How did you escape your 9 to 5 job to start your own business?
I am curious about how you effectively spent your time while having a full time job and a side business and at what time did you decide to take the full plunge.
I tried doing both for 2 months in parallel. One day I woke up and said "F*k this. I am done. Gotta quit". I then went to my boss and gave him the notice. I did calculate my risks as the business was just bringing in enough to keep me floating (with 2 kids and a wife). However on Day 1, my income was down by almost 75% (ouch, wifey was not quite happy but she supported)
Been 2 years since then and never been happier. It is tough, income is still less than I what I made in my cushy job but I will not give it up for that 9-5 bullshit. No more traffic to deal with (I hardly drive during rush hours now), no more commute (I work from where ever i want, mostly home office), I can take time off if I want or I could work on weekends if I want. The business runs 24-7 but I Don't have to.
Of course, not everyone is in a similar situation but we all have a path if you really want to do it. Bottomline is that you have to really really want this. It is almost like an addiction to do your own thing and not work in a shitty (Even if highly paid) 9-5 job. My job was so easy barring the shit commute. I could go in, talk to users all day, run projects, write some code and at the end of the day, I will get a big fat paycheck. People loved me at my job. I loved them back. Easy as hell. But I didn't want that anymore. I was not up to it anymore. I wanted to quit my "cushy" job.
I have been thinking about buying an existing online business if I can't think of anything. When I look into it though I am completely in over my head. Do you have any recommended resources for learning about that sort of thing?
I can't recommend it highly enough.
Pro tip: Use the mobile app, download the videos and watch them at 2x speed to save time :-)
It gets a little too philosophical at times in a "you need to want to change the world sort of way" but the professor really emphasizes that you need to become aware of your own strengths and suggests different ways of utilizing your particular skills to discover and solve problems. He provides concrete examples of how others have done this which I have found useful.
If you lack confidence and creativity I think it might help you out. Of course there are no silver bullets for this sort of thing but I think I have already learned something from it.
If you would be interested in taking the course in sync with me and discussing the various lectures, let me know. I find that to be helpful when MOOCing. My contact info is in my bio, hit me up if that sounds appealing to you.
I quit my cushy office job 2 years ago to start my own company. This year will be my first time posting revenue over $1 million. :) Needless to things, things are going very well for me and I am much better of now than when I was grinding away hating life.
Good on ya!
This is a big business stopper in Germany, too.
Health insurance is a must here and can easily add up to 500 Euro or sth. like that per month when you got a wife (not working full time) and children.
So getting ramen profitable is possibly much harder.
Where do you find businesses to buy? Is there a site for this or is it just a word of mouth thing? I'm curious.
What I have found most useful is to create a list of NEEDS and WANTS. Need is what is essential to your mental well-being. Clothes, good quality coffee (though this is a luxury for most, i count it as food and do not cheap out on it. I just don't like bad quality food nor coffee), shelter, a basic telecommunication device.
Wants are stuff like a certain kind of telephone beyond the basics, a certain kind of earphones, -sunglasses, -mechanical keyboards, etc. You see the sentiment.
Make an inventory of what you actually need, and what you desire. Then temper your desire. Sure, I do spend money on this or that once every little while, but that is a treat and a gift now, not the baseline.
But you have more ways to avoid taxes (both legal and not so much). If you get paid cash for anything, you may be able to conceal the income. You can creatively shuffle losses into the limited liability corporation, to avoid being personally affected, and basically just sock it to whomever the corporation owes.
Self-employed people typically have way more ways to write off expenses.
In Canada, if you're an employee, you don't get to write off anything. Drive to work? Can't write off gas or car repairs as a business expense. Work from home a lot? Sorry, can't write off any portion of your rent or mortgage. All that changes if you're self-employed; you can write off every this and that: transportation; the proportion of your home that is your office. On the yearly tax return form, all employees can claim a meager little "employment amount": a token sum compensating them for their inability to write off anything.
But yes, you have some ways to get some deductions for your business and write off a few things like meal expenses for client visit etc. But you cannot directly conceal income. That is almost a sure way of inviting the Tax Police/IRS.
At the end of the day, it is not so much about deductions for me. I still make less cash than my job (so far at least) even after deductions. It is more about the freedom of doing what I want to do.
