Build a startup as a hobby project
A New Series on Business Startups — Part 11
Many startups plunge into the marketplace on a wing and a prayer. The young, inexperienced hopefuls have great expectations, but little knowledge of the complexities of the business they are getting in to.
The problem with this approach is that, except in rare instances, the new entrepreneurs will be forced into mimicking what’s already out there, including their main competitors. They will be competing directly with hard-bitten professionals and mature operations. They don’t stand a chance.
One way round this head-to-head gambit is to set up the enterprise initially as a hobby project, rather than a registered business.
The advantages of this alternative approach are many:
* You can win your spurs without too much financial drain or loss of face.
* You can gain expertise by copying the market leaders with little comeback.
* You can mature in the job and branch out from your competitors.
* You can gain respect in the market before making big investments.
This path is especially easy on the internet because entry costs are so small. Syntagma Media was started in this way, first as a tentative hobbyish project to test the waters, then as a semi-commercial enterprise with all profits reinvested for growth. Finally, as a registered business earning good returns for its owner.
Where entry costs are low, it’s always best to reach the comfort zone before fully committing yourself to a real business with all its overheads and legal headaches.
After all, you may not like it once you’ve tried it out for yourself.