The ways I've done this in the past are
1) Find some customers that are willing to hire you (or your product) but know that you'll only be free nights & weekends to support/work with them.
2) Find a "partner" (co-founder or other) that's got a flexible schedule that can help build the business while you're at work.
3) Block out nights, mornings and weekends to build the business till you have enough orders to cover 50% of your salary. This might mean 7pm-11pm most nights, and 4 hours each day Sat & Sun. Make progress (sales $$$) and momentum.
All that being said, it's risk reward. Sounds like you want to avoid taken the risk, and I get that .. but the upside is always smaller. Unless you put yourself in a position to have to succeed (ex: quitting your job) then you may never make the scary decisions that are required to build a company (like cold calling, going in debt, making a presentation, etc).
I'm on company #5 with many other side projects started nights & weekends .. so I get it - but don't be afraid to bet on yourself and go all in.
Reality check question: What do the team members get for launching your business while you are still working?
In other words - while you are avoiding taking the leap (aka risk) and they are building a potentially viable business for you to transition into once it's safe to quit your job - why do they need you?
It's certainly possible to launch a start-up while working (though I'd suggest it's generally slower doing it that way - and sometimes slow kills)...
But my experience (personal and via my coaching clients) suggests that a start-up requires several things that you will not be able to provide if / while you are still employed and working a full-time job.
Things like time and energy that will be VERY challenging to put in while you are working.
And if you still need the income from a J-O-B then how are you going to fund the start-up costs? To pay the team? To invest in your start-up in the areas you discover offer the greatest ROI?
I respect your desire to move forward with a start-up (it's an incredibly exciting move!) but I'd suggest you get a solid strategy in place to do so to ensure the greatest probability of success.
I wish you the best of luck!
You're thinking way too big without enough action.
Planning a startup on the side as an employee will result in one thing - continued employment.
Get your feet on the ground. Make things happen. Create momentum.
What you WANT is the problem of having way too much happening and momentum towards success on the side that you simply won't be able to stay in your job.
Build up these things:
-A really awesome network
-A client/customer base
-Resistance to bullshit
I have wanted to be an entrepreneur since I was 23 years old but was tied to a full-time job for health insurance and income to pay off medical and student loan debt. In 2010, I decided that I wanted to start a blogging/content consulting company. By 2011, I was making $5K a year with my side business and by 2012, I was making 1/3 of my full-time income. In 2013, my side business amplified, and two weeks ago, I left my full-time job.
When I share this story, folks think that I accomplished some amazing feat, but I didn't. I worked my ass off -- 17 hour days for a year and a half straight. I networked relentlessly for client work and built a strong foundation to never have to rely on a full-time job again.
I think that your transition will depend on the type of business you're running. You'll need to develop your assets + client base. When you feel like you have a strong foundation and can support yourself financially, jump.
There isn't really any such thing as a smooth transition. There will always be a leap of faith, when the new venture isn't quite providing enough income yet starts demanding an inordinate amount of your time and energy.
I lost my job in 2001 at a time when there weren't many jobs in my industry, so I was forced into entrepreneurship. It turned out to be a great thing, because I love working for myself and I don't think I ever would have had the guts to walk away from a steady job. So I understand your concerns.
I did have an opportunity to do more what you're talking about a few years later. As I transitioned that first business to my business team I would work in that business for the morning, then go work on my new second business in the afternoon. It was great, because I was motivated to get all my work done in the morning so I could pursue my passion in the afternoon. It wasn't smooth, though. Some days I spent all my time at the first business. Some days I had to leave the first business hanging in favor of the second. And even though I have a great team in the first business it was still a leap of faith to commit myself full time to my new venture.
Now my team runs the first business and I'm full time in the second business.
It's doable. I just wouldn't ever expect it to be smooth.
If you want to set up a call I would be happy to hear more about your situation and help you think through a strategy to smooth out this transition as much as possible.
The other way to put up your question is "What's the best time to quit a job and don entrepreneurship hat?". The answer is, there's always a good time to start. Just make sure you don't put your legs on two boats at a time. In time of crisis you'll end up in water, losing foot hold on either.
The transition will be smooth only when you sit down and invest some time to plan your business. And, that can't be done as long as you don't have that passion to live your dream.
Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t. Make sure you're ready to live that life.
I've been in your shoes. Before I Rent a Coder was big enough to support me full-time, I had to find a way to smoothly transition from my stable full-time job, without causing myself a coronary. ;-)
I took the tactic of working a full-time job to support myself, and then coming home at night and then working on my start up another 6 to 7 hours. This isn't the strategy for everyone since some people have family and other commitments that prohibited. But if you are single like I was, it is the safest way to make the transition, because you are never without an income. This can be crucial if there are problems with your business plan (which is almost always the case) and it takes longer to create a sustainable business than you first anticipated.
Here's another tip: when Rent a Coder was finally doing well enough to support myself, I told my boss about it in my intention to work on a full-time. Since I had done a good job for him, he offered to let me work part-time and taper off my hours over time as the business took off. This gave me additional income to feed into the business when it was still very new and fragile, and gave me more confidence in making the transition successfully.
Best of luck to you with making the transition and if you need any advice, you can look me up here on clarity.
Good idea--build the revenue while you're still working, so that the strain isn't directly placed upon the new business.
There's a book and a group on Facebook specifically for people like yourself. It's called How To Quit Working. The book is by Jeff Steinmann, and you can get it on Amazon. The Facebook group is called "How To Quit Working Circle".
I'll leave you to search for those things if you like, because I don't want to be told it's promotional to link to them. This is a person I've learned from, and I believe his book is one of the top three business books I've read in the past 10 years.