I have had more friends / colleagues asking me this question recently..
“Why not just work on your startup while still in AdventNet and once it start making some decent money you can then quit ?”
That is not the right approach for a few reasons..
#1 : You cannot focus well on your job.
#2 : You cannot focus well on your startup.
#3 : The work which you did during your employment, might belong to your employer and not you.
Read this thread in Hacker News for details on how one employee was ignorant of such issues and now his over Rs.4.5 crores / month earnings from his startup might actually belong to his employer.
Quotes from the thread…
9 points by samson 29 days ago | link
“The tragic part for Maestri, at least is that if he’d just waited until he’d left Freewebs to begin development, his former employer would have a far harder time making the charges stick.”
So legally, the advice that I’ve heard (even here at hacker news) of keeping your day job, and work on your project on the side is usually wrong. And even more so if you work at a tech company already
That’s a great question!It depends on your employment contract and the law in your state/country. It also depends greatly on the area your startup’s in and whether your startup is even remotely similar to what your employer is doing and whether you might become their competition down the line.
A chance of getting entangled in a lawsuit increases exponentially if you’re going to take on your employer. Also, most emp contracts usually also state that you cannot contact your employer’s customers or people you met through the company’s business engagements for at least a year and usually more. Also, don’t try to poach current employees or you’ll get sued. Never use employer’s computers or any other equipment that belongs to them for working on your startup (that includes take-home laptop that they might have given you). Don’t even use their Word or Outlook for your own stuff. Delineate your startup as much as possible and don’t share your ideas/prototypes with anyone at work since they might testify against you when called in front of a judge.
I know of one entrepreneur who got sued by a former employer and the argument they used was that even though he quit before he started the company, the IDEA was conceived while he was working for them and that he could not have come up with the idea had he not worked for them. Needless to say, the charge was ludicrous but it diverted his focus off startup and it also scared some investors and the startup was stillborn.
PS: IANAL but I know a lot about law and have been advised by many lawyers so take my advice with a grain of salt.
Also, in my personal opinion, the below point is important…
1 point by startingup 29 days ago | link
Let’s also consider an employer’s perspective here. OK, you are a Y Combinator start-up, and you have hired your 18th employee (there are at least 10 that have 20+ employees, I think). If that employee were doing something like this on the side, would that sit well with you? How would you draw the line?
Forget the ownership aspects of whatever the employee is creating on the side. Would you be happy as his/her manager to realize his/her mental efforts are going somewhere else?
Think hard before you answer
My advice to you :
Don’t do something stupid. Don’t say something like “I will make sure it is not known”.
If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well; with all your effort and focus.
Plan and execute it well. All the best !!