Why I’m trying to be self employed is an important question to answer in these early days.
It’s hard to tell whether quitting the 9-5 this early was premature or not.
I’ll never have this few responsibilities. But I could always do with more experience.
It’s tricky. It will be years before I know if this was a good decision. By the time I realise it will be too late to adjust.
I’ve written the reasons I’ve found in the last two months why I think it’s a good decision.
Why I’m trying to be self employed:
Control of my day
Having to be certain places at certain times. It picks away at my happiness.
Knowing I have to be in an office for a fixed period doesn’t work for me. It’s not even the mornings I struggled with. Showing up was bearable.
Being trapped until the clock said I could leave was the killer.
If I was brain dead, I still had to be in my chair working. After a big lunch, this could mean sitting there for almost three hours doing nothing.
A big part of having Streakoid is to remain in control of my day.
I still want a routine. I’ll force myself to work when I don’t feel like it. But that’s my decision.
When you work for someone else, they decide the rules for the workday.
Control of my work
Building Software is a creative act. The problem with working at a lot of tech companies is that you don’t get to create.
Implement what someone else says. Regardless of how you feel about it.
Doing something you don’t want to do is a drag.
It’s frustrating when the people designing what you’re building have never programmed. It’s hard for them to understand how draining it is to build something complicated that you’re not invested in.
Someone else controls what you do, which destroys the craft.
The more someone interferes with your work, the more it ruins the code base.
When you’ve got a messy code base, it’s not fun. Instead of improving your craft you’re just trying to survive.
It’s too difficult to keep the complexity low when someone else is designing features.
With Streakoid I have control of my work. I’ve created a code base I’m proud off. I get to iterate over my ideas until they are ready. Only moving on when I’m done.
Sometimes I’m a bit of a perfectionist with it. But that’s a better problem to have than being rushed.
My development hasn’t slowed down. I can jump to any section and change it. It’s built with 100% test coverage and everything works together.
No one interfered with the craft.
It’s cool to show people software you’re proud off even if it looks ugly.
When you have a business, you have an unlimited upside.
Success or failure is on you.
I like that. So far I’ve been failing hard. Streakoid isn’t profitable. I make no money every month.
But I keep experimenting and keep learning. I know I will crack it one day. When I crack it, I’ll get access to the unlimited upside.
Regardless of how much work I did in a 9-5 job they would cap my earnings. If I was lucky enough to get a bonus which I never was. Someone else would determine that bonus.
How well I can solve a problem for customers is how much I can earn. I enjoy knowing that going hard and committing to Streakoid has a direct correlation to how much I’ll earn.
I realised after working in London that after a certain amount of money it just becomes a nice to have. It feels good on payday to put some money into an investment account.
It’s nice to buy lunch without having to worry about it.
It’s nice being free from thoughts about money.
But to get to that level isn’t that much. For me it’s about £2000 a month and I can forget about it. I recognise that not everyone’s personality is aligned this way. But that’s how it is for me.
My driver isn’t maximum profit.
I just want to make enough where I can continue to live life on my terms.
Now this could be a lie. When Streakoid makes money, I may commit to the Wolf of Wall street life. But based on my experience, I don’t think so.
I want it to make enough for my accommodation, with enough money to put away into a savings account. Having enough not to worry is the aim.
The big over arching aim is freedom. When you don’t have a paycheck. A lot of your focus becomes worrying about money.
What I’ve enjoyed more than I expected is the growth that has come from doing this for two months.
I’ve improved more in the last two months than I did in the year and a half I worked at the startup.
It’s on me to figure everything out.
Some days I’ve struggle. Like today I lost focus and paused my countdown timer to go to relax.
But most of my time taking on the challenge becomes peaceful. I just enter a flow state and before I know it the two hours are over. There’s a deep satisfaction that comes from figuring out difficult things.
There are some cons
It’s not all upside, you become invested in your project. It becomes a measure of how good you are. This is tough when your project sucks. Showing people a shitty piece of software in the beginning hurts your soul.
You have to drop your standard of living way down to give yourself a chance to do this. This is something I’ve trained myself for. I make this easier by not getting tempted to spend money. By keeping my life simple and trying to avoid places where I would spend it. But this isn’t for everyone, it’s uncomfortable.
It’s difficult to work long hours each day and not get paid. Waiting for a day that may never come.
This is the price of an entrance ticket. Drop your spending down to break university student. So you don’t have to get a job.
It’s also isolating. I’m trying to fix that by dropping the number of hours I have to work down each day. To make more times for friends.
Doing anything that isn’t typical comes with a hidden burden of being a bit of an outcast. But I’ve gotten used to this with time.
I believe this is the only way I’ll be able to work from now on. But I still have to figure out a way to make this sustainable. Because I’m running out of money.
I don’t think this is a risky move at all. I’ve missed a salary for a few months. But I know if this was to go south the experience I’ve gained would land me a better job than I had before.
The only risk is not executing the correct way and killing Streakoid.