A day not like any other
Today is a cold winter day. Colleagues I was working with last week are at work. Except I’m not there, sitting in a coffee house in front of my previous company building, brainstorming names for my yet-to-be-created company, checking out freelancer profiles on oDesk, and thinking about what I’m going to do.
I do feel like I’m going to explore new territories. Leaving my old job behind, job security, colleagues, problems to scale web applications to millions of people, my city and country of adoption. Now it’s going to be more about marketing, finding customers, selling, copywriting, managing freelancers, and maybe a little bit writing code.
About to turn 29 soon, I have the feeling I made the right decision at the right time. No mortgage, no kids, I’ve saved some money in the bank for the past 3 years to prepare for such a change. I feel ready though at the same time grossly unprepared for what awaits me. People are surprised that I don’t have yet a concrete idea of what I will dedicate my next year, that I don’t have yet customers ready to buy stuff from me.
What’s the worst that can happen?
We routinely hear that 95% of software businesses fail. Even though, what’s the cost of failure? What is there to lose? Tim Ferriss famously asked the question:
I think this question is very important to ask yourself when you consider making a change in your life you’re afraid of. Indeed, what’s the worst that can happen in my case? Well, I guess what I’m about to do could not work, and that I could lose a bunch of money in the process. That, and maybe people looking down on me if I fail (hey, this is Europe here). Then I’ll be able to take a new job next year, and I would resume things where I left them today.
Is that really all there is to lose? Wait, I think I can handle that! On the other hand, what’s the worse that can happen if I don’t do that? That as I grow older, I will have less and less opportunities to make the big jump, and one day I will wake up and regret that I’ve not been brave enough to do what I wanted to do, that I was always waiting for the “perfect moment”, rationalizing to continue working at a corporate job.
Instead of that, I’ll get to work on what I want to work on, decide on new directions and new projects, and generally being in charge of my destiny. This is a very empowering feeling for me.
Starting a new business as a learning experience
I’m not looking to strike it big and make lots of money right now. I’m looking at this jump to the entrepreneurial side as a learning experience: I’ve wanted to start a company for some time, so let’s see how it actually works, and whether I will like it or not. Maybe I’m not cut to work without colleagues in the same office? Maybe I will prefer to work on exciting stuff rather than being the jack-of-all-trades you need to be to run a business? I’m in it for the learning, and the feeling that my actions have a direct impact on lives of others. All the other things (money, success, etc) will be a by-product of this experience.
And now, let’s go to my home country where I’ll start this business: France.