(I am completely NOT a lawyer or accountant; but an IT worker and this is what my accountant does for me; your milleage and circumstances may vary :)
See sections 7, 9 and 10:
I worked every evening, every weekend, on the tube on the way to and from the office. During my lunch hours. My coworkers knew not to interrupt me during lunch, because I always took a sandwich to the same desk, put my headphones on, and worked.
Have you seen that comic "You must burn", that's exactly it. It's painful, there's moments of crippling self doubt, there's moments when you'd rather be doing literally anything else, but you must burn through them.
I had several failures. I launched an iPad app that failed. I launched several webapps that failed. In total, 4 "product launches" that failed and crashed and burnt, and countless more mini-projects that never finished or caught traction.
It took me years to get my first B2B client, but once I got it, I didn't have to work ever again, now I have 5 clients, and am concentrating on launching new products and growing and partnering.
Cause that picture is now my new wallpaper...
Also it sounds like you have a similar path to mine. Launch stuff, fail, launch again stop mid way when no traction, launch, fail.
Mind if I ask what you are doing that having 5 clients is all you need to be self-sufficient?
I am doing media monitoring, I collect vast amounts of data on social networks, p2p, rss, webscraping ... then built reporting tools on top of it - high level trend reporting, customer segmentation for acquisition and brand targeting, planogram computing based on collaborative filtering, an entire media and brand intelligence platform.
I also do Forex trading with TensorFlow, but that's only making about 70-80k a year, which is probably a living wage, but not if you're in London and have an insatiable appetite for GPU's like me ;)
This is the second time today I'm reading about "solving X with TensorFlow", which I find very interesting. It's not, "solving X with machine intelligence/AI/an application I wrote". I don't really have a point, just thought it was interesting!
Please teach me how to do this. I will pay you for your time.
I'm about 1-2 weeks away from launching into beta, if you're interested I can provide you with a machine, a license for the platform, and consulting on how to search for profitable strategies.
My contact details are in my profile :)
Expect to fail. And while it shouldn't be a goal, my failures have always been more beneficial, more productive than any success. Success always has the risk of promoting complacency. Failure will test your character and grit. In the end you will know more about yourself having tried than not. I also recommend doing it as young as possible. It helps to teach you the possibilities. If you decide it's not for you then you have time to start over and rebuild. Maybe with maturity and a different perspective you have the opportunity to pursue it again later on.
Much to my point about doing it young, if you are unsure, but you are tempted by the siren song of startup fame and fortune. The hype, glamour, fame and fortune is largely the exception and not the rule. The hard work and the hard lessons are much more the norm. The benefits you might receive are earned, and they are paid for in sweat, stress and sleepless nights.
The bottom-line is that it comes down to knowing yourself. You make a great counterpoint to those that are certain working for themselves, or starting a startup is their path.
If you are uncertain, the best way to confirm it is to test yourself, take the risk.
I grew up in a very entrepreneurial environment, so after university I took a full-time job for 12 months (as a junior dev) then went freelance. I started cheap and upped my rate by £50 for every new project I took.
During the 10 years I've been freelancing I also came up with my quality of life ratio, which is: How long does it take me to earn a month's rent? This balances both increasing my day rate with reducing my outgoings. It currently takes me 4 hours to earn a month's rent.
I currently work for around 3 months per year, which gives me cash to spare. I also live in a communal warehouse. I had to build my own bedroom (which now looks awesome), but rent + communal food + bills comes out at about 1/2 - 1/3 what most would pay.
I've also spent a few years running my own startups during this time. None were what I would call successful, but neither did any afford me the quality of life that freelancing does.
I loose around 50% - 75% of prospective work because I'm too expensive, but that is fine and something I account for. I also have a number of more junior developer friends I can field this work off to.
With my free time (and funds) I'm currently working on setting up a community in rural Portugal.
I generally also spend some time off working on my own open source projects too. Reading HN helps me stay up-to-date too :-)
That communal warehouse community sounds cool! What's the name of that place? I sometimes think about finding a place like that to do work in, but we don't have anything like that in Southern California where I'm from.
