Mitigating risk in a startup

As a fairly safe guy, I am trying to get used to the fact that I am going to have to eventually put it all on the line if I want to try to build a company myself. Being a pretty financially conservative guy, risking my hard earned money is something I constantly struggle with. To actually go through with this, I have started compiling a list of things I can do to remove as much risk as possible from my leap into starting my own business.

1. Save up money specifically for funding my startup-While I admire people who “risk it all”, I have come to terms with the fact that my brain doesn’t work that way. I can tolerate a decent amount of risk, but the idea of going bankrupt and putting my family in a really sketchy situation is not something I am willing to risk. So I am looking at starting a company as a really big purchase. I am saving up a fat chunk of cash that will specifically be used for the company. My retirement accounts, general savings, etc will be kept separate.

2. Start my project on the side– If it works and has enough traction for me to focus on it full time, then that is great. If not, then I can continue working at my normal job making money and use my spare time to test and iterate on various projects until one takes off.

3. Network with really smart people– The more people I surround myself with who are uber talented and uber smart, the better chance I have at succeeding. I’ve been trying to be a bit more active in terms of reaching out to people who fall into this category to help steal some of their wisdom. It’s been going well so far and I plan on continuing.

I’m sure there are quite a few other things I could do to help reduce the possibility that whatever company I start will fail, but if I do the three things listed above, I feel I will be going down the right path.

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