My typical day: I wake up by 5am every weekday, go through my daily ritual and leave my house by 6am to begin my 10 km commute to work (I am a “factory worker”) to get to work almost an hour later .
My factory shift resumes by 8am and ends by 6pm officially, although this might extend into late hours of the night on some occasions. I do not work on anything IT related (which factory worker does?), so none of the hours I spend at work contributes in any way to gaining startup experience.
After work I start another 10 km commute back home, which can extend for almost 3 hours most times, no thanks to the crazy traffic on Lagos roads. So I get home earliest by 8pm on a very good day. Most days I am so tired I hardly can code or do anything substantial before crashing on my bed. Most times the stuff I can do are only on weekends when I have some few hours to concentrate.
Building a startup on the side is freaking hard — scratch that — extremely hard. Some people do it, but it’s no easy feat.
Pros of building your startup on the side
1. Focus: when you have so few hours to work on your startup per day you tend to focus and prioritize on what is really important and what isn’t. I work an average of 50 hours at my day job and the few hours left have to be spent with laser focus or I might just wake up and discover that 6 months have passed by. 
2. Funding: Most Nigerian founders complain about not having funding for their startup ideas so having a day job will actually allow you to funnel part of your salary into your startup till it starts generating income of its own. I have a relatively well paid factory job so I can bootstrap for now until I start generating real income.
3. Work experience: If you are lucky enough to have a day job where you are gaining skills and experiences that are directly transferable into you startup, all well and good but if you are not like I am, you can learn people management or if your day job is so bad, you would learn how not to run a business.
Cons of building your startup on the side
1. Burnout: Working nothing less than 50 hours per week on a day job for some years can have a terrible toll on you, your health and motivation to work on your startup. Most times I am so tired I can’t do anything reasonable during the week. This directly leads to my second point.
2. Speed: Most times I imagine and wish that the hours I spend on my day job could be funneled into my side project. I imagine where it would be by now. My startup might look slow and lethargic due to the fact that I barely even have time to work on it.
3. Burning hunger: Having a well paid job can actually make you lazy and take away the hunger to having a successful startup. If on the 24th of every month a substantial amount falls into your bank account with a loud bang, putting your all into a startup might not be topmost on your list of priorities. You might wake up after some years to discover that you have become a boring old fart with a receding hairline and your startup, still a pipe dream.
P.S: Thanks to this article on joel.is for inspiring this post.
1. I get most idea’s for these blog posts and write them in my head while driving on my long commute to work. It’s a wonder I haven’t hit anyone yet.
2. Talking about focus: I developed my infamous unofficial nairaland API in less than 20 minutes in a frenzied coding spree.
This post was first published on Aito’s blog.
Aito Ehigie is a factory worker by day and coder by night. Follow him on Twitter here.