There’s no worse time to leave that safe pensionable job and there’s no better time to start that business with your limited resources.

* But starting a business now is tougher than ever. And?

* I know nothing about web apps or code. And?

* I’m not sure I can get a grant for this. And?

* But have you seen the trouble blogs can generate. And?

* Remember the bubble! And?

I stuck up a video about procrastination on the site this weekend and it’s a very Irish thing that we target reasons NOT to start a business and take a risk unlike the American model where it’s about the positives and the attitude is obstacles can be taken care of. Just like the video, there will always always be reasons (many valid) not to start a business in this country. Even a failed or failing business is good for Ireland as the money spent stays local, knowledge is shared, scars are earned.

Confusion and Happiness Street Graffitti Background
Photo owned by Halima Ahkdar (cc)

Here’s a reason to try out that idea, to work for yourself, to develop that web app:

You can always go back to living in medicority, taking shit from a boss who is flailing about in a bumbling along industry. You’ll have learned more practical stuff in one week working for yourself or in a small startup than you’ll ever learn in a lifetime in that pensionable job. Would you take a risk for love? Would you do it for business?

And you don’t have to give up that day-job just yet anyway. 9 to 5 jobs are just that. Switch off and back on at 5.01 and work til midnight on that new business.

And don’t start wasting time on fucking lists.

30 Responses to “And?”

  1. MJ says:

    The one-minute-past-five til midnight comment (it’ll really be later, don’t ya know) is the best part of this post. It’s the most realistic way of looking at starting a business at the moment. Yes, we will take our hats off and admire someone who chucks in the permanent pensionable job and makes a huge success of self-employment, but I would personally admire just as much, the person who slogs away after hours – earning the keep to keep the family going during the day, and building their potential earnings on the side.

    If you want to see 5 mins of insight to what that’s really like – and the personal tools you really need – this might be of interest to anyone drawn in by your post. It’s a quick vid from a person who started a business just like that – on the side. Apparently coffee will become your new best friend.

  2. TUG says:

    Buy an investment property aswell while you’re at it…

  3. The only problem with the 17:01-midnight routine is there’s always other stuff that still needs to get done: meals need cooking, children need putting to bed, exercise needs to be done, mind/body needs a hour or so to regroup. In reality, my ‘working evening’ tends to be 9pm-1am. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll get 7 hours available for your side-project work each day.

    On the positive side, that pensionable job that many of us have isn’t a sure-fire thing any more, and broadening our skills and preparing an alternate income source is a very smart move in these troubled times.

  4. Joe Scanlon says:


  5. Paul Anthony says:

    A full time job then 5.01 to midnight = burnout.

    and the lack of any kind of relationship with anyone other than your computer.

    Believe me. Juggling life and work is easier said than done.

  6. Mike says:

    Great post as always Damien.
    There seems to be a begrudgers mentality by some directed at those who strive to set up their own business and gloat subsequently if the business “fails”
    My advice just ignore them as they would not have the courage or conviction to risk their own capital, or take the leap from the comfort zone of their 9 to 5.
    You are always learning and “failures” along the way can be a means to gain more invaluable experience about running your business and fine tuning your product/service.
    It can be a long process and a little luck along the way can be a timely boost but you need to take the right advice on board and stick at it as the rewards will follow.
    3 tips
    Dont work for nothing for someone on the basis that they will recommend you as reciprocation is in short supply at the moment.
    Dont give credit
    Keep your overheads low
    There are opportunities out there and as the saying goes fortune favors the brave

  7. Peter Tanham says:

    Sitting in work at my desk, almost two hours into the 5:31 to midnight shift, that was a very uplifting post to read. Cheers.

    My paycheck is my venture capital!

  8. Ste says:

    A work friend of mine just left his job on Friday to join a start up company and he will succeed because he has the right attitude and a good business idea. Attitude and ideas are all you need. Someone ring the government because they’re lacking in both areas.

  9. Great post Damien – the “screw it just do it” attitude needs to be fostered, though obviously not in a hair-brained fashion. If you think for too long, you can talk yourself out of anything (yes, anything), there’s always just as many compelling reasons to stay as you are. Having ditched my job over a year ago, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done, and even if my present venture goes tits-up, I’ve meet so many people, and broadened my horizons, that I know the next opportunity is just around the corner. Commitments, whilst noble, are not a good reason to stay in a dead end job – I’ve a wife, 2 kids and a pretty hefty mortgage and I find that focuses you – you spend less time faffing about a potential great idea, and go out there and earn real business…

    Don’t think too many people lay on their death beds and said “I took too many risks”…

  10. […] posted and? today. It reminded me of a book (Wake up and change your life) I’ve read by Duncan Bannatyne […]

  11. >>> Don’t think too many people lay on their death beds and said “I took too many risks”…

    I agree with the sentiment and it’s certainly my new attitude but there’s also plenty of accident victims lying crushed in their cars, thinking “I was stupid and took too many risks”. It all depends on what risks you take, when and how 😉

  12. Peter Tanham says:

    I don’t think too many people lie on death beds and think anything, but that’s a different kettle of fish.

