34
purged
2y

Pseudo-rant:

I'm worn out from working a full-time job, working on my app, and having a family.

My app has potential, I launched it in July (iOS only so far) and am already well over 1000 active users. It's first week in the app store, it was in the top 100 for it's category.

It has some bugs that I'm working out, and some features that are in high demand.

I'm currently completely refactoring the API because I let it become spaghetti as I went from concept to v1.

That refactor means a rewrite of the website, and a major refactor of the iOS app, which is all fine and dandy.

On to the question: I am an engineer/architect, not a business major. I know I could really use help, and I know the perfect people to try to bring on, but also know I have nothing real to offer them other than a stake in the company.

As a developer, does a stake in a promising, but unproven company have enough prospect to sacrifice your time for?

Am I just being impatient, and should I continue nibbling at it myself until I get there, even if it takes a long time?

How do you determine the stake to give up, when you know that you COULD do it all yourself and keep all the monies?

I should have taken some business classes.

Comments
  • 11
    If we had done business classes instead, we would be the ones being told to turn it off and on again. ;)

    Have a look at different models to see what might work better for you. Is there a source of funds that doesn't require equity (gov/state programmes)? Might it be better to find a mentor/angel investor to help you and hire the talent you need?

    It's good that you're questioning it at this stage, before it gets on top of you with a busy life. Do what devs do, examine the problem from all angles, talk to those around you, maybe test one or two ideas, then choose the one that works for you.

    Sounds like you have it under control and this is just a momentary freak out, which we all get from time to time 👍🏻
  • 2
    @pixeltherapy thanks for the sound advice!

    I am by no means freaking out, but admittedly, I can be impatient.

    I am excited to start promoting/marketing, but I can't feel good about doing that until I know that it's a solid product.

    I know that I can get it there, but I am running out of steam from going at this full force for awhile.

    I want to grow it, but it's so easy to misstep. Misjudge the potential, or the growth rate, hire devs, and you set yourself up to have to lay people off. I never want to be in that position. I just don't have the business acumen.
  • 2
    My opinion (not a business major either) I just want to warn you against letting a project die. If you are truly burnt out, you will skip working on it one day and soon enough you'll be at a whole year with no major updates. You will lose users. So, be honest with yourself, should I dissappear with my spouse for a week just to get a break, or should I find someone else to help me? I recommend vacations, every month, go to a hotel in another city near you for a weekend. Don't bring the computer. Don't bring the kids. Relax. But if that doesn't work, hire someone who can handle maintenance of code, but they don't have to be amazing. (A fresh Computer Science graduate?) You can teach them along the way, and whenever you feel up to it, code.
  • 2
    @tpalmerstudios thanks for the tip.

    I'm not going to let it die. Not a chance. I'm just thinking some help would be fantastic.

    I just don't know how to make it worth somebodies time, while not giving up too much of the pie.

    Maybe it's better that I suck it up and wait to bring someone on, until I can pay them rather than give up equity.

    That's a hard call to make, and why I'm hoping somebody who has "been there, done that" might be able to share some input.
  • 3
    (Sorry that my comment doesn't contain any advice)
    I'm curious, what is your app for?
  • 1
    If you want someone to work on it full-time, a stake in its success alone is a hard sell.

    If it's "hey, make your side-project the same one I'm working on!" then that's great, but if it's a small stake then it had better be an amazing idea, or one that they for some reason couldn't replicate (or better) without you.

    If you're both only spending "spare" time on it, you need to be able to justify however much larger your equity is.

    Also, have it written up professionally. Not worth having only a casual agreement in the event of any later dispute, and they'll be more willing to help you.
  • 1
    Great thread and advice. Trending question on devRant is the business / marketing aspect. I would suggest a devRant podcast episode with tips hosted by the devRant founders and a couple of other successful entrepreneurs that have been thru the process.
  • 1
    @edisonn good points.
    Scoring VC money is not the only way to achieve success, in my opinion. Yes, Sacca, Andreesen, Cuban...definitely add value beyond money. But taking dumb money and burning through it does not define a successful business. The old days of bragging about burn rate are just that - the old days.

    If you fill a need and look beyond VC money you have a chance for success without selling your soul. One of many examples is building mutually beneficial relationships with like-minded companies. I know of small companies doing that as we speak. Combine the strength to help each other.

    Lots of other ways to attain success in my experience. Maybe the podcast guests include people that built their business and the VC's came to them - if they even took VC money at all.

    This is a good thread.
  • 2
    I also released an iOS app this year, except i'm at 200 active users after about 3-4 months. At the point where i'm worried that i misjudged the utility of the app (and people might not even want it). Or i'm just impatient like the OP lol 😂.

    Leaving my comment here to subscribe.
  • 1
    Add gary vaynerchuck on facebook and watch it's videos it will be enough
  • 1
    It's almost been a year. Where did you go with this? @purged
  • 0
    @shdw I quit indulging in my self pity and adapted the motto: "Good things come to those who work their fucking asses off."

    Completely rebuilt my API from the ground up and completely rebuilt my app in React Native for iOS and Android on one codebase.

    I launched V2 a month ago and immediately quadrupled my users.

    Still not making much money from it, but as I add more features to bolster the available in app purchases, I think it will be semi-lucrative. Maybe... I hope.

    And yeah, I didn't hire anyone or take any funding. I started to bring on a friend, it wasn't working for us so we split amicably. Luckily I had put a cliff in the contract so I didn't lose any equity because we severed before the cliff.
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