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Avi Aryan
Avi Aryan

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The N% handicap - How to startup without leaving job

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First posted on Dev Letters

Most of us have plans to do our own business at some point in our lives, right? Let's be our own boss for once! But make no mistake, starting your own thing is not easy and that's the reason most of us are stuck in our daily jobs.

The only way to start a business in the current scenario seems like resigning from the job or dropping out of college and going all in. Sure, there are people have made it without leaving their jobs, like by working extra hours after the job on their side project until it starts generating enough revenue so that they can finally quit. But that's not always easy because after working 8 hrs on the day job, you won't have any energy or motivation left to work more, especially when you are unsure that your side-startup will work out or not.

I have personally struggled with this for so long and it was only recently that I figured a way around it. It's kind of extreme but bear with me, if you are good at handling pressure situations, this might work wonders for you. Just to be clear, this method doesn't involve you leaving your job. You keep the job, ensure life security and still get your startup going. The real cost I suppose is your sanity, be ready to suffer some mental pain.

So what's the way? It's simple. By not using the money you earn through your job. What I mean to say is that you keep the money you earn from your job/freelance aside and live on a restricted budget. Now, there are 2 ways to go about this. One might work for you better than the other so try both and see what helps you more.

1. Everything goes in Fixed Deposits

This one is quite obvious and simple to execute. Basically, you keep all the money you earn through your job or client projects aside into your bank's fixed deposits. That way, they won't be visible in your bank account balance and so you would get a sense of working on a startup after leaving your job as your savings will be continuously decreasing.

You will be forced to track expenses, live frugally, and do only high-ROI activities that can bring revenue from your business. And of course, you are free to include the revenue from the business back into your account balance, and do what you want with it, either invest it back into the business or buy expensive items. I doubt you will do the latter though, as you will be going down a downward slope.

2. The N% handicap

In some aspects, this method is way more brutal than the first one even though it involves using what you earn. How? Because if you are following this method, you would select a fixed number N and then only use (100-N)% of your income. The rest will go in fixed deposits. In other words, this method will give you a sense of earning money from whatever you do but it will be diminished by some factor (or many factors in some cases).

For example, if you set N as 95, you will be using only be using 5% of what you earn. The rest will become invisible from your bank account and be locked securely in fixed deposits. This method can really help if you are a freelancer or in any other service business. By decreasing your effective income, it would give you a sense that you need to earn more, which can be done by increasing rates, outsourcing etc and thus, you will grow way quicker in your career.

It can help in businesses too. A diminished revenue will mean that you need to grow fast and attract more customers to keep yourself afloat.

The thing to be careful here is that you shouldn't overdo it. That is, don't set N to such a large number that you find yourself slaving 80 hrs/week or unable to sleep. Keep N within limits and you will be amazed at the level of productivity you can achieve.


If you are thinking this is too extreme or dangerous, it's not. Fixed Deposits can be easily broken, so if you are in an emergency and need your locked funds, you can always access them. Also, you won't have any problems living with that restricted amount of income. The only thing to look out for is your mental health. Keep it under check and stop if you are struggling too much.

Top comments (1)

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Pranith Hengavalli

I think the concept of working on one thing while constantly dreaming of something else is very depressing in practice. I worry that the deferred dream is something many people will find hard to hold on to.

Further I feel like entrepreneurship is a journey that you need to learn to love completely. Accept the downs, understand the difficulties of bootstrapping, and keep working at it until you find a way to make it sustainable. Unless if you burn that bridge I think it'll always be too easy to go back.