What is Vacation (to a business owner)?
Unfortunately, I've been a bit absent from the blogging, open-source world, and twitter this year (2017), and even in the latter months of 2016. While it seems people have continued to visit my blog (thanks, and I hope you found something helpful!), I think I've dropped the ball here by not giving an explanation...
I have had the opportunity to pick up some solid work as a consultant on my own. After many months of doing that along-side my full-time job, I decided to go full time with that! (here's my new company's site if interested)
As I write this, that statement seems so simple - as though I just woke up one morning and started a company and the entire world noticed and made way... However, I can assure you that it has been anything but. I hope to put down some clear thoughts and start blogging a bit about that in the near future, but here are some quick and unrefined ones on a few things I've learned thus far:
- Juggling multiple contracts is incredibly challenging!
- I have 3 current contracts - 1 "primary" and two that are smaller/secondary. However, the primary one has me working with like 5 different technologies, and one of the secondary ones is on a completely different tech stack than any others... Context switching will kill you - you have been warned!
- Never, ever, be afraid to talk openly to your current employer!
- PSA: If you are afraid to talk openly about goals/dreams to your current employer, maybe that's a clue that something needs to change?
- Not meaning to brag here, but I've been recognized as a "real asset" by every company I've worked for (at least, as far as doing software work... I sucked at sales :). So, when I told my employer that I was resigning in order to start my own company, they really wow'd me by letting me know that they would be willing to work with me as a direct consultant (i.e. business-to-business arrangement between my company and them). They indeed became one of my clients, giving me one of my secondary contracts! I had already signed the primary contract, which is why they became a secondary vs my primary. A good company will work to retain a good asset, even going so far as to help them realize an entrepreneurial dream to do so!
- FYI: The company referenced above is Unicon. They are based out of Gilbert, AZ and hire both on-site and remote software engineers. I honestly cannot recommend them enough! The truth is that if trying my hand at starting/running a business wasn't on my bucket list, I'd likely have never resigned as an employee. I don't get anything for mentioning/recommending them, etc... they've just been that awesome to work with :)
- No lack of motivation here!
- I sometimes see posts/tweets/etc... where people talk about having trouble staying motivated, or can't get motivated in the first place. Folks, start a business! I invoice monthly, so when a new month starts I see a big fat zero ($0) sitting there in front of me. I can't feed my family on zero, so at the start of every single month I'm motivated to get to work and bring that number up!
Wait - wasn't this post supposed to be about vacation as a business owner??
So, now that we've covered the fact that I've started a business and transitioned to working full-time on that business we may talk about being on vacation as a business owner.
This week (Aug 22-30) my family is staying on the beach in Amelia Island, FL. My 3 year old son has never seen the beach and ocean in person, and we're all super excited to be part of this grand first in his life :)
However, for better or worse, I can't put down business-related stuff for an entire week. Hell, I drove about 11 hours down here today and am up writing this while everyone else is asleep... It's that "no lack of motivation" thing I mentioned above.
What's on my mind?
While I'm doing next to zero contract-related work this week, I see many other things I can do to help my business:
- Write a new blog post - at least to let folks know I'm not dead :p
- Look up local businesses in the industry that strike me as interesting, and try to connect!
- While I'm not currently looking to gain any new clients (see the statement on context-switching above!), I'm always interested in building new relationships!
- The [sad] truth is that I've already gotten a short list of 10 such companies together - will be calling them during the week :)
- Maybe spend a bit on one of my NativeScript projects...
- Watch educational/motivational business/financial/etc... material (I know many people prefer books for those things, but I just can't stay into them in book format...)
So, is it REALLY a vacation?
I don't know... I guess it's a vacation from the constant urge to crank out billable hours (which is comparable to the unending urge zombies have to eat brainz IMHO). Maybe there is no vacation from a business - and I don't mean that negatively, I absolutely love what I'm doing and am looking forward to seeing where this goes! - especially one that's still young?
Don't get me wrong - I will be focusing heavily on my family this week. I can't wait to see my son's reaction to the beach and the ocean tomorrow morning! However, there will be work done to help further the business and/or my community involvement - even if it means I sleep a few hours less than everyone else while we're here (which, is pretty normal wherever we are :p)!
Anyone have any other thoughts, or maybe advice from experience? Should I force myself to turn it completely off, or is this just part of it? I'd love some feedback, and honestly I've been so absent from blogging, twitter, etc... that I'd welcome any community interactions at the moment :-)