What Do I Want Out Of This Business?

Designing Software Together
In a recent post, I expounded on what I can do for you as part of this business. In this post, I want to talk through why I started this business and what I want from it.
For me, this will be some honest goal and expectation setting. I will be honest with what I am thinking now and will talk about expectations that I’ve changed my mind about and why. I know that, at this point, my ideas of what I want are still not fully formed. I’m writing this post as a way of working through this myself. Hopefully the process of laying out my reasons that aren’t fully formed and researching / reasoning through them will be helpful to others as well as myself.
But first …

I’ve Taken a Full Time Salaried Position

I’ve been offered and have accepted a full time position with a previous employer. This does NOT mean that I will be shutting down this business. It simply means that it will take a back seat while I determine fully what I want to provide through this business, why I want to do it, and how to best refine my skills to do so. I will be able to spend some of the time working with this company to help define what I can offer through my company. In short, it is the best thing for my family and for this business right at this moment. You’ll hear more from me here and I’ll be available for small projects as time goes on. Additionally, feel free to contact me and I will respond as I can.
And now, on to the important stuff:

Why Do I Want My Own Business?

I like the idea of having the flexibility to work from home.

I like being able to have lunch with my family, handle errands during normal office hours at businesses that hold banking hours, and being able to immediately spend time with my family because they’re right outside the door.
There is a problem, however. I worked remotely full time for almost two years before we became parents and it worked fine. By the time we started foster care, however, I was already back in the office full time. I’ve found that working from home is much harder for me with kids in the home due to:
  • My expectation of what the kiddos or my wife might need.
  • What they actually need.
I am somebody that likes to please others. This makes me reluctant to keep my office door closed if I hear something going on with my wife and kiddo(s). Resolving this will take a willingness on my side to trust my wife with the running of the household while I’m working (which she’s great at, by the way) and continued negotiation with them to set boundaries that I can trust surrounding when I can work. Given that I was able to trust her while I have worked in the office, I think we can come to a good set of boundaries on this.

I like the idea of being able to work on what I want to work on

As the title says I like the idea of being able to work on what I want to. However, because I’ve worked for companies for all of my career and because I need to take jobs that will pay the bills, I’ve not allowed myself permission to fully explore something that I would like to work on. My hope is that, while working at this current job, I’ll be able to spend some weekends digging into projects that will turn into something useful for you. I still plan to keep exploring and learning Ruby on Rails. Additionally, there may be some projects that I’ll be able to contribute to as part of my current full time work.

I like the idea of being able to work only as much as I want to

As of the moment, my goal would be to work 4 days a week so that I can provide my wife a chance to work her Lula Roe business during the weekend. This is something that will take some planning in order to pull off. I’ll need to build up my clientele with jobs that pay enough that I can choose to work less than 5 days a week.

Expectations That Have Changed

I initially expected that I would be able to sign up for UpWork, pick up some contracts, and start building a enough of a reputation that people would start coming to me with work. During this process I realized how ignorant I was (and still am) about building and running a business. While I am a great software engineer, attempting to wing my way through finding a focus and building a reputation is not a great idea!
As with every person that has never run a company but wants to go out on their own finds out, I expected it to be a lot of work but the TYPE of work wasn’t what I expected. I expected to be able to find lots of software engineering / development jobs that I could pick up easily and focus on that. In reality, I’m finding that I’m having to work on advertising myself and writing lots more than I expected. Additionally I know that I don’t know the further types of work that I’ll have to spend time on once I actually become successful. As such, any suggestions for books/posts to read, courses to take, etc are welcome.

Current Expectations

My current expectation is that I will slow down and really try to define what I can provide for you. This means that my business will not grow incredibly fast but that’s ok because I can provide for my family in the mean time. I want to make sure that I create the best way to serve you that I possibly can.
Here is my plan of attack:
  1. Spend time at my new old job being aware of what I’m good and bad at and what people come to me for. Be aware of people coming to me for non-development tasks and determine if those tasks can be parlayed into services I can provide.
  2. Work to build my skills in areas of programming that I’ve not done before to broaden my experience.
  3. Keep communicating with you through this blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Writing content will, I hope, make me better at communicating.
  4. Be aware of what is going on around me in the tech world and be flexible to change.
Thank you for taking the time to make it this far into my blog. As always, I am open to suggestions and would love to talk with you. Feel free to contact me in the following ways:

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