I probably shouldn't mention the name of the warehouse on a public forum. Happy to talk about what makes it work though (tl;dr: A varied range emotionally mature people!).
This generates one year of runway for every year worked. But my savings also grew thanks to some solid investments, so after six years I had ten years of runway.
Over the subsequent four years I spent down about 30% of my savings while working on startups of my own (I made some revenue, I took some small angel investment). Relationships and expertise that I built in the process allowed me to pivot into running a lucrative consultancy.
Before somebody says "you can only do that if you're young and unattached", I will add that I got married before I finished school, and our first child was born the same year I quit my tech industry job.
If you get to live on 20/25% of your income and invest the rest, in 5 to 6 years you should have enough invested to pay your expenses for the rest of your life, assuming an yearly average return of 4% over inflation. This formula was made popular by Jacob from Early Retirement Extreme blog/book/forum/wiki: http://earlyretirementextreme.com
I've been working on the side project for 3 years before that. It's a SaaS web + mobile app.
I worked on this project in my spare time (nights and sometimes during weekends). It was solving a problem that I was dealing with personally and I bet I was not the only one. The great thing with a side project is that you have no pressure and you can code features fast at the beginning. It was still a lot of work though but you don't feel it when it's your baby.
When it started to get traction (feedback from users is critical at this point) and some healthy revenue, I decided to take the plunge. France give you the opportunity to continue to earn something like 70% of your previous revenue (estimation, there are calculations rules) for 2 years in the case you create a new business.
I believe I found the motivation because my daily job was project manager but my side project was more of a developer job.
Coding your own product without all the pain that a PM needs to resolve was a breath of fresh air. Combining the two competencies was also an advantage for learning to be an entrepreneur (even though I was more of a newbie as a developer compared to the devs I was working with in my previous company).
Now I'm enjoying it, I hired a few interns and joined an incubator in Paris.
It's great and something that doesn't make the news so much. It could be viewed as a state funding program. The state will get back much more in taxes and employment when and if the startup takes off.
Either way, thanks for pointing this out. That's an incredible benefit.
lolwut, that's pretty awesome.
Also curious about how many of the "saved <double digit> percent of my salary for years" stories happened in the Bay Area with its impossible cost of living. And if so, did you do this with a family? How? I consider my lifestyle extremely frugal, yet I couldn't imagine saving enough capital to start a business in 10 or even 20 years.
I have been working at startups for a few years. I have made this work and been able to open-source both projects I do in my own time, and projects I built at work. Here is how I do it (note I am not a lawyer and not qualified to give legal advice):
* First step: always read your employment contract--the whole thing--before signing. Ask questions. Ask them to explain how software IP works in plain english (and in writing). All companies have lawyers, that's what they're paid for. I've never had anybody mind that I asked.
* Second step: do not sign a contract that grants IP to your company for software you wrote, on your time, on your own hardware, that is not directly competitive with the business. If this is the contract they give you, don't join the company. It's likely not enforceable, but you don't want to be in an IP lawsuit someday.
* Third step: list anything and everything you have on Github (public or private) in your exemptions. Contracts usually allow you to exempt anything you worked on before you joined.
* Final step: Write code! Do it on your own time, on your own hardware, and don't create anything that could be perceived as competing with the business. As a rule, I generally notify my boss (in writing) of _any_ side project I start working on, whether it's public or private. All he has to do is CC the lawyers, and they say "All clear, the business does not own that IP".
I may have been lucky in finding so many places that are "cool" about this. But mostly, I think it comes down to screening companies by talking about this up front.
I've never had them refuse to amend that clause in the face of that. Maybe it's different outside the UK.
If they did refuse to amend, I'd continue the job hunt basically. I probably don't wanna work for a company that inflexible anyway.
Also, contracting works well for owning your own IP. Contractor clients appreciate you have other clients too and don't usually even try to demand exclusive ownership of the product of your mind.
I did have one company try to get me to sign a 10-year noncompete, upon pain of having to pay twice the market cap of the competing company. I am not shitting you. I tried pointing out why this was outrageous and unenforceable (what if I worked for PayPal?!) and they didn't seem to get it. So I told them to gtfo.
