[This is not a question but I want to share my story and want to send an encouraging message to hopeful entrepreneurs. Sorry for the long post.]
If you want to keep your job and work on a side online business, go for it. I did it and I am planning to do it again.. and again (note: this will not be a marketing pitch!)
I follow and read a lot about startups. I listen to thisweekninstartups.com & and read Hacker News plus others. I read books like "Founders at Work". I am web a developer and have a full time job. Always have been. After listening to all the stories about startups, I get the sense that if you want to launch a successful startup, you MUST dedicate all your time and energy to it.
I started a web hosting company over 10 years ago and it was very successful. I paid for everything from my own pocket. No funding of any kind, not even borrowing or taking a loan. I started with a single server and kept adding more hardware with more traffic, organically. I have no employees and I didn't pay myself. I had a day job. The web hosting was a one man shop and I did EVERYTHING; hardware and software support, billing and marketing. ALL THIS WHILE KEEPING MY DAY JOB! Yes it was hard work and nerve wrecking when a server would go down. I was nervous and tense whenever I traveled because I was in a "what will I do if a server goes down or I need to be there to replace some hardware" mode. I built the systems myself. My ISP has no idea and all they can do is push the reset or power buttons.
However I gave great customer support. I would answer business calls during work, secretly.. oops! Business mail would forward to my phone. That's the only way to juggle between a day job and have a side business AND offer fast customer support. But it worked for YEARS and minus the hosting fee I paid my ISP, almost all my revenue was pure profit. It was nice, minus some stress.
Then, I got married and had kids and got very busy. It affected my business. I was giving it less time and my customers felt it and they started moving to other hosting companies and I neglected all kinds of marketing so eventually I was bleeding customers. Customers left with no new customers signing up. I decided my family came first. The only time I could do any work was when everyone went to bed and I would stay up, coding and coding.
The beauty of the web is that if you go to a web site offering a service, you have no idea if one person is behind it or a group of people. I used that to my advantage. As long as your web site looks professional and you offer a reliable affordable useful service, you are in business!.
I understand that a lot of people are afraid to start a startup and to quit their day job. They don't want to lose the security of a dependable salary and the benefits like health insurance. If you have kids and a mortgage, it would be frightening to lose all that. Some take the leap and some people don't. I didn't. BUT what if you can just make both happen? A secure day job AND and a profitable online business.
My web hosting is dying now. That's OK and I understand. The business became a commodity and there are tons of companies offering free hosting, 59 cents hosting and other crazy figures. I can probably do the same and still be profitable but I think I had enough and I need a change.
Guess what? I am still planning to keep my day job and I have THREE ideas for startups. I am very excited about them and each one can keep me busy for YEARS. I am on fire and I am full of energy to work on the first one. Because I am a web developer, I can build them myself. I can host them myself because I already have hosting experience. I know developing them myself might be too much for me so maybe I will outsource some work using services like rentacoder.com or eLance.com and be in charge because they are my ideas, I know how they should be built and I have the specs.
If an idea fails as a business, that's OK too. Because it will be a great learning experience from a technical side for me. I am a Windows developer. I want to learn WPF, Silverlight, MVC, .NET 4.0, WCF, JQuery.. and the rest of the latest coming out from the technical firehose. What's better than learning these cutting edge technologies, be proficient in them and build a concrete application that the whole world will use. You can put these in your resume and be more marketable. Remember.. I have a day job and want to be more marketable and earn more because I have practical modern skills.
So here's my final word, which I mentioned in the beginning, if you want to keep your job and work on a side online business, go for it. I did it and I am planning to do it again.. and again. If you are going to do it yourself, it will take A LOT of work. To make it happen faster, you will need to focus, have a cutting sharp concentration, adaptable, resourceful, flexible, manage your time with a determination, be able to cut the noise from the web (tweets, facebook, blogs, emails.. etc). Learn.. learn.. learn. I read a lot every day just trying to keep up with all the new technologies. When I code and I need help, I Google. If it looks like it will take me more than 5-10 minutes (I do my homework) to find an answer, I post a question on stackoverflow.com. SO is a great resource. Ask for help, don't spin your wheels.
[I know people will ask. Sorry I can't name my company nor mention my new ideas]