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23 Comments

I Bought a Year of Time for $200,000

Day 01 of 30 Days of Starting Up

Hi, I’m Wenting. I used to work for Adobe as a senior experience designer. During my time there I worked on several projects - Adobe Fonts, Adobe Illustrator on iPad, and Adobe XD. I specialize in Typography, a life-long passion of mine.

I am passionate about what I do, and I am happy about my $200,000 annual salary. Last Friday on July 30th, 2021, I finished my 6 years journey working on a job I absolutely loved. Today is my first day at my new job, cofounding a company with @huashu.

Leaving my well-paid tech job to pursue a not-so-well-paid startup life is a tough decision. What makes it easier is a mindset that I have been put onto myself: I’m buying a year of time for $200,000. Who wouldn’t buy time with money if they can?

There are two main reasons why people spend money:
a) for consumption, like foods, or movies;
b) for investment.
I’m buying my time as an investment. Compared to my cushy tech job, obviously, this is a really risky investment.

Staying at my corporate job would be similar to investing in an index fund. It averages at a healthy APY and thanks to compound interest, I will see a steady return over a long period of time. Starting my own company would be similar to investing in cryptocurrency. It is looking for that steep growth by bearing a big risk. Over a short time period, I could lose everything or have a big gain.

This investment is made to myself. I have been aspired to be an angel investor. I ask myself if I am looking for opportunities to invest money in other people’s startups, why don’t I invest in my own startup? $200,000 for 50% equity, where else do I get a term sheet like that?

Warren Buffet says the greatest mistakes in investing are mistakes of omission, as opposed to mistakes of commission. I thought, what if I never invest in myself? Would that be my worst investment mistake? I would rather make a mistake of commission.

I will share daily for the first 30 days about my journey as a founder. I will share more about my problem space and ideas to solve them. My startup is about tech and typography. Sign up for the newsletter to follow along my journey.

Newsletter: https://wentin.substack.com/

  1. 3

    Wise investment. Awesome post. May the odds be ever in your favour.

  2. 3

    I always thought "time is money" is upside down. I see it more as "money is time". All the best with your investment Wentin :)

  3. 2

    Wow, thanks so much TO everyone in this thread for the comments and support. I wasn't anticipating this and Thank you! That is some really good encouragement. I wrote a follow-up piece to share my thoughts on a question I get asked here: why do I quit instead of just running it on the side, link here:
    https://www.indiehackers.com/post/thoughts-on-running-a-startup-vs-passion-project-6bde499917

  4. 2

    Congrats for both of you! All the best!

  5. 2

    Congrats on your new journey and all respect for taking this step and not being afraid like 99% of people who hold on to their corporate chairs till death sets them apart. Kudos to you!

  6. 2

    Welcome to the startup life Wentin. Wishing you all the best!

  7. 2

    Congrats on your new journey Wentin!

  8. 2

    Good luck @wentin. Keep us in the loop!

    • Sparrow Founder
  9. 1

    Hi Wenting,

    I really like what you are saying and doing.

    Just in case there is some low hanging fruit where - you don't know what you don't know - it might be helpful to check out my indie founder bootcamp (free). It's a pretty quick read.

    https://nugget.one/bootcamp

    The first lesson is all about "context", and I can see you already have the well covered.

    Some of the other lessons are more practical about price points product development and such and it might be helpful for grounding at the beginning of your journey.

    Oh, also, a great book (if you are going to talk to customers) is The Mom Test:

    https://www.amazon.com/Mom-Test-customers-business-everyone/dp/1492180742

    Anyway, no worries if you don't have time to check them out, I know there is a lot to think about at the start!

    Thanks,
    Justin

  10. 1

    With this mindset I am sure you will achieve all the success in life. All the best on your startup.

  11. 1

    Nice piece. Thanks for sharing the journey

  12. 1

    Congratulations on taking the leap! There's an exciting journey ahead :)

    1. 1

      Thanks! For sure, and I am excited!

  13. 1

    Ahahaha congrats!! Super excited to see what you're going to explore! I'm starting my own thing as a side project, but this looks like a good thing to do!

    1. 1

      That is ideal! I think both ways are legit and it depends on the circumstances which route to take!

  14. 1

    "Starting my own company would be similar to investing in cryptocurrency". I will steal that phrase.

    So, what company are you going to start? Couldn't you start this project as a side project or have a regular job?

    1. 1

      My company is going to be about solving startups' branding needs through tech and typography. I had a few side projects for passion over the years, they are different from starting my own business this time around. Those side projects are all open-sourced and I didn't plan to (nor can I) make money off it. I think the mindset of starting a business vs. playing with side projects is different. I want to give myself the luxury of time to focus on starting my own business and grow as a founder. Side projects are for fun, when it is not fun anymore I start to work on next fun idea. Starting a business will come with the non-fun or even tedious part that I have to do, and I will need to overcome those hurdles in order to succeed.

      There is also legal issues/risk that comes with starting your business while being a full-time employee somewhere else too. There might be conflict of interest. I need to fill out forms to my employer to do any side projects, which I did. Those side projects did get approved, but I am not sure a full-on business idea will get approved.

  15. 1

    Really great perspective!!

    Did you consider working on your startup while keeping your full-time job? It seems at the start (at the very least) you'd be able to make that balance work. Interested to hear your thoughts on why you specifically decided to quit rather than do them side by side.

    All the best!

    1. 1

      LOL, that's exactly the question i asked 2 minutes ago.

      1. 2

        HAHA, yeah, I get this question often, my family also asked the same question. I answered it in the other thread. I think if there is no legal risk, and you can pull it off physically, definitely seems a better/safer way to go. I want to give myself a break while avoiding potential conflict of interest, so I quit to start. I am getting older, working 16 hours per day isn't feasible anymore. :D

        1. 1

          Also, you will get to work with the better 10 hours of your mental space on the things that matter to you. Fingers crossed 🤞 that this will be the best 200000$ you could have ever invested. 🎊👏👍

  16. 1

    Yes, Wentin 🙌! I'm so excited, and welcome to the indie life 🤙

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