I myself work in the Research Triangle Park in between Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina. The cost of living is low, and the starting salaries are slightly higher than what I've seen in the Northern Virginia / Washington, D.C. area. I was also able to climb the pay ladder fairly quickly in my so-far short career, and I'm making way more money than I need to facilitate my (admittedly rather humble, but comfortable) lifestyle.
Similar things can be said of the San Antonio, TX; Burlington, VT; even Fayetteville, AR; Fargo, ND; Twin Cities, MN; and many other places in the country you wouldn't necessarily associate with tech. One thing I learned the hard way is to always consider the cost of living when considering a job offer. $X is worth far more in Raleigh, NC, than it is in Washington, D.C..
I'm still in the setup phase of my business (a hydroponics farm/green wall installations) but being able to devote entire days to getting going has been immensely helpful.
I started working the new contract about a month and a half ago. It was hard staying focused at first and I was a little too happy - go - lucky with my newfound freedom (Overwatch). So, while I was getting everything done for my 9-5, I've been moving slowly on the farm. Things have been better these past two weeks and I'm excited to get cranking in a serious way.
I should note that before I had even considered building a business or taking this step, I'd been doing research for the past 4 or so years that started my last semester in undergrad. I'd also done many small scale, non commercial projects for different clients in the evenings/weekends before I made the jump. Like another poster, to me, this is the equivalent to grad school. I could spend a bunch of money on an MBA and learn some things, or I could start this business, learn hands on, and potentially walk away with profit instead of debt.
I always assumed that, as developers, we couldn't afford to automate writing code (as Tim's proposition is originally to automate the income), and so you do your work faster. Can you comment how you do that, how did you buy your remote time from that, etc.?
The gist of it is, generally, no matter how huffy the person at the other end is, what they're sending you is probably not an emergency. That being said, you can afford to batch your emails so you are only going through and responding to them once or twice a day as opposed to constantly losing your train of thought to reply to them or read them. This might not exactly apply to you, but reading 4hww got me to consciously think what sorts of things I might be able to cut. Actually taking the time to notice what those things are could help anybody I'd guess.
I got my remote time from that because I've been working at the same org for 2 years and have kept track of my wins/successes. I've gotten a lot of those because I've learned to be more efficient using ideas like the ones above. Over those two years, I've also noticed that our org has a problem retaining mid level employees and so I was able to leverage that when talking about remote time as well.
So I'm not automating my income, but I am saving time by cutting unnecessary tasks.
I'm launching my first official product in Sept. and have been consulting to pay the bills. The consulting has been good...perhaps a little too good as I feel myself getting pulled away from the product as I'm still busy after raising my rates a few times already.
Yes, exactly. Kudos to you for doing this. Taking the initial leap is the hardest part. Good luck!!
Again, this is amazing to me that people can make a living off of youtube.
I've worked on several projects since then, one of which (TaskforceApp.com) is making $500-$1500/mo. The other I just launched on HN about 3 weeks ago: http://www.IndieHackers.com. It's gotten almost 300k pageviews since launch, and I've lined up some awesome sponsors who combined are contributing about $1000/mo. My plan is to keep growing the site by adding interviews, writing more blog posts, and adding forums/AMAs.
If you're interested in hearing lots of other stories similar to this (most of which are more impressive), I recommend checking out Indie Hackers. I publish average monthly revenue stats in addition to interviews with the founders behind all these companies.
I pretty much set my own hours, start work between 8am and 9am and end between 5pm and 6pm.
Some days I really get nothing done -- right now we're in the midst of buying a house, and I must confess I'm spending lots of time communicating with the lender and broker, packing, etc.
Other days, I work until midnight to get stuff done. It feels a bit like being self-employed, but of course you still take orders. But you also have the backing and resources of a larger organization. Kind of a transition to self-employment, you might say.
I do have a side business of playing music for weddings and other occasions, but that's pocket change and will never turn into full time.
I'll do two things:
- Build and MVP and try to find paying customers. Once the money is flowing in, I might take a venture again into the startup world.
- Use a few hours / day to build the thing and start to look for a business co-founder.
I had dreams of getting into grad school, but that didn't work out and I ran out of money ($20k NZD) so now I'm back in America working software. It's soul draining.
