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Starting up

  • productivity, starting

I quit my job 3 months ago. The job I quit was a good senior development job, one with a company with big ambitions & full of great people. I’m a web developer and I want more.

Quitting is the easy part

I always thought that making the decision to quit would be hard, but honestly, when it came to it, it wasn’t very hard. People have been saying that I’m brave. I can see how it might appear that way, yet I don’t feel it.

Once I’d worked out it’s what I wanted and that the risk wasn’t huge, it wasn’t scary. Realistically, the worse case scenario is I don’t get any clients/work and I have to find another full time job. The hard part is making it work.

Why Quit?

My main reasons for quitting were positive. I want a new ambitious challenge for myself. I want to learn new things.

Of course, like in any company, there were negative reasons for leaving. I’m confident these would be pretty typical of a lot of developers feelings working in small businesses.

I knew I wanted to try and set up a small business one day. I think I get that from my Dad who, although not particularly entrepreneurial, has, for as long as I can remember, worked for himself.

I like the idea of small businesses done right because they can be so efficient and can produce great things at the same time as not compromising how they treat their members.

If I was going to do/try this, there would be no better time than now!

Start Small (but do start)

For me, starting small was ideal, cheap and pretty much risk free. My previous employer allowed me to cut my days down to 4 then 3 days a week. After a while, it was clear that it’s what I wanted to do full time.

I understand that not everyone’s employer allows their staff to cut their days to 4 days a week. But everyone can use some evenings to focus on side projects, it -just- requires commitment.

I starting by building a few personal/family applications, then moved on to tiny paid jobs, then bigger paid jobs when I had more time, and finally “proper” paying clients. All developers can do those first few steps.

Focus

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s easy. You need focus, commitment, and enough drive. Once I know what’s right for me, I often choose to allow circumstances to drive me on, get me inspired, focus me in. I hit my 30th birthday recently, that was a milestone that I decided could spur me on to be ambitious and set targets for my next decade. The negatives at my previous company also probably spurred me on to make things happen.

Negatives

Fewer people, different stress.

In previous jobs, I used to sway between being to stress about not meeting deadlines that were imposed on me and not caring about the fact that I couldn’t.

The stress now isn’t so much about delivery because I (more or less) know my delivery capabilities, and that if things do deviate from the plan, I can have an open conversation with my client about it. The stress now is more about will there be another job after this one to pay the bills? So far, so good on that front.

So

I guess it’s not for everyone, but it’s been really great for me, so far. More productive, more inspired, more satisfaction, more potential, more learning, more focus, fewer distractions, more time with family.

All I can suggest is start something.