10 Things I learned from a failed business adventure
This is my story, and what I learned along the way. Going from where I had the world in my hands to loosing everything gained including my health.
Two years ago around this time I made the decision to leave my job, and start for myself as a programmer. My job was boring, and the company I worked for was was in a difficult period so my job was not exactly secure. I have been programming since I got my first computer in 1988 and I felt confident and excited about going my own way and making a name for myself as good and reliable software engineer.
I already had a big job waiting for me and I was covered for the foreseeable future. The future seemed so bright to em that I did not see the dark clouds in the horizon.
I had a lot of projects the first months. I even took on more than I could reasonably handle. During the first year I build an artificial intelligence system for