means that you must improve it and attract more users. If you can attract and retain people, then you are worth something. Nowadays it is not necessary to have a well-invested or fashionable project in order to earn money!Myth number 6: I can not find a partner
Bad partnerships are the most common cause of startup failure. Quarrels or partners who do not invest in work kill things very quickly. It is very important to find the same enthusiastic partner, as well as you.
Do not think that someone immediately lights up your idea as much. You have been thinking and dreaming about it much longer. When discussing the ideas of the critic and the game of "devil's advocate" are welcome. Do you really think your opinion is the opinion of all? Therefore, welcome disagreements and differences of opinion, at least as long as they do not go beyond constructive criticism.
Where to find a good partner? Best among people you know. This reduces the risk of incompatibility, because you already know people, their habits and addictions.
You also need someone who understands that at the beginning of a journey a startup involves hard work and little feedback. Participate in communities like Hacker News
and Founders Mix
to find the right people for you.
meetings take place near you, go hang out there. Listen to what people are saying and do not be afraid to share your idea with them. Do not try to guess what people need, but ASK them about it directly! It's stupid to hang around and be afraid to say out loud your idea, because "they can steal it." Ideas cost nothing. If you think that someone can realize your ideas better, you have big problems.Now take and do something that people need!