Information technologies increasingly define todays social and economic development. Far from being restrained, the spread of IT is welcomed in all sectors of the economy. The demand for IT specialists has not declined for several years and the number of technological start-ups is growing as well. Yet not so many beginners manage to take off, demonstrate efficiency and gain a foothold in the market, with the survival rate of new projects not exceeding 10 per cent. Often the reason is that the founder does not have an impartial view of the IT market, including its rules, problems, and understanding the specifics of doing business. By focusing on online media, motivational forums and impressive success stories, the vision for ones own IT project can get distorted. One can learn, understand and fall in love with ones start-up only by overcoming difficulties, tripping over and rising, making mistakes and setting clear goals. What path do IT companies have to take before they become truly successful? What problems can one typically face at different stages of business development? What kind of life hacks, advice and recommendations can be addressed to those who are just entering the IT market with their start-ups?