More Founder Than Freelancer

It’s been 2 years since I wrote on this blog, which is pitiful, because a lot has happened!

In July of 2019 I outlined some goals that included taking my own projects more seriously. Thankfully, I have been able to do that! Since then, my project has grown significantly. It’s been slow growth in many ways, there has never been a defining moment when I feel like I have “made it”, but little but little this “side project” of mine has grown into something much more.

The tool now has thousands of customers and makes most of what I need to earn in a month, which is really exciting. That has always been my goal is to make something that people use and care about and will pay for. The product itself hasn’t changed exceptionally either, but it has been a series of optimizations and decisions over the past 2 years that have enabled the growth and to make it more useful.

The continued growth has enabled me to do a few things

First, I have been turning down a number of freelance projects. While making WordPress-based marketing websites has been my bread and butter for a long time, I’m fine with leaving that phase of my job mostly behind. I still have a few clients where I have built some complex portals for their dealers/customers, but we’ve even begun to think about what those long-term projects will look like without me in a year or so.

It has given me the time to focus on Support and sales do take up a good part of that time, which isn’t terrible, I actually enjoy being able to talk to my customers and find out their pain points and figure out how the tool can be improved, even with sales I still feel like I am refining how to best market and pitch the tool to potential customers. It can be overwhelming to jump into the code at times, knowing that if I screw something up, many people will notice and I could have a lot of angry customers.

Finally, it has freed me up to work on some other side projects. Tally Count, The Vote’s Out Game, Groundwork1, and the relaunch of Simple Estimate have all been possible over the past year because of some additional time I have in my schedule to work on new ideas and side projects.

New titles and transitions

Transitioning out of the “freelancer” part of my job is trickier than I thought it would be. I have built up some great relationships with clients over the last 7 years and established myself as a dependable expert in building websites and apps for my clients. I still have some steps to take to say goodbye to that and hand off some of my clients to others.

Transitioning into the “founder” part of my job is also a challenge. I used to call a “side project”, which is certainly isn’t any more. I’m trying to take it more seriously as my job and knowing that it has a lot more potential to grow. This slower transition has been the ideal way to do it but sometimes I wonder if I am missing opportunities because I’m not spending 100% of my time on the product. Now that I have a successful product, does that mean I shouldn’t work on other side projects any more at all? I still love spinning up new things and toying with ideas, so I think there will always be some aspect of that.

Growing pains are good and show that I am adapting as things change around me. I think its been a good growth process and I’m looking forward to the next year to see how continues to grow and also to launch a few more products.