This might surprise some people who have been following my progress with Snip, but after about 1.5 years of self-employment, I’ve decided to get a job. I’ll explain why.
I guess I’ll explain first why I was anti-job for so long. I plan to retire at a relatively young age, and the way I intend to do that is to grow a business to the point where I can either sell it for a lot of money or delegate daily operations to someone else. I’ve taken several stabs at building that business, and they’ve all flopped except my most recent try, Snip. I can tell that Snip has the potential to earn considerable revenue (right now it’s earning just a trickle), and I plan to stick with Snip for the long haul, since I see no reason why I can’t grow revenue from what it is now to something significantly greater.
For a long time, I considered working on Snip to be fairly incompatible with working at a regular job. Growing Snip required going out and meeting with stylists and salon owners so they could help me make sure I was on the right track. Meeting with salon owners was also necessary in order to make any sales. I actually did have a regular job for the first six months of Snip (January to June 2011), but I didn’t get much done except coding, and you can’t grow a business by just coding. When I got the ax in June and went freelance, I had a lot more availability to meet with my “domain experts” (stylists and salon owners) and to go on sales calls.
Up until now I’ve had just one way of selling: to drive around to salons, walk in, and try to sell Snip to the owner. It was time-consuming, but it worked, and it was the only thing I could think of. I knew that I would eventually have to come up with a faster way to sell, but I figured I’d rather stay with this slow-but-sure method than risk switching to some faster method that didn’t even work. I did this for a long time, like a year, and it probably wouldn’t have been possible if I had had a regular job at the same time.
So that’s the main reason I’ve been anti-job for so long: getting a job would have interfered with Snip so much that it would have been equivalent to giving up on Snip, which would have been equivalent to giving up on early retirement, which would have been equivalent to sitting at a desk every day until age 65, which is about as appealing to me as crawling into a coffin.
What’s different now? I’m at the point now where I think it no longer makes sense to stick with the slow canvassing method of selling. I have a decent number of customers (three) and I’m confident the product is solid and I don’t see any reason to wait longer before switching to a faster method of selling. Instead of sticking with the “high-touch” sales I’ve been doing, I think I need to figure out something “low-touch”, where salon owners just come to the website and sign up for an account on their own. Conveniently, I think the work involved on my part for that can be done 100% on the computer, on my own schedule. So I don’t have so much of a need anymore to have a very flexible schedule.
I also had a misconception when I first started freelancing that being self-employed would afford me more time to work on Snip than if I had a job. I naively thought I could work 20 hours per week on client work and 20 hours per week on Snip. This conception turned out to be comically flawed. It’s not really possible, at least in my experience, to control that finely the amount of client work you do in a week. And it takes a lot more than 20 hours per week of work, at least with my current level of consulting skill and earning power, to support a family. I’m finding that it’s actually just as hard and just as time-consuming, again, at least for me, to earn a decent living as a freelancer as it is to have a regular job. If it’s just six one way and half a dozen the other, what’s the point?
So I’m making a deliberate effort now to find a job. I have a few requirements, in no particular order:
- It has to be a job with a products company, not a services company
- It has to be a job working with Ruby or another language of that caliber, like Python or Lisp (not PHP)
- It can’t be a job working with Microsoft technologies
- It has to be a job where I can work from Grand Rapids, meaning it’s either remote or in GR (somewhere else within a few hours’ drive, like Chicago or Ann Arbor, is not entirely out of the question, but GR is strongly preferred)
- It has to be a certain salary
I don’t really need a job, so I can afford to be pretty picky. If anyone knows of anything that might match those requirements, any info would be appreciated. My email address is email@example.com.