I'm not an entrepreneur. I have no desire to start my own business. Right now I'm saving until my lease expires. Then I plan on selling everything and doing something crazy again.
I might look for writing residencies. I have a film I'm self-funding a demo for in order to crowdfund the rest. I'm looking at fellowships. I'd like to get the film started while still employed and quit work once it's funded and I'm over 50% done with its development.
If all else fails, I'll buy a car and live of my savings, driving around America for a year or so while perusing some of these things mentioned. The 2nd major option I'm thinking of is getting another Australian work visa and taking another dev job or finding a writing residency there.
The thing is: I have no kids, family or debt. My parents came from poverty and my father spent ever dime on making sure his kids had a debt free college education. I feel like these things artificially limit others, but they shouldn't.
If you're religious (I'm not), missionary work is something you can do with your family. I also have a close friend teaching English in Germany and just allows her college debt to grow (we'll have forgiveness eventually. Either that or she'll eventually get her German citizenship and renounce the American one).
Once you know for a fact that you can coast along for an entire year if things go south, life gets a lot better. You can start consulting and not have to sweat the occasional dry spell. You can build income generating products after work or during those blessed dry spells. You can do all that stuff remotely while dialing up your leisure time activity of choice to whatever level feels the most comfortable.
Better still, with a bit o' Safety Net, you'll be able to demonstrate to yourself that you can quickly pick up contract and full-time gigs when you need them. And you can emit artifacts that demonstrate to prospective employers that they should grab on with both hands if you happen to signal availability at any point. That helps a lot towards being able to bootstrap a product business on the side.
Eventually, after much trial and error you'll find something that sticks. I think for me it was something like Job Quittin' Side Project #6 that finally started bringing in enough profit to replace the day job.
Finally, make sure you're having fun along the way. It's not supposed to be a grueling heads down slog for however long it takes before you finally "win". It's life. And it's most enjoyable if you actually take the time to enjoy it while it's happening.
All the best! Let us know how it turns out.
The benefits you listed, "flexible hours, work remotely, etc"
Are, indeed, nice, but they are actually far more rare than you'd expect. Many places still require 100% "facetime" despite being able to commit & deploy code and take calls remotely, and some that don't require "100%" still will hem and haw over days that you are not in the office.
Not everyone is sitting in an (over)funded startup with foosball tables, a fridge full of beers, young & eclectic coworkers, and happy hours with the coworkers every other day - where as long as you complete your projects by/around deadline, you're happily well-employed.
And most are not in an area that complains over a "dearth of tech talent" and have the liberty to hop from job to job without actively searching, taking the time to interview several rounds, and locking in the second job before leaving the first.
Labor Supply and Labor Demand have upmost influence on these factors, and with thousands of intelligent people finishing coding bootcamps every day, Supply is far outpacing Demand.
The other key (and probably the biggest) benefit you're missing is legitimately coding for yourself with your own. You want to develop a "Slither.IO" type game by yourself with PhoenixOnElixir as an un(der)employed coder? Go for it. Because most of us aren't getting jobs at Blizzard or Riot. You want to build a fitness app in a city with only financial/legal/logistic coding jobs? Go for it! It's an unparalleled learning experience.
I'm surprised to hear that supply is outpacing demand where you are. Where I am (in Toronto), we always have a hard time hiring good people and it seems to be getting more difficult.
Question for you: Is hiring good people refer to hiring good people, or hiring people who pass your exams and interviews?
I'm still recently out of college, but when I first joined a company, our interview questions were more along the lines of Palindrome/FizzBuzz and being able to write good, simple SQL queries. We found out relatively quickly if you were competent for the job, and if not, you were gone.
Now, even MVC/CRUD Apps are asking interviewees to complete Google coding interview questions such as "Implement a Binary Search Tree" - which most of us even just a few years out, have not done for quite a while.
My current contract I was hired to create a new software team, but research wasn't fully scoped out. So the project isn't feasible, and scrapped. I'm now primarily idling, and sitting here just collecting a pay check. I'm looking but the travel time is making it difficult to apply properly.
My last contract I worked 80 hour weeks for five months until I burned out. I loved it. I had a team I loved, a good challenge, remote work etc. I quit that and tried boot strapping a business but my savings were obliterated by an unforseen expense.
