I'd like to add that it's quite possible to have a high growth company that does not take on institutional investment. My company is neither a Lifestyle business (I also hate that term, I think it's an awesome thing) or a VC-backed startup, but we have lots of users and are making really nice revenue.
The costs have gone down so much, that I think the reason people still think fundraising is required is because they can't afford to live or hire in SF without it, and there is a lot of pressure by successful investors for young founders to make the "big" bets.
My goal is to have an id software, 37signals, MailChimp, Atlassian, GitHub, Campaign Monitor, etc. kind of company. Now those companies are/were fucking cool. Plus, they've actually stuck around for more than a few years!
I'm seven years in, nice to meet a fellow "lifestyler".
Since I’ve stopped hanging out so much IRL with startup guys, and instead with wider circle of folk, and networking more with "offline" entrepreneurs this has completely stopped happening.
Additionally using non-startup terms like "business owner" (vs say "founder") to describe myself and my company, seems to reduce the friction even when hanging out with the most agro startup guys.
I found this book especially insightful.
FollowSteph3 reminds me a little of Mike from the podcast. While Rob Walling realizes he needs to hire freelancers etc. in order to sustain the business and make it work in a reasonable time frame, Mike took a few solid years to bring in other people. He wanted to do it all by itself. I've been listening to the podcast for a few years and you can see how Rob built one solid business and just launched another one in the same time frame Mike barely did one.
I wonder if this is something that's more common with certain life circumstances.
For example... I'm married and have 2 kids. I had a corporate job for the first 10 years of my marriage. I traveled a ton and completely missed out on their lives. When I changed jobs, it was a bit of a shock for all of us.
Now, we recognize that it's not what we want anymore. I work for a small software company that is ridiculously low-stress, but even now I wish I could spend more time with my family and be a little more free to take off and go camping with the kids if we felt like it.
House and decent education for kids is a major expense.
I have only just started and am about to release my first startup so I'm not at that level yet. I'm hoping to get there someday though.
At least until the next article convinces me to learn more under someone else's time ;)
Do it again, and again, and you'll find that 1. You're getting closer to supporting yourself from it 2. You get a better idea of how to do it again, faster, cheaper
Do you miss the human interaction one gets at the office?
If you are very extrovert, it might not be for you. But how many extrovert programmers do you know? ;0)
Something that reliably grows 25% per year isn't slow, ineffective, or useless. Most people would be thrilled to see 25% annual income growth (or even 10%). It is, after all, exponential growth. But that's a space that no one will finance. These companies are too risky for bank loans or personal funds (for most people) but VCs aren't interested in 20-40 percent per year. What I'd like to see out of the crowdfunding trend is a viable method of financing the mid-growth/mid-risk space.
This space is a natural fit for top programmers, most of whom succeed by continuously growing their capability (measured in value-add potential) by 20 to 40 percent per year-- not being goofy and trendy and hoping to be noticed by Sequoia or TechCrunch, which will probably never happen.
Here are some earlier thoughts I had on this issue: http://michaelochurch.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/gervais-macle...