To run a successful start-up, you've got to be all in. There's no room for indecision.
That's why Todd Wagner, the billionaire internet entrepreneur, recommends that aspiring founders ask themselves two questions.
Wagner believes if you aren't willing to quit your day job, you aren't really committed.
"To me, that's a red flag," he said in an interview with CNBC at the Iconic conference in Boston in September. "Having everything in the game is a big driver of success or not."
Wagner launched AudioNet, which would become Broadcast.com, in 1995 with Mark Cuban. In 1998, the company went public, making Wagner a billionaire at age 37. In 1999, Yahoo bought the company for $5.7 billion.
Before he started AudioNet with Cuban, Wagner worked at a law firm. Knowing he wanted to go all-in on the new company, he first secured a line of credit — since he figured it would be easier for him to get credit as a corporate lawyer than as a pre-revenue entrepreneur — and then he quit his day job.
Not wanting to put your own money into the company is a bad sign, said Wagner. That's not to say that you can't also have investors, but he thinks you should have some skin in the game.
"I want you to worry every night what's going to happen if this company fails," he says. "If this company fails, I want your pain to be as painful as it is for me as an investor."
To launch AudioNet, Wagner put in all of his savings and 401(k) money, and it paid off — big time. He went from having a negative net worth to being a billionaire in six years.