So why the hate for 9 to 5? A majority of the jobs I've worked there is so much time waste. Time I can be doing something else, I have a plehtora of hobbies and no time to indulge them. My current contract has no work for me. Two contracts ago I was set to do a python web service slated for a year to a year and half. I finished it in a month. I'm not a rock star or 10x, just it was not scoped out or understood how easy it was to implement. If you're going to have me sit in a chair for 9 - 5, make use of me. Please for the love of all that's holy make use of me. I will work my tail off, and do over time, but let me do in on my terms. Give me something challenging, and let me learn. Now not all 9 - 5s are like this. But I've had more difficulty finding an interesting 9 - 5 versus starting my own venture. Also it seems alot of the roles I've worked projects are no where near properly scoped.
- If I work at my 9-5 8 or 12 hours a day it makes no difference in the money I bring home. You can say that theoretically I will get promoted but there are limits.
- I do not control my fate. Case in point today AFTER I made this post the company I work for laid off 16 people, it's a company of 180 so close to 10%
- I don't want to have an expensive house / car. I just want to financial be able to support myself and my family
- Freedom. Freedom to not work for a day and not have to explain myself. Freedom to travel somewhere and not have to worry about it. I realize the contrary to this, perhaps having my own business is not really freedom. I will still have clients, or people that need things from me.
- Feel less pressure to work longer hours. Worst case scenario, you work 8 hours a day, your boss fires you because they seem to think you should be working more and you find a new job within a few months
- Allows you to take some time off work unpaid if you wish and travel wherever you want
Of course this all relies on your take home pay being greater than your expenses, but this should be possible if you have no aspirations to own a fancy home/car (I don't really either). If you want a lot of money at the expense of taking on higher risk and likely working more hours with more stress and you think you can achieve this with your idea, then I think starting your own business makes sense.
1. Security - Over the years, I've built up a nicely diversified stream of income. Sure, some of them slow down or disappear from time to time, but the odds of me losing even 50% of my income overnight are so low that if it happened, it would likely correspond with some kind of catastrophic societal collapse. On the other hand, I've watched several good friends (and my dad) lose their jobs with no notice this year - and often, no severance. If you're like most single people, losing your job = losing 90% or more of your income.
2. Task flexibility - If I start to hate a part of what I'm doing, or if there's a segment of that income stream I don't like doing, I don't necessarily have to keep doing it. I might decide it's unpleasant but worthwhile, or I might decide to move in another direction or outsource the task. There's no boss to say I have to stick with it or personally complete it.
3. The "work in your pajamas" factor - I usually don't, but it's not uncommon for me to work in a golf outfit, yoga pants, or a bikini/swimsuit coverup depending on what I intend to do that day. Depending on the dress code of your day job, you might also save a lot on work clothing.
4. No artificial caps on income - Instead of relying on a boss or HR department to give you raises (often limited by what everyone else there is getting, or some annual percentage cap), I can work harder/smarter and increase it indefinitely. This has worked out very well.
5. No coworkers - Some people would call this a drawback, but I love it. I'm an introvert, and I get more than enough social interaction by joining clubs or taking classes (and I've met a very diverse and interesting group of people in doing so).
6. You can do things when it's most efficient - I do my shopping on weekdays, I drive mostly outside of rush hour, and I tend to vacation mostly in the off-season and shoulder seasons. In doing so, I save an incredible amount of time and money.
7. Greater control over your priorities - Let's say something happens and if you don't take action RIGHT NOW, your company will probably lose money, a client, an opportunity, whatever. If you have a boss, that boss is going to want you to deal with it immediately. If you work for yourself, you can decide whether it's really that important, or if you'd rather enjoy your evening/vacation/etc. and let things fall where they may (and most things aren't as urgent as they seem, so it often works out anyway).
8. Flexibility in terms of hours worked - Yes, some jobs really do offer this, but they're few and far between - and in many cases, a job billed as "flexible" just means the boss wants to be able to use you at any hour of the day. Similarly, most jobs do want you accountable and at a desk SOMEWHERE for at least 40 hours/week and some portion of the business day. Working for myself, I can get my work done in a few hours and then go do something else. Yes, there was a time in the beginning when I worked insane hours, and yes, I've had occasional bouts where procrastination allowed 3 hours of work to swallow an entire day - but on the whole I work much, much less than almost everyone I know (while earning more). Sometimes I feel guilty about it.
