Ramen profitable means a startup makes just enough to pay the founders' living expenses.

Paul Graham (2009)

For a lot of American wannabe entrepreneurs, our student loan payment is a major obstacle to moving from full-time employment to entrepreneurship. High rent? Move somewhere cheaper. Restaurant food too expensive? Learn to cook. But you can't escape your student loan payments, not even in bankruptcy.

If you read financial advice online, it often says before trying to start a business you should be completely out of debt. But for some of us paying off our student loan would take so many years we'd never get a chance to try a startup before an age where people want to settle down and stop taking risks.

The only option we have is to pause our payments for a few months. During this time, interest will accumulate on the loan, so this is an expensive option. We should only use it for a few months while we scramble to get a startup to ramen profitable, then to "ramen plus loan payment" profitable.

At that point we can restart our loan payment (which will be higher each month due to the accumulated interest). It's risky, but we can't change the past when we decided to go to college or grad school and took out the loan. We can change the present and take a chance on ourselves and entrepreneurship.

If the startup doesn't start earning money fast enough, there is always freelance income.

Airbnb famously used a big stack of maxed-out credit cards to get started. The interest rate on credit cards is much higher than student loans, so they are a worse option that pausing loan payments. (Although credit card debt can be discharged in bankruptcy, that's a bad option that should be taken as a last resort.)

What do you think? Should "ramen profitable" include making loan payments?