5 Amazing Entrepreneurship Tips For Programming I Wish I Knew Beforehand

the programmer's guide to Entrepreneurship; business tips and tricks I wish I knew before starting

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There is A LOT of work that goes behind the scenes in making a successful product/company/etc. However, the prospect of making something really cool and earning lots of money from it makes the dream worth it for many individuals. Entrepreneurship is quite a versatile skill that I feel everyone should learn more about -even if they do not want to pursue this endeavor. As someone in the programming industry, here are some of the tips for programming in business that I have picked up along the way.

Overall, I think that entrepreneurship for kids, teens and adults can all be approached with the same general guidelines. However, you have to balance your resources accordingly in order to make it work for your specific goals and position.

I have been running this side hustle for around one year now, and I can certainly say that I am not an expert in this craft yet. However, I have learned many lessons in this short period of time that I don’t think I would have in a programming job. In this article, I’d like to share some of the successes and mistakes I’ve made so far.

1. Find A Need For Your Product/Solution Before Development

A lot of times, especially in academics, we are wired to solve problems that are presented to us. This is a great opportunity to become an effective problem solver. This also applies to developing commercial software, however, there are a few caveats you need to keep in mind.

No one may be interested in your specific product/solution

You may have developed an awesome app/website/program/etc. that solves a huge problem that you have identified. If you spend years developing this project, pitch it to investors and no one bites, you will have wasted the time to make money from your efforts.

It’s not to say that your idea was bad by any means; there are many great ideas out there. Sometimes, the logistics of implementing your product/solution become too expensive for your investors to manage. Other times, training staff or clients to use your software may be too infeasible.

Even if your product or solution sells, investors will often try to change the overall look or function of the app to suit their needs. This will require you to potentially do massive changes to your codebase and will cost you a lot of time. Regardless of the monetary investment you may or may not get, spending months and years on projects you don’t know will have a solid Return Of Investment (ROI) will make it difficult to grow your startup.


Firms, small and large, will almost always invest in prototyping at the beginning stage of the project lifecycle. Whether you draw out the software interface on paper or use tools like Figma to design wireframes of your idea, developing a prototype will cost less time and money to pitch to investors.

At this stage, investors can submit change orders or changes in the overall design/function without disrupting your flow or schedule. This is critical, especially when communicating logistics with a team.

In the worst case that no one will invest, you did not waste months or years worth of time. You can quickly draw up another prototype and learn from the mistakes of the previous one.

2. Customers May Not Care About You Immediately

There is truth to this harsh statement. From the perspective of a complete outsider to what you do, why should they care about you? To your customers, you are the new kid on the block with nothing to show for right now. Everyone says they want to make a business from scratch, but very few end up succeeding in this goal. How will you stand out against everyone else?

Don’t take your lack of growth personally

The last thing you should do is take this personally. Take it professionally. Think of it as an opportunity to light a fire for you company. So what you do not have thousands of followers or any sales within the first week, month, year of business? Depending on your situation, your starting capital and available resources, it can take years to get significant exposure -especially online businesses.

You can prove to others you are a competitor by how long you have been in this business. Many startups see huge profits in the first months or year, but can quickly die out if the business is unsustainable. Think of this time of low profits to learn what works and what doesn’t work. Remember, this is a marathon.

Consistency is king

Regardless of how much time you have in the day, keep towards your goal. Set daily, weekly and monthly goals for yourself. Make sure that they are obtainable and measurable. This way, you can hold yourself accountable.

Keep in mind your schedule. Be realistic with yourself in these timelines. If you are scrolling through social media, watching TV or playing video games all the time, you can definitely be spending more time on your company. If you are working 8-10 hours a day, cut yourself some slack if you can only work on the company for a couple hours. You can be your own worst enemy by pushing yourself too hard or not all.

As you maintain consistency, you will see growth. It may not be large, but it is more than what you had the day before. Use this motivation to keep yourself moving towards your goals.

3. You Will Mess Up Frequently

Again, another harsh reality to face. You will frequently mess things up -most of the time not on purpose. There is no avoiding it, even if you spend years reading articles like this.

Make the less expensive mistakes

Risk management is another key skill you should learn in your experiences. When presented with a problem, identify multiple solutions to that problem. When selecting a solution, see which one will have the lowest chance of failure/repercussions on failure. This way, you have room to mess up in the event it doesn’t go too well.

For example, let’s say you run web services and your hosting provider gets hacked. Your content is inaccessible online and you are losing business every hour it is not online. Some of the ways you may respond would be to move to another hosting provider if it cannot be resolve or waiting it out. Moving is expensive, but being out of business for days can be more expensive.

With experience, you can implement a simple solution that could have resolved this before hand. To avoid this all together, have an auxiliary protocol in place for this event. Rather than placing all your eggs in one basket, invest in a smaller backup hosting service that will be activated in the event your main services do not work. Use distributed databases so that the outage does not effect the whole system.

When you apply this mentality with the wisdom gained from your experiences, you will be able to solve most of your problems without making huge mistakes. Again, this skill is learned through trial and error.

4. Don’t Try To Do Everything

While you can try, you will find yourself getting burnt out over long periods of time. Offering products/services because you can fulfill them does not mean you should. Often, this will place a strain on your business to ensure all aspects are running correctly.

This is unsustainable if it is just you running the show right now. Even if you have partners helping you along the way, this will limit your ability to grow until you find new ways to improve what you do without sacrificing quality.

This is time and resources that could be spent in marketing or product R & D. Rather than spending all day, every day on fulfilling products/services, find a way to reduce the time you need on this area so you can drive more traffic to your business. If scaled correctly, the increased traffic will not significantly impact performance.

More hands, less work

Keeping your set of skills specialized will help you be good at what you do. When you get staff that can help with your endeavors, then begin to branch out. You should focus on automation as soon as you get the chance.

Since you are a programmer, you can also use computing to your advantage. Whether you buy or develop software to handle some of these tasks, reducing the load on your daily schedule can be a tremendous advantage as it will allow you to focus on other crucial areas of the business for growth.

5. Don’t Quit

Remove the word from your vocabulary. Your business needs you to believe in it. No one else will, unless you do. It doesn’t matter how much money you’re making, how much capital you need to stay alive or even ideas to keep your business relevant. Keep working.

This tip is the most obvious, yet, most difficult one to follow. There will be moments where quitting makes sense. At the end of the day, it is your dream that you are working on. If you are willing to walk away from it because it is too difficult to obtain, then perhaps you may need to reevaluate your dreams to make them something more realistic that you can obtain.

This mentality does not suit me in the slightest, even though it offers a path of less resistance. If you have the entrepreneurship mindset, you will feel the same way. If not, then you should consider the time investment you are about to make before you do it -as you may never get a return on this investment.

Incorporating These Tips For Programming Into Business

There are millions of ways you can start your business. There are even more great ideas out there that we have yet to discover. Don’t be afraid to take a chance on your dreams, however, be ready to put in more work than everyone else to make it a reality.

Follow these guidelines, find good teammates and start making your dream happen today!

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