9. So much free time - Working 40-60 hours/week, commuting, and getting ready for work takes up a lot of time (slightly more if you're female and you have to dress up). I sometimes go back home to the Midwest for weeks or months at a time and my grandma and I do tons of stuff together because my free time approaches that of a retired person. It's not automatic with self-employment, but it's certainly more possible than if you have a day job.
I'm sure there are other pros I'm not thinking of at the moment, but I get bad feelings just thinking of what it was like to have a day job. It's not for everyone, but for me it's a night and day difference in terms of quality of life.
When my 9-to-5 job became unbearable (long hours, bad management, high stress, etc), I finally decided to resign and give consulting a try. I didn't have a specific plan, and I spent the next 3 months figuring things out while living off my savings.
My backup plan was to return to 9-to-5 if I ever depleted all my savings without getting any traction. Fortunately it never came to that (although it got very close). Three years later I'm earning a very comfortable living consulting and I get to work on super interesting projects with super interesting companies.
I've written more about the experience here: http://www.gkogan.co/blog/how-i-learned-to-get-consulting-le...
Right now doing 9-5 on top of part-time software consulting, mostly WordPress sites with trendy front-end stuff, but with occasional custom-backend and mobile app projects. I've partnered with a local design firm that outsources development and they provide me a steady stream of projects generate a majority of my side income). So far no marketing except for word-of-mouth advertising from happy clients.
I'm on track to do over $50k this year, but I don't think I can scale this any further without quitting my day job. My plan is to score another $XX,XXX project in the near future, stock up on cash and health insurance for my family, and finally take the leap.
My biggest concern is that we're dreaming of building a house in the next 3-5 years and how that'll affect my ability to secure a loan. We're planning on having the land paid off before we begin construction, but I still need to learn more.
Anyone have experience here?
I took a 30% cut on my unemployment benefits so I had no obligation to find work for 6 months. After unemployment benefits ended, I tried to find a bit of investment and also did a KS. Both failed, so I started to eat a retirement plan I still had.
Then I applied for another 3.5 months employment benefits ( was my right ), and I simulated trying to find work.
Then it got really ugly and did some parttime barista work. Sold some belongings.
Then the product got traction: https://mecoffee.nl
The aforementioned employer then began to fail, and so I was extremely lucky to be able to devote more and more time to my business as the aforementioned startup started to ask people to work fewer hours.
Once I hit a revenue target agreed with my wife, I jumped ship: http://www.elstensoftware.com/blog/2011/01/21/going-fulltime...
To lower the target required, I cut pretty much everything apart from the mortgage and taxes.
In some ways I miss the constraint of working fewer hours - I think I had better focus then; these days I do make a few mistakes with where I spend my time.
The first year was insanely though - trying to find clients that would pay what I desired - and I went through severe bouts of depression when Canadian Winter hit. My close friends who knew about the situation told me to go back to employment, I wasn’t cut out for this.
But I went through that trough of sorrow and hit many breaks in 2015 with clients that valued me enough to more than make up the losses I had the previous year. Fast-forward to today and I earn enough from consulting that I spend more time on personal growth and working on my own projects than I need to work with clients to sustain my living.
Everyone has its own way to work on a side project. Personaly, I worked every mornings, before work. Why ? Because my brain was fresher, my spirit less crowded by external thoughts. I could go to work without frustration, with the satisfaction of having worked on my own website. And at evening, I could hang out with my girlfriend or friends without feeling guilty.
It's probably the best decision I ever made. I'll make about 1.5x what I did as a 9-5er this year while I probably worked less hours overall. I work from home 80% of the time. No commute, so much less stress, I'm lucky to have great long-term clients (who I wouldn't have been able to acquire without my previous 9-5 time).
Eventually I want to bootstrap a startup - that's phase 2. I've built up enough of a cushion, even though child #2 arrives in a month. I've got a side-project going on that will hopefully turn into a business. I'm still figuring out how to best transition, because right now the $ is good and difficult to voluntarily turn down.
