Stuck in a rut with no capital

I have a great startup idea and have done the lean startup process right up to preparing for a lo-fi MVP.  This has taken too long and I have burnt most of my capital.  My partners have all decided to take corporate jobs and I am alone.  Family of 5, huge bills including mortgage and I am about done.  Not sure what to do anymore…..

  • you’ve done it this long why not finish and see where it takes you. i would suggest getting a couple of part time jobs working nights and weekends. the hard part will be to sell the final product. since youre partners left maybe they think the mvp will not grow legs. if you have total faith that you are where you’re supposed to be then you are almost home. good luck

  • A LOT of people are not cut out to build something from the ground up. It takes maturity and fortitude. I, too, have gone through a few employees and founders in my first two years. But I also found people to work with that have what it takes. You can’t do it alone. But at the end of the day, if you need to meet your basic needs then you probably need part-time income. Bootstrapping is hard. It is not for the faint of heart.

    • You’re speaking the truth there. I cant do it alone though I do have an idea to hook up with some other devs who want me to join their startup

  • Lofi MVP as in PowerPoint? If so it may be time to shelve your venture to take care of your finances. If you have an actual working app I’d suggest looking at the book Traction and seeing if you can test any of the strategies cheaply to see if it makes sense to continue.

  • If you cannot afford to go without funding for a year or more – trying to be an entrepreneur is not for you. All I can suggest in that case is to try and sell your idea to someone with the funds and the means to try and make a go of it.

    You can certainly try to make a go of it as a part time concern – but that’s a huge risk because you give up both timeliness and focus.

    In my case, I had 6 years of expenses, and have burned through 7 years before – I think – finally getting to the point where the idea will pop.

    To give you a realistic idea: if you need funding now – even if your idea intrigues an Angel or VC, the normal turnaround time is 6 months between due diligence, negotiation, and all the other crap that occurs around funding. That is the best case barring photos of a VC in flagrante delicto with a barnyard animal or similar lightning strike example, hype to the contrary.

    Even in the case where angels and/or VCs have real interest, the sad reality is also that a good or even great idea is still not necessarily going to get funded. Every angel and/or VC has multiple opportunities before them – you have to not just be great, but greatER than all or at least almost all of these other opportunities.

    You as an entrepreneur have no idea whatsoever what these competitors are, so you are fundamentally incapable of making educated decisions.

    Or to put another way: maybe you have craigslist as an idea, but Ebay Alibaba, Google, and Amazon are making the rounds. Craigslist ain’t getting funded.

    • Thanks a lot for some grounded and realistic advice. Much appreciated. It looks like I will have to do it part time and get my finances right

  • You say you have a great startup idea. That statement bears investigating.

    1) how do you know it’s a great idea? Sounds like you don’t have an MVP, so how did you get external validation that the idea is great? Or is it just you and friends/family encouraging you?

    2) let’s stipulate it is a great idea. It may not be a great startup idea. Maybe it’s something cool that nobody is willing to pay for. Maybe it’s a feature, not a product. How have you validated that your idea is a great business waiting to be created?

    You say it’s taken too long. Why is that? Was it scope creep? Bad estimation upfront of the level of effort? Lack of skill and no network you can tap to supplement skills you don’t have? Lack of unified vision? You mention “partners”–how many were there, and how complementary were they in terms of skills, network, personalities, etc.? Great people who don’t complement each other can make for a muddy vision or a botched execution.

    • Well, we did some customer discovery work and then after a few pivots and annoying our test customers again and again and again, felt pretty comfortable with the current version.

      I think it took too long as we lacked some of the necessary skillsets and couldn’t find right partners to assist.

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