October 30, 2019

If i do an independent startup, will it make me still employable if I leave in the future?


I've only had 1 year professional software development experience at a company. Thinking of leaving to start a business or two independently where I'm the sole employee (so no huge business expenses). I have support from my savings and family, and live with my gf for cheap rent.
I'm just worried that if it doesn't work out in 6 months or so, when i try to get a regular job, employers will look down upon that I didn't work for someone. I don't think that would be the case especially if I did some real development and explored some cool technologies. But, it's in the back of my mind.

  1. 3

    I wouldn't consider what you're thinking of doing a 'gap' at all. You're taking time from full-time employment to further your skills on a project. You'll be a better developer for it.

    A gap where you did nothing is worse.

  2. 1

    I did this with a bit more experience, a couple of times, but our experiences probably differ. Couple of things I'd consider:

    1. You'll want to be able to talk confidently and give a convincing answer for why you left your first job after only about a year, the same as if you were interviewing tomorrow.

    2. I'd think more about how easy the interview process was to get your position in the first place, and go from there. The gap isn't likely to make that harder, probably more about your particular role / skillset / location / market.

    3. Hang on to artifacts and think about your story (what you built, what you learned, what you accomplished) along the way. It certainly makes you a more interesting candidate to have hands-on experience that is going to be more memorable / interesting down the road.

    Good luck!

  3. 1

    If some employer doens't think what you're currently doing is impressive, forget about them! There are plenty others who will appreciate your experiences

  4. 1

    I want to add my input on top of all other awesome response you got here.

    I'm in a similar situation.

    I used to work full-time then I left my job and moved abroad to do my master's degree. After finishing my studies, here I am without a full-time job.

    Currently, I have a profitable product, however, it's growing slowly and it scares me. I started to take freelance jobs on Upwork for both extra money and keep my skills sharp.

    You could also look for extra gigs and do freelance work on different platforms.

    All in all, while working on your own project you will learn new technologies, marketing, sales, communication skills, etc. So, it is not a gap year.

    Just don't be lazy and keep working on something.

  5. 1

    There will be people who will look down on your experience for sure, but you shouldn't want to work for them anyway.

    Then, there will be people who will see it as an experience like any other and people who will see it as a plus.

    Another question you shoukd be asking yourself is if after a startuo experience, you will want to be an employee again.

    After years working on my own things, I couldn't if it wasn't absolutely necessary.

  6. 1

    Most modern tech companies are most interested in people they consider trainable, a self learner, a team player, and autonomous. Even if your project doesn't work out think about how many of those qualities you've demonstrated (all of them). Additionally, lots of companies who focus on small teams typically have "hit teams", or groups of people they rely on to go from zero to product. A very different set of skills from going from product to 10K users.

    TL;DR: If things go wrong, just be prepared to talk about everything you learned!

  7. 1
    • If your product will bring any sort of revenue, you will be employable as product manager. A lot of CEO's of failed startups became a product managers for a while

    • From experience, even if you want to get back to development, this experience will count to overall development experience or leadership experience if you had some freelance help or even team.

    • Entrepreneurial peoples are very rare and have drive, not existing in regular employees. Every employer I had was very excited about every such candidate.

  8. 1

    I’d suggest talking with your current employer. Tell them honestly that you want x months non paid to go do what you’re proposing. Worse case they say no. But they may say yes and then you would have less to worry about....

  9. 1

    You don't want to work for any employers who will look down upon you doing your own thing for a while. It's not a gap, you're working for your own company - as long as you can confidently talk about what you do and the value you generated, many employers will actually put more weight in your ability to manage yourself and the value you created on your own even if you decide to go back to full time employment. You'll almost certainly learn a lot more than you would have in a full time job which will make you more employable - and there's a chance you might never need another full time job again! :)