  13. Michael Kane says:

    It’s a very personal thing and not for everyone.
    My wife goes back to work in January after three years on and off maternity leave – someone needs to pay the mortgage. We’d both far rather she was at home with the kids now, but that’s the joint sacrifice we’re both making.
    Will it pay off? I’ll let you know when my three year old runs off with the circus in ten years’ time.
    But it sure as hell beats just existing.
    Sound tips from Mike above, in particular the one on overheads – keep them low and you give yourself time to make it work.
    Great post Damien.

  14. Evert Bopp says:

    Jayzus, you have to stop this Damien.
    A post with nothing for me to disagree with!
    Having been an “entrepreneur” for well over 10 years now I have gone trough the start-up process several times.
    Never regretted it one minute!
    As for the “now”; I’ve kicked off two new ventures in the last two months and am working on another one that will “go live” next spring.
    The current economic “situation” is an excellent time to start-up. You can only go up from here!

  15. […] advice on just doing it. No excuses for you and I […]

  16. lisadom says:

    Well the interweb sure lends itself to doing the work “after hours” but you can be severely challenged by family members who resent it.

    I am finding if difficult to balance out “the muse” which might only be upon me when every other soul is fed, bathed and asleep. And the need to sleep before starting it all up again.

    But when the house is empty, the muse may be blocked by the need to sweep, mop, wash and hang out neatly so you don’t have to iron, and shop.

    I guess that is part of the challenge of working from home mostly; as you are still seen as the primary carer “of the home” regardless of the fact that you are also a secondary breadwinner.

    Whereas engagements and meetings outside the home seem to release you from domestic responsibility and the other carer kicks in.

    Buggered if I know how to balance it.

  17. Great post. Working 9-5 means you’re not master of your own destiny anyhow, so now is the best time to start that something new. Get the legwork done now and reap the rewards later. If it’s something you like doing it won’t seem like work anyhow and midnight will be gone before you know it.

  18. Yes, yes and yes. Thank you for the ongoing inspiration. One of these days when the 5.01-12.00 allows it I will be on that train. Right now I’m with Lisa though, ready to crash and needing to balance. I get doing the 10pm-2am shift when the kids are gone down. I am not making excuses. I genuinely need/want to find an entry point into a world that I’m on the periphery of. But hopeful blog posts do help, and pls keep it up.

  19. Mike says:

    In reality 9 -5 never finished at 5 for me. I always did that bit more because I wanted to achieve. Which made me a perfect corporate Muppet. Now that I have my own business I still work hard but at least I get to keep what I make.

  20. Colm says:

    Funny how many of the comments are excuses for not taking the approach.

    This is very reminiscent of this great talk by Gary Vaynerchuk

    A bit over the top but that’s his point.

  21. There’s a good discussion of mISV / side-project working hours here:

  22. Niall Larkin says:

    Good advice, Damien. Totally agree. Keep the day job and work evenings and weekends. Or even do the reverse.

    Lots of people have put themselves through college that way. Why not start-up school?

    Yes, this means longer hours and drastic reorganisation of your social and recreational life. But you already knew that would be part of the bargain didn’t you?

    And remember, its normal to get cold feet. But also remember, in situations like these a clear path will often only reveal itself AFTER you’ve made the commitment.

    Commiting yourself to 7 hours a day over and above your day job will really help cut through and clarify.

    If you start with that commitment. And you love it. And feel energised by it. And for all the sacrafice you find you want more and more of it…

    Well then the next step is not such a difficult decision.

  23. […] my feed-reader after three weeks of forced internet abstinence, I stumbled across a great post by Damien Mulley called simply “And?”. It’s an interesting piece that challenges the Irish tendency to focus on excuses when it comes […]

  24. […] by Seth Godin. Then I somehow found my way over to Damien Mulley’s blog where I read “And?”class=”entry-content”> and lastly, I read “I can’t” by Joe […]

  25. […] If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my site using a feedreader or email. Thanks for visiting – Damien.Some thoughts as 2008 gently comes to a close. This is the sister post to And? […]

  26. kieran says:

    I often work 16 hours a day trying to get things done. Usually my evening work is from 7.30am till just after 12, by then I am near going mental, square eyes. But I would echo the above in terms of relationships. Working most of your hours does cause problems …
    I think what Ireland suffers from is a complete lack of business knowledge by the people who are paid to run the country. Therefore our politics are stuck in the 19th century and those with ideas etc are given no help to make it a reality, our money goes to ex teachers who have several stupid titles in stupid TD offices that adds no value to anyone …

  27. […] fill it with the things I love doing. I don’t want to labour this point because plenty of people have said it much better than I […]

  28. […] And? You can always go back to living in mediocrity. […]