Posted on Mon 09 December 2013

How to do a startup in your spare time

Right now Josh and I are both working on Exist around our day jobs.

On the one hand, this takes the pressure off Exist so that we can focus on making the product awesome without having a definite monetisation strategy in place yet. On the other hand, it means we don't have as much time to spend on Exist as we'd like to, so we have to be mindful of maintaining momentum.

Here are some of the ways we've implemented so far to keep us on-track and in-sync.

Managing our tasks with Asana

We use Asana for Hello Code task management because of its collaborative features. We can add comments to tasks, assign them to each other and keep track of everything we're working on via email.

Sharing links in Kippt

We're still not settled on a link-sharing service but for now we're using Kippt.

This is where we share links and discuss what we read. It's a good way to collect and discuss ideas and save resources like industry reports and press releases.

Talking to other founders

Whenever possible, we try to fit in meetings with other founders to get advice, hear about their progress and chat about startups in general.

This is really helpful for keeping us motivated and helping us to see new ideas and approaches. In particular, we love discussing big decisions or problems we have with others who have been through the same thing. Hearing stories about how other founders have tackled the same things we're going through helps us to feel less alone in this crazy game.

Emailing customers

One thing we're trying to focus on as we build Exist is getting feedback from our customers to make sure we're building something people want.

This has proved surprisingly useful in helping us to maintain momentum. Each new email we get brings us ideas and opens up discussions about our product and our industry in general (feel free to send us an email if you want to chat).

Blogging about the process

Writing posts like this help us to think through our processes and what we've learned so far. It's a good catalyst for discussing the way we do things and looking for better solutions. I recently wrote about why I'm working on Exist as well.

Weekly catch-ups

Every week we set aside a time to catch up on our progress. Even though there are only two of us, this process is really useful in helping us to "zoom out" and review the past week. We also take this time to plan our tasks for the week ahead, helping us to make sure we're focusing on the right things.

The other good thing about doing this every week is that it pushes us to make sure we get something done during the week, as neither of us wants to be the one with nothing to report.

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