After that I took a break and lived day to day. I worked pretty much all day and night for months and it felt so much better than working in tech. For example, I would flip cars by buying broken ones and fixing them, I built a table and sold it at a flea market, I drove for Lyft, I drove for Doordash (which by the way was great for getting me out to see new places since I'm a bit of a loner. I'm serious, it was good for my mental health). I started work on a patent for an invention I intend to sell. I learned how to use Blender to create 3D models so I could 3D print a case for the afformentioned invention. All while being high as a kite whenever I wanted (and it was safe, of course).
So when this last job didn't work out I wasn't nearly as afraid. You know, I've basically been pretending anyways. Like that meme of the dog in the house on fire. But being a programmer and making more money doesn't magically make me happier.
Right now I'm flipping cars again. After I flip a few I'll drive for Lyft. My long term goal, the only one that matters, the only one that is going to get me into the life I want, is completely unchanged. In fact, hustling like this lets me optimize for bootstrapping a business with my invention. I'm not afraid of failing. Ill get up and try again. There's no point in pretending anymore. I want a better life than this. Programming is not going to get me there.
If you wait until you're financially ready you might be missing out. Part of dropping the golden handcuffs for me was living with less. I wasn't living sustainability anyways and it was better I dealt with it before I got too old and found myself unable to deal with the change.
- getting local supporters. This will be useful for bootstrapping the Kickstarter
- gorilla marketing. Basically just think of how to promote the product in low cost high impact ways.
- traditional marketing like google and facebook. Maybe a couple expirements and demographic research before going all in on a campaign
- do the Kickstarter. It'll be a modest Kickstarter. My goal at this phase is to have a successful Kickstarter, not to make money.
- if Kickstarter succeeds fulfill the orders
- Turn it into a business or maybe just a passive income. All I'll have to do is order more boards and cases if orders for the product come in. Plus, the patent itself will be worth something.
What do you think? Does it sound doable? Too shy for Kickstarter? That seems like too small of a thing to hold you back.
In short, it's worth taking a pay cut for a less stressful, more enjoyable job, provided the pay cut doesn't introduce another avenue of stress into your personal life.
Learnt an incredible amount from it, not least how punishing physical labour can be (demoliton, being the first and probably least-skilled job on a project, made up most of the hands-on work I did — the rest was left to professionals).
I’m not a founder (yet), but now working at an early stage startup, I’m finding so much that carries over to the business of tech. Assessing the market potential of properties available for auction, the poker game of the auction itself, making profit projections on the back of extremely shaky estimates of the time and resources needed to complete a project, the difficulty of scheduling myriad interdependent tasks, to be carried out by a small army of subcontractors.
On that last point, an especially memorable lesson was learned after uncovering hidden structural instabilities that needed immediate repair (huge cracks in the back wall of a 100 year old row house, caused by an undersized window lintel, covered by a suspiciously low false ceiling — I’m sure there’s a lesson in there about hiding mistakes). Dealing with the cascade of jobs that had to be rebooked was extremely instructive in the need for slack in a schedule.
Clear specification is another thing I now value highly. I taught myself to use architectural CAD software in frustration at a number costly mistakes, which traced back to misinterpretation of imprecise verbal instructions or freehand sketches. Especially when people are proud of their abilities, they’re inclined to read between the lines of the directions they’re given, which won’t necessarily line up with your vision — especially if you haven’t actually communicated that vision.
I could go on, but in short: absolutely no regrets. And something I’ll almost certainly do again, when I hopefully have more capital to work with, and can hire a project manager to execute my vision!
Can you give details like ocean/lake/pond and species?