Personal experience of combining the main work and developing your own product

    Among emerging Internet entrepreneurs, a debate often arises on the possibility of combining the main work and creating your own product. Some say that a steady income is relaxing, and the need to be in the workplace makes it difficult to concentrate, others argue that at the initial stage this will give more time and opportunities to start. Under the cut, I tried to describe my feelings and thoughts on this subject.

    As an introduction,
    Perhaps the most important thing that I have learned is that everything that is written about the business cannot be taken as given. The authors omit seemingly unimportant factors, or even don’t even suspect some of them. The instructions “how to build a business” do not exist - any article, including this one, must be designed for its own situation, trying to extract at least some useful experience.

    A little about myself
    I am 28 years old, married, without children. Originally from Latvia, about a year ago my wife and I moved to the very south of Spain, to the city of Malaga. Behind the back of 10 years of experience, I started with web developers, then I was engaged in telecom systems for a long time, and the last 3-4 years - in system analysis. And although I can not boast of a high level of knowledge in programming, there is a certain technical “background”, as well as an excellent understanding of the processes of designing and creating systems.

    How it all began
    About six months ago, while on vacation at home, I met with an old friend, part-time former colleague. It was at a party, it’s not that we were completely sober, in any case, the idea of ​​a joint side project was absolutely justified. To make you understand, my friend is a very experienced developer who can do (as far as my imagination is enough) anything. In general, here it is, a fresh team of two people - one is more productive, the second is well versed in any technical details, both have enough ideas and a desire to create their own product.

    We decided to start by creating a simple digest about technology products, much like ProductHunt. They created a simple (and ugly) design and wrote minimal functionality. We decided to abandon the use of ready-made frameworks and templates and developed everything from scratch. After about two weeks, the first version of the digest was ready to launch. The main part of the development took place on the weekend, sometimes it turned out to do something in the evenings after work. We didn’t really bother with building the “right” process, we didn’t even have a repository. Skype was enough not to edit the same file at the same time, Trello to maintain a list of tasks.

    It was difficult to live a working day. We bombarded each other with letters with new ideas, functionality and thoughts randomly jumping in our turtles. Falling asleep in the evening was a problem. Everyone who starts work on a project knows what I'm talking about.

    The next couple of months were spent studying marketing materials, in which we had zero experience. Since it was too early to spend money on the promotion of the project, basically we just gained knowledge for the future. I found out how important it is to be able to write articles. This does not seem to be such a difficult task, but in fact it takes a huge amount of time. Nevertheless, the ability to create interesting content will bring incomparably more benefits than any advertising.

    We continued to work on the functionality and every day we made a new issue in the digest with a list of useful and not very applications, libraries and resources. Visitors sent their products as well - about 1/5 of all entries were offered to us by readers.

    Creating a platform for conducting digests
    At some point, I received a message on Reddit asking me to share a digest engine. The guy had a desire to do a weekly letter with a list of “long reads” - voluminous articles on various topics. Of course, we agreed, but after a while the person disappeared. However, this prompted the idea of ​​providing anyone with a simple and quick way to maintain a digest with the ability to create periodic issues, newsletters and some social component.

    We ordered the design and started the necessary changes to turn our modest digest into a platform. At first, the task did not seem voluminous, but in reality, like all IT projects, it took more than the estimated time. We spent two months on weekends, evenings and even vacations in development. Lack of basic work would certainly accelerate the process and reduce the load. However, this mode will not kill you in a few weeks. It’s hard, but you get a feeling of satisfaction from work.

    As a result, six months after the talk “let's do something”, we came to the creation of a well-functioning product . Naturally, the number of ideas and additional functionality is only growing, but MVP is up and running.

    A few thoughts in the end
    • Teamwork is much easier. Rather, I generally do not believe in the possibility of creating a quality product alone. You must be sure of a partner, ideally have experience working together and know each other for a long time. Any problem that arises between the founders is absolutely critical for the project.
    • Run anything as fast as possible. Start with a prototype with a terrible design and a couple of working buttons. Nothing motivates better than real users.
    • You do not need to have a fully developed understanding of the final functionality of the product. You will still have a huge number of ideas and requests from users. However, the only way to get them is to start with a working minimum.

    What in the end can I say about the main work and parallel work on my project? The load is high, sometimes it is quite difficult. Of course, I want to spend much more time on my business. However, I do not like unnecessary risks, and I could not just drop everything for the sake of the possibility of creating my own startup. I will give an analogy. Creating a business seems to me to be a jump from the roof of the barn. So, I’m ready to make some efforts, and bring some hay to the place where I plan to land. I can miss anyway, but jumping seems to be not so scary anymore.

    I want to thank the Megamind administration for the opportunity to create a company blog.

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