2nd May 2014: two years after the start of my new life as self-employed man.
I decided to write this post first of all to put my thoughts in order and do some analysis about where I am and how far I did go.
To do so, I chose to use the same format used in the post I wrote after 6 months: the good, the best and the ugly.
Lots of learning
This new adventure in my life was a great growth opportunity.
In my ‘previous life’ all I had to take care was being a good technical person an get to know as much as possible of the subject I was working on.
Now, running a business there are so many more topics to cover, and no manager to tell you what to do!
Some topics I had to get used to are business, marketing, startups, due diligence, finance. I’m not an expert in any of those things but I do have to understand them.
And it freaks me out to see how marketing, for example, is completely behavioral/psychological based. Totally different than the technical subjects I used to master, where logic is king and things are always 0 or 1.
In marketing, people click on a red circle and not on a blue square. Why?! You just have to accept that and deal with it.
One thing I learnt is that everyone is just one e-mail away and is very important to spend time contacting people.
Entrepreneurship is very much opportunistic, hence the role of any self-employed person is to find and develop opportunities.
I sent thousands of emails in those two years, most of them stayed unanswered but some had lead to nice opportunities. Few examples:
- My best success case in website acquisition started with a casual email to the previous webmaster
- Sending an email to someone that post a message on a LinkedIN group, I landed a 6 months advertising campaign
- Contacting the person that left a comment in a blog I landed an interview with the Juniper Networks Certification Program Director
Whatever I do I try to keep enough time to just wander around the web and see what’s going on and who I should contact.
Money comes, money go
I’m making an effort to share here my online income reports, because I want to be 100% transparent about what I’m doing and attract like-minded people.
The “fake it till you make it” stinks. And I’m tired of the bluffers.
I choose to openly share how much I’m making from my websites, and how.
The numbers are not too bad, but:
- I invested money to buy the websites, they are not my project started from 0
- The revenues are not growing, at the moment I have to buy more websites to scale up
Long story short, after two years I’m not where I would like to be in terms of income.
Should I have put this in the ‘Ugly’ part of this post? No, because I’m not in for the money (even if it’s hard to remember it myself, as I’ll explain in the ‘Ugly’ part).
The side-business as WordPress consultant is going well and I grow into it with very limited effort, but it’s a freelancing role, so basically I’m again selling my time for someone else’s project.
This is not what I’m looking to do in the long term. I want to focus on my own thing 🙂
Passion is back
The best part is that I’m in love with what I’m doing.
Seriously, I feel back in the days when I was absorbing everything about computers, servers and networks – the days that built the foundations to my previous career (previous life?).
With a substantial difference.
My first career was built on the fact that I had to find my place in the world and I did so through my passion for technical stuff. I was measuring success with money and material possessions.
This second career is built on having the quality of life I want, being able to manage my time and energy and be location independent. I’m measuring success with the experiences I can achieve.
And best of all, it’s funded with money from the first career 😉
With 12 countries visited and more than a few months spent abroad, my life as digital nomad went smooth.
It does require responsibility and self-discipline, but it came quite natural also and most likely for what I mentioned in the previous paragraph.
My friend Laura asked me: “how much you value the months spent traveling? Don’t say that they are priceless, give them a real money value.”. I came out with 20.000€.
That means that whatever I earned in those two years, I have to add this 20.000€ bonus.
My Lonely Days
Often feels like It’s a lonely life. Working from home and not having anyone to share my thoughts has two drawbacks: it’s boring at times and it provides no confrontation.
I came to realize lately that I really need a partner in crime. Someone that can contribute with real, proven experience and willing to work hard enough for the common goods. Someone that can complement my skill-set, adding internet marketing and sales value to a joint venture.
Hint: do you know anyone?
I already mentioned the struggle to grow my income. That worries me and sometimes I have a “what am I doing?” feeling. Sometimes I fall back measuring success as money and material things and I have to make an effort to reconnect with the things that are really important to me.
I find hard than ever to put balance between fun and work. I know that it sounds weird, at least it sounds weird to me considering that I’m doing lots of things I love.
But really, when I’m in Amsterdam I spend an awful amount of hours at the computer and I do feel unbalanced. I fall in the trap to think that the harder I work the more results I’ll have, but for optimal productivity is often true the opposite!
I have to pick up some new hobbies or get a girlfriend, because my Salsa fix is not enough anymore!
In a way, when I travel I feel more balanced because I’ve the excitement of being in new places and many input to keep my head away from my websites.
And you, where are you going in life?