Morale

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The business of being a Solo ISV

Posted by Pelle October 17th, 2005 edit

John over at Daring Fireball has an interesting piece called The Life, where he talks about the economic realities of being a successfull one man ISV in the Mac world.

It is based around the NewsGator’s recent purchase of Ranchero Software, which apparently has caused a bit of frustration amongst Ranchero Software users.

He mentions many of the hard realities of being an ISV. Like support costs:

But selling software isn’t like selling books. When a book takes off and climbs the best-seller charts, that’s just money in the author’s pocket. Each software sale, on the other hand, comes with incremental support costs.

Read the full story. I think it’s still a worthy business to be in, besides the fact that it does include a lot of work. I also have to add that I think that most of the best software in the mac world comes from Solo ISV’s and I hope they keep coming up with all the great innovative software that we all know and love.

I've quit my 9 to 5

Posted by Pelle October 11th, 2005 edit

So I ended up quitting my nine to five job. In Denmark you have to give 30 days notice to the end of a calendar month, so I actually did it a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn’t write about until today for various reasons.

It became more and more difficult to do what I wanted to do next to a steady job, so it was time to go.

I will be starting freelancing again around Nov. 1. This suits my temprament more. I think it is more honest and transparent. This was my first perm job in more than 10 years and I wont be doing another one unless it is something I really believe in. You know a job with a mission at a company with a mission.

I do have a few things lined up mostly Java (unfortunately), I also aim to put a lot more time into my own projects. If you need an experienced rails freelancer please let me know and I’ll send you my CV/Resume.

Feel free to email me at [email protected] or skype me at berserkertooth.

Thanks to everyone for your kind words and encouragements.

BAP #8 - Focusing on an imaginary 3 year revenue goal

Posted by Pelle September 19th, 2005 edit

Focusing on a large long term abstract revenue goal makes you loose focus and morale. Instead focus on building the first $50K of revenue. Just saw this by Wil Schroter, The First 50 Plan via Ken.

The problem with trying to think in terms of “how do we get to $10 billion in revenue in 2050” is that you lose sight of the fact that your resources are very limited today. Staying focused on earning the first $50K of revenue allows you to concentrate your resources on a very well-defined short-term goal.

This is a brilliant little trick Wil came up with. Following the same logic I was also thinking that a better or maybe earlier goal of $2k pm in regular revenues might be better for a small bootstrapped web startup. For a frugal bootstrapper this may be sufficient to break even. Once you have proven to your self and others that you can make regular monthly cashflow and not just a burst of big sales. This could be an easy metric to yourself. Lets say your $2k revenue comes from 100 sales at $20. That is something you can understand and focus on. Our goal is to reach 100 monthly sales.

Updated, Thanks to Peter for noticing a slight math error.

Finally back to business

Posted by Pelle September 14th, 2005 edit

Today was the first time I had TextMate open for 2 weeks or so, what a relief. We just bought a place and have spent a long time painting and doing other annoying things that were necessary. I’m really exhausted by all of it. I only have a few rewiring things todo by next weekend and I should be finished.

TDC the Danish telecoms monopoly messed me about with the ADSL line. It was installed last Friday but didn’t work because of a dead phone line. It would take them 2 weeks to send a technician to get it working. So I quit my subscription and opened a Cable Modem account, also with TDC (Unfortunately). In Denmark you still have to have a analog phone subscription to have ADSL, so at least I’m saving the DKK 119 pm ($20) I’m paying for nothing. I have never made a call from that line anyway. The Cable Modem deal was cool. I picked the modem up in the local TDC shop and my account was setup the next day.

Now to battle TDC for the moving costs. They charged me DKK 450 ($75) for the move (which never worked). This includes DKK 49 for postage. I’m not quite sure what it was they posted. I fully expect an hours worth of battle with TDC about this. I’ve fought isp’s before and won, so I’m not going to lie down.

Annoyances aside. It is great to finally be back at work. I’m trying to finish the last bug fixes in the next StakeItOut release. No ETA at the moment except for real soon now.

When one is greater than two

Posted by Pelle August 26th, 2005 edit

Bumped into (while web browsing) a very old friend of mine here in Denmark yesterday, who I haven’t seen for 15 years. It turns out that he is also a bit of a serial entrepreneur and boy did we have a lot to talk about. He’s working solo on a new venture right now for the same reasons I am. I hadn’t really formulated it well until last night.

We’ve both come out of some challenging partnerships that eventually failed. These things can tear on your morale and it is easy to get into a period with a mixture of blame and low self esteem. In many ways its exactly like a divorce.

For me to get out of this cycle it is important for me to work completely solo for now. This simplifies things and keeps the noise and bickering of a partnership out. To do this you do need to pick a relatively simple business that you can manage and pull through yourself.

All this doesn’t mean that partnering is bad. Partnering is fantastic if you have a good partner. It is also definitely the preferred way to go, but as I said there are times in your life when partnering is not right. If your new solo venture is successful you may actually want to bring someone in once you have the basics of the business operational.