Alright, motherfuckers, here's the deal: you, young one, are on the verge of quitting your shitty job to pursue your own startup. You're feeling confident that you’ve got that one-in-a-million, spark of genius idea that can be shaped into a future-proof money-making machine. Or maybe you just think you can generate a hefty revenue by cloning that already existing app / website / service.
Now, before you call out your boss for being a racist asshole, before you jump on the “save the planet” bandwagon and before you buy a six pack of Stoli to celebrate your departure from that soul-sucking, mind-numbing job, do yourself a fucking favor and read this.
This might look better on Medium.
I’m not here to discourage you — you’re my prospective client after all — but I don’t want to see you go down the drain together with your fucking hopes, your dreams and all your fucking money. And you fucking will unless you ask yourself at least these ten questions:
1. Do you have a financial safety net?
First question is a fucking simple one: do you have enough money to live for at least 3-6 months without working? If the answer is “no”, you’re fucked. If you decide to quit your job today to pursue your entrepreneurial ideas (and I do not give a fuck how much you’re confident that they will be fucking successful), you will struggle to make ends meet without having a real income, and it’s a shitty setup to come up with creative and innovative ideas that will be very much needed to grow your startup.
Unless you have some savings, rich parents or a sugar daddy (or mommy) to fall back to, plan your journey wisely. Find yourself a part-time gig that will fund your startup. Carefully calculate your burn rate, including both your living costs and your startup spending. And be ready to fucking ditch all those Friday night parties and weekend getaways this year.
2. Do you have a minimum viable product already or is it just a shitty idea?
You don’t have to have a fully functional version of your shiny app ready, but you need to have something. If you don’t, be fucking ready to have your rose-colored glasses removed once you’re in the trenches. And if you don’t even have a fucking idea, but you believe that you can come up with the next Facebook or Uber, you’re fucking delusional, and I suggest you chill the fuck out before you do anything stupid.
Having a beta version is the best option, because it allows you to test your idea before fully committing (i.e. spending lots of fucking money you don’t have yet). You will get valuable feedback not only from your friends and family (“Oh, cool, you’re doing a startup!”), but also from future users of your service. Last but not least, it will stop you from sticking your hand in the startup grinder, only to realize that no one needs your shit at all.
3. Are you ready to give up on stability?
We only start missing things once they’re gone. However shitty your current job is, it at least provides you with a certain stability. Once you’re working for yourself, you will be enveloped by the constant fear and uncertainty that your startup is not going to make it. This is a shitty energy to be around, it’s highly corrosive to productivity, and it fucking hurts. If you’re a wimpy motherfucker with anxiety issues, you’re going to fuck it up massively.
You need to be as badass as you can, and to accept that you’re not going to get 5 hours of sleep a night. Your startup is that bitch you’re fucking now, and she’s going to demand your attention 24/7. You can’t afford distractions, you can’t afford whining over mistakes, and you can’t be fucking lazy. You’re in the shit, now you have no choice but to make it work. Or fail.
4. Do you have the “entrepreneurial spirit”?
The shit we talked about in the last paragraph boils down to what they call “entrepreneurial spirit.” It means that you’re willing to make personal sacrifices for your dream. To fucking work your ass off for it. And to even fucking enjoy it. It’s more than just being successful, more than building a big company and making fucking millions of dollars. It’s about your most primal fucking motivations and behavior patterns.
Do you enjoy the struggle involved in making something happen? Do you enjoy the thrill of the chase? Do you value freedom over stability? Does competition excite you or make you want to hide under the covers? These are the questions you need to ask yourself to find out whether you’re ready to go 100% into entrepreneurship.
5. If not, do you have a cofounder who does?
Now I get it: 90% of people who will be reading this are fucking nerds who wouldn’t be able to get their shit together even when given a fucking shit-getting machine. Luckily, even if you’re one of those, you can always have a supremely badass cofounder. Find someone who will complement your shitty strengths and make up for your shitty weaknesses. Of course, they’ll most likely end up screwing you over the way Steve Jobs did to Woz and Bill Gates to Paul Allen. But at least that part is after you’ve made some fucking money.
6. Can you bootstrap it?
Not every startup idea needs to be full of fucking zeroes in order to properly launch and get traction. Sometimes you can do a fucking lot with very little funding, and no fundraising means no fucking investors fucking telling you what to do their way. If this sounds like you, you’re a lucky motherfucker.
It’s not all fucking unicorns and rainbows, of course: bootstrapping will put you in a position of a fucking novice, because you have no fucking resources on your side and mostly no fucking clue how to run a company. But being able to do this at least in principle will give you precious flexibility, and you can always hire a fuckton of smartasses once you’ve achieved some scale.
7. Are you only in it for the money?
Now don’t get me wrong, we all want to drive a Lambo, eat at the fancy restaurants, score without even trying on Tinder, spend most of our time at the beach and crack a bottle of expensive champagne every time we open our fucking app. But if it’s the only thing that drives you in this, you will fuck it all up within 6 months to a year.
See, startups are like French women: you’re going to have to put in a fucking lot of hard work in order to get to the fun part. If you only want the fucking fun part, you’ll end up penniless and heartbroken, with no one but yourself to blame. On the other hand, if you truly enjoy the journey and you’re willing to go the fucking hard way just to achieve that end goal, you might be able to enjoy the fucking trip even more than the end goal.
8. Are you prepared for a failure?
I hate to bring it to you, but even the most successful entrepreneurs out there will tell you that failure is always a part of the fucking game. While many succeed in going back to the fucking top after getting their faces smacked in (cf. Elon Musk), some fall hard and fast and never get back up.
Have you got what it takes to fail fucking fast, learn from your failure and adjust your strategy accordingly? Are you able to fucking accept failure? Because if you’re not, you’re going to let your fucking ego and your fucking emotions become too fucking involved, and you will fuck it up. That’s a lot of “fuck”’s even by my standards, but that’s because I want you to understand this very clearly: as awesome as it is to have everything going right, you need to be prepared for the fucking worst as well.
9. Does your partner support you?
Unless you’re a total idiot, you get by now that building a startup is a tremendously fucking difficult and draining journey. It’s uncertain and fucking unpredictable, it might just bring you to tears more than once, and there won’t be any certainty for you for a long time.
Going through this even with the most supportive and caring partner in your life is going to be hard. Doing it with someone who keeps complaining about how much time you spend on “that startup thing you do” or just wants to get your ass back to the fucking office ASAP will be fucking catastrophic.
10. Do you really, I mean, REALLY need to ditch your job?
Now, having considered everything I just told you, ask yourself again: does this actually need to happen? Is your shitty job really that shitty? Are you sure that your untested startup idea is awesome enough to justify the risks you’re taking by quitting?
Maybe you could still pursue your idea for a few months, or even years, without sacrificing a steady paycheck and health insurance. Maybe you should read a fucking book about entrepreneurship before you do anything else.
Or maybe, just maybe, you’ve just been a bit too stressed out, and your shitty job is not so shitty after all?
At the end of the day, entrepreneurship is not an activity, but a lifestyle. It is something you’re either in or out, with a lot of fuck in between. Therefore, it’s a decision that requires an immense amount of thought and careful planning.
I hope that all this ranty crap will help you to analyze your own motivations and readiness. If, after doing so, you’re still hellbound on quitting your job, then godspeed, motherfucker, now go and fucking crush it!