On August 20th, 2020 we celebrated our 10 year anniversary in business. It would have been my Dad’s 77th birthday. It’s completely random that our business registration happened on that day, but it’s pretty special to me, obviously. I am going to resist the urge to prattle on about all the stuff I’ve learned along the way, what I would have done different and a bunch of self-congratulations. I’m very, very proud to even have stayed afloat through some really bizarre times in this country, a couple of pretty major recessions, a few non-paying clients and a whole lot of coffee.
The plan was pretty simple. Find some clients that I could provide value to and avoid interacting with all those functionary layers of Dwight Shrutes and Michael Scotts ever again (unless I’m the one calling the shots, then it’s just a sport). That’s a bit of an oversimplification but sums it up pretty well. Finding clients right out of the gate was the easy part. I was lucky enough to have build a nice, solid network of fantastic people that kept me in mind and connect me with clients I still have to this day. I got some good advice from a person I considered a mentor: Let your clients tell you what the software should be, despite evidence to support the contrary (paraphrasing). I’m a bit of a weird capitalist. I have never placed an emphasis in growing an empire. I just want to have a self-controlled, semi-predictable work environment that can provide a comfortable living for my family. It sounds breezy (and HELLLLLA California, bro), but I just wanted to go where the client requirements took me. I’ve always wanted to be easy to work with. I love solving problems and more than that I love helping people.
I come from two self-employed parents, so I guess it was no surprise that I was not destined to be a long-term cube-dweller. Hell, my mom ran her own show as a hair-dresser for over 50 years. I also spent a previous life as a professional in the music business on both sides of the microphone, so to speak. This (and inheriting a willful spirit from my parents) is why I have no problem saying “no” if I don’t want to do something. I try not to wear it as a badge, or be the contrarian pain-in-the-ass, but I’m sure that creeps in sometimes. Bottom line is this: The word “No” is a superpower that not many professionals ever learn how to wield. Again, you don’t have to be a disagreeable crank, but learning how to say no with as little explanation as possible can help you avoid some bumpy roads, once you learn what the signposts are telling you.
Should I do it too?
Far be it from me to be a dream-killer. If you think it’s right for you, get your game on, homie (and homess?). It’s not for everybody, but you do have to learn to manage your stress levels, income, expectations, self, self-motivation, vendors, clients, contractors, caffiene-intake, investments, self-governance, etc. We Americans live in the greatest country ever known to man and I don’t apologize for saying it. You’ll never see me foist my political opinions about individual issues upon anyone in a professional capacity. I just think it’s astoundingly amazing that (for example) a motivated immigrant can take residence in this country and feed his / her family and contribute to a society in a positive way. Under capitalism, you can steer your own ship, drive your own car, build your own empire, whatever you want. Don’t come at me with your corner case examples of unchecked, unregulated capitalism. We all know the stories. Capitalism is indeed devoid of morality (and always should be). It has no more soul than a machine that builds widgets. It’s the people that are everything. The soul, the heart and the brain. Figure out how to surround yourself with good people and you’ll do great things. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Anyway, some of you have been putting up with my random thoughts and ramblings for all 10 of these previous years, and I’m thankful each day that I get to drive the 0.4 miles to this office and work on whatever I want to work on (AND SAY NO WHEN I NEED TO, DAMMIT). I appreciate it. That’s not just a platitude. I genuinely appreciate it.
I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but there’s that big thing still going on in the world, as well as a whole bunch of other stuff that has had my focus. Hoping to be a more regular contributor in the days to come. I’ve been working on some fun stuff for clients, as well as my own personal projects that I hope to share in the next few months.
Anyway, thanks for 10 years!