Ian Landsman’s 10 tips for moving from programmer to entrepreneurÂ
As always, I commentÂ (note – you should read the original too – there’s a lot more there)
- Code is 5% – agree
- Design is everything – disagree.Â Design is important, but for many types of customers, it isn’t critical.
- Think Long Term – agree – it’s easy to let yourself avoid uncomfortable non-technical tasks.Â Don’t let them slide!
- Understand the end user – agree
- Love your customers – generally agree -Â don’t forget, you can always fire them if they are , or become unloveable.Â Â Better to fire them and suffer for a while than keep them and suffer forever
- Design for ease of use – agree.Â 100%
- Bounce ideas off of uninvolved friends – generally agree – it can be very easy to “drink the koolaid” and think you’re smarter than you are.Â HOWEVER – “game changing” ideas are usually thought of as quite stupid or bizarre and unserious, until you make millions with them.
- Pull code out – agree
- Patience is a virtue – agree – although I might have said – be realistic with what you can accomplish.
- Learn how to be an Entrepreneur – agree – it’s a much different kind of work, and it’s easy to fall into old habits.Â Read blogs about entrepreneurship and books and such – very valuable!
- You have to put time into networking, and all those icky, seemingly wasteful direct human interactions.Â Â Like debugging, you just have to do it, even though it is frustrating.
- Save money on infrastructure – as a technical person, you often have a tremendous store of knowledge about how to do more with less.Â Â Open source software, low cost hosting, demos and betas and so forth – you can easily get 80% of a full “commercial” environment for $0
- Save money in general – programming is often lucrative.Â Entrepreneurship is not always such.Â Try very, very hard to manage your expenses.
- Refer your competitors – in the process of going out on your own, you’ll meet a lot of other consultant/entrepreneurs.Â If you find an opportunity that’s not a good fit for you, but a good fit for them, pass it along.Â They will return the favor.
- Don’t be ashamed to subcontract – when you’re in-between gigs, or you’re having trouble meeting cash-flow – do anything you can to keep money coming in.