Why working on your own might be viable?
When I started learning about options on how to start a business, I thought I had to do a startup. Periode. A startup that has to become big. So I can sell it, make $$, and live happily ever after. I know it sounds a bit stupid. But, Hey, to my defense. Big tech startup companies were the only thing I kept hearing about. I realized that I was listening only to the loudest voice. So with two of my friends, I started a startup idea called Technology Dreamers. But then …
Then I stumbled upon the book It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work written by Basecamp CEO and CTO. I was blown away. Basecamp is a technology company that’s been around since 1999. In 2019 they still have only 51 employees. Yet, they have a relatively large customer base (according to their web site 3 million user accounts).
In the book, the authors develop and highlight the unconventional concepts they are using. How scaling and big teams are not the only way. They explain how most of their team members work remotely from around the world. How they prioritize results over long hours and all other crazy ideas. Yet despite all those unconventional practices, they are successful. At least in my opinion.
OK, so Technology Dreamers will stay small as long as possible. Is that the way?
Since I’m a curious perfectionist, I never stop looking for alternatives. Soon I stumbled upon Lab Rats by Dan Lyons and Company of One by Paul Jarvis. They challenge business assumptions even further. They present alternatives on how to run the business. While reading the Company of One, I realized that I wanted to build a business around my lifestyle. I realized that the easiest way to do that would be by creating a Company of One. Now at this point, you might be wondering:
But you were part of a startup team/idea.
True. But sadly and luckily, our idea had hit a wall. We had the first contact with users, and let’s just say we didn’t see how to proceed. So after a year and a half, we parted ways. Though I didn’t give up hope on my idea of freedom business.
I kept reading Later on, I found Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau. Then I realized that there are entire communities of people that make money in unconventional ways. I won’t deny it. I was a bit skeptical at first. But more I read about it more, I realized why those alternative approaches work. Founders of all those different small companies:
Put the personal customer relationships and business owner values at the center of their work.
I was hooked by this idea. Though I had to figure out what my product was. Sounds a bit far fetched? Yeah, I ask that my self every day. But with Technology Dreamers, we had an idea and then tried to find customers for it. But if I did get anything out of Company of One is how Paul Jarvis started his small business. He first built an audience, found customers, and then started a business. He’s not the only one that succeeded this way. So I said to myself, why not give it a shot.
This very article is part of me trying to build an audience.
An audience to which I provide value. On the long run portion of you might be willing to buy some of my products
So before you consider starting a business of any type, ask your self:
Could I run this in another way? Could I do it with a small team alone or in another unconventional way?
I’m starting my side gig part-time. So, for now, I can do it on my own. It doesn’t mean that I’m never willing to work with anyone on $ ideas. But the product/service that ensures my basic income. I want that in my hands and my hands alone. I’m the one responsible for the success and the life I live.