Mostly a joke.
I have come to realize that 9 to 5 is not horrible, the key is self-fulfillment and happiness. For most people they will be unhappy regardless of the state of finances or work they do.
I realize that even if I have my own business it does not mean I won't have to deal with things I don't like. What attracts me though is the financial independence, having control of my future instead of someone else having control of it.
I haven't truly escaped 9-5, but I'm finally excited to wake up in the morning again.
Of course, such undertakings are a bit risky. After a few months I found my money starting to melt as I wasn't receiving stable income from the new place I enjoyed working in. Doing a bachelor's degree while teaching and working quite prevented me from seeing how this money meltdown would shortly lead to some uncanny situation of mine. So, with about 3 months delay I understood that I'm in another unhappy situation and I should start observing for the new opportunity I was missing.
Here comes a time for some background. For about 3 years I was living with a close friend of mine who is involved with an organization called Camplight--a digital cooperative working in the web outsourcing business. Things were quite great in this company and it was a bunch of sustainable, playful and hard-working people. I wanted to join them since I heard about it, but the lack of experience prevented me from doing so. However, during the years I worked a 9-5 job and switched to doing systems integration, I got quite experienced. Also, I loved to talk with my flatmate about Camplight and the challenges around being a part of a cooperative. And it started to click that this was the opportunity I was looking for.
And that's how I escaped a 9-5 job in about a year and am really happy about it. I'm doing quality software, communicating with valuable people and helping the cooperative grow.
Yes, the market value of the securities and assets may fluctuate day-to-day, but the income doesn't. As long as the borrower is of sufficiently high quality, then there really isn't any concern about the principal getting paid back.
In my particular case, I had saved all my bonuses (both cash and equity) and most of the income from the aforementioned portfolio. I was also fortunate to have held a consistent side job for most of my career.
Lots of times startups have a good codebase, but they are having hard problems with just a few parts of the product: they don't always have a lot of funding, but it's fun to make connections and help them succeed.
Though, it isn't so much "escape from the 9 to 5" as it is "now you work all the time."
Not that I always work more (some weeks are slow, others very busy) but I do find myself having to be available more.
Hah, so true. Although I find working for my startup more rewarding than trading hours for money.
My path is similar to yours, I quit my 9 to 5 job in 2007, started a software consultancy than moved to building my own SaaS in 2009. Since than, that's the only revenue for my family (2 daughters, wife, doing home school).
The stress and lower money at time for sure, but like others said, would not trade this to return in enterprise job.
(to fight the survivors bias)
At the end I actually took one year off, and during that time I learned to code mobile apps and then successfully joined Toptal and work as freelancer. And since I am in Toptal I receive also many freelance job offers from other sides, just because I mention I am their member in my linkedin profile. I was surprised that they have such a good reputation.
Anyway, I credit my success at joining Toptal mostly to the amount of free time I had during the hiring process (which took cca 1 month), so that I was able to fully focus on it.
While working my full time jobs I spent as much time as possible improving myself, rather than succumbing to Sucker Culture. The same applies to high school and college.
In short it refers to letting others take advantage of you.
Saved enough for business school tuition. Hated business school and dropped out. Was left with a wad of cash. Started business since I'd learn more from starting a business than staying in school.
Best decision of my career by far.
Now people only look what I accomplished, not how long it took.
So yea, factories (and factory working hours) are here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Especially when the people in software aren't developing products for you because they have never met you, i.e. don't believe you exist. There are good things and bad things about the homogeneity of SV culture, and outside perspectives, especially from the working class, don't often make it past a seed round.
Makes me wonder how much of it is economic, and how much of it is social.
I'm a consultant but many clients, and especially government ones, in large enterprise IT, insist on seeing you in the office 9-to-5 (well... 8am-to-6pm really, but I digress).
While in the news and especially Hacker News, we hear more about the startup-type businesses, majority of people are employeed in big traditional corporations.
But the rest were 7-3, 12-8 or something in order to make multiple shifts fit.
It's almost always rotating 3 shifts of 8hr(days, afternoons, midnights) or 2 shifts of 12hr(days or midnights).