Monday, June 21, 2004

Less people to answer to but more to please

I was speaking recently to someone who is feeling a bit dissatisfied with their own day job. They expressed that if they had something to go to they'd love to be able to go out on their own like myself.

We had a bit of a discussion about the pros and cons of running your own business. For the past 9 or so years I've been an IT consultant/contractor and although I refer to my major client as my day job, that's really just because I've been with them for so long. My independent status means I'm pretty flexible with my daily work hours but it also means I haven't had a holiday since the nineties.

One thing that I did tell this person was although you are your own boss, there's still plenty of people you have to jump through hoops for. In fact in going from a salaried position to running your own business there will probably be more people you'll have to please as you'll (hopefully) have multiple clients or customers.

Yes you can tell them to "go jump" if you want to but nobody ever does that. At least nobody who wants to stay in business. And unlike a salaried position you won't receive performance reviews and second chances if you fail to live up to expectations. Instead your customers just won't come back and you may not even find out why.

While discussing all of this I was reminded that if my own plans for Sydney are even moderately successful the amount of people I'm going to have to please is going to increase exponentially. At the moment I only have to please about half a dozen clients on a regular basis. A successful wide release software product would mean I'd have to keep thousands of users happy. That's a big challenge for a single developer company to confront and one that I'd have to plan for well in advance.

I'll have to make sure I take that holiday well before Sydney is ready for release.

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