Two Years Ago and A Quarter Million Dollar Later
Two years ago, I left my job with a very ambitious goal: never work for anyone else but me. This included contract work.
It was real test in self-confidence and determination. But my first month of working for myself was a great success. I was off to a good start. And I’m glad to say that things continued going increasingly well after that.
Here are the details.
With consulting out of the question, products were my only source of income. As you’ll see, most of my products are info-products, packaging information in various formats.
In the last two years I released five products:
- Owning Rails Masterclass
- The Programming Language Masterclass
- The Truth About Event Loops Online Masterclass
- Dresssed – Premium Rails Themes
- Copywriting For Geeks
- And updated Create Your Own Programming Language
I applied a systematic approach in validating and launching each one of those. All became profitable from day one (I describe some of my techniques in Copywriting For Geeks bonuses). But my classes are the ones generating most of my revenues. This is why I have three. When you find something that works well and that you love to do, you crank it to eleven.
I also created a proper company and moved all of my products there.
Those two years also marked another important milestone. I recently crossed the $250,000 mark in sales. While I don’t think this is exceptional, I’m extremely proud of it. Especially proud of the fact that all of it came from my products, that I created from scratch. I’m now making a living entirely with the things I passionately create in my tiny home office and that feels awesome!
I should also note that I took a lot of weeks and sometimes several months off instead of expanding my business. Had I been more proactive, that number could easily be higher. But I made it a rule not get into any business which would take control of my time. And allowed myself to wander without too much guilt.
It’s not that hard
A lot of people will say you have to make plenty of sacrifices to have a successful business. Sacrifice your health, time with your family and everything else. I found that a business is everything you want it to be. So it can be a bunch of sacrifices if you want it to be or it can be something else. That is the beauty of it all. If you want to work more, you can, and you will be compensated. Not by a pat on the back from your boss, but by more money in your pockets and more customers thanking you. It’s up to you to make those decisions and part of what makes building a business such an empowering and scary adventure.
If you read somewhere that you have to max 10 credit cards, gain 20 pounds and work 15 hours a day to make your business succeed, it’s a lie. In fact, my finances are going great, I actually lost 20 pounds and have worked fewer than 15h per week.
The hard part is not the sacrifices, but the change in mindset you need to make. Putting your stuff out there and asking people to pay you money, constantly promoting your stuff, accepting that some will dislike your products, living in the fear of losing it all and occasional self-doubt can be though challenges.
You Can Do It!
Be my own boss and not have anyone dictate my schedule or interests has been my grand professional goal for as long as I can remember. So don’t be fooled in thinking it took me two years to get where I am today, it took me twelve or more.
Twelve years ago, I was unable to get any job as a software developer. Sitting in my room at my parents house, I furiously coded a VB6 application with the intention of selling it. But didn’t know a thing about where to go from there. Didn’t know anyone who knew anything about that either. Didn’t believe starting a business was possible for people with questionable social skills like me.
If you’re dreaming of being your own boss and creating a business too, here are a few advices:
- Start small (give away stuff, open source, etc.) and use your successes to build up your confidence, credibility and authority.
- Start by copying and adapting successful businesses (but make sure they are successful first).
- Your new passions are sales, marketing and advertising.
- Create the best products you can. I promise, people will notice how much you care someday (if they haven’t already).
- Be patient, but determined.
You know what makes or breaks a business? Customers. And boy did I found great ones!
If I have anyone to thank for my success it’s you who bought my products. Thank you! None of this would have been possible without your trust, feedback, patience and encouragements. You have changed my life and I can’t never thank you enough for it.
Most of my customers are now referred by other customers who enjoyed my products enough not only to buy and use them, but who tell others about it. That feels incredibly great!
Or if you're into coding, join my free class on rebuilding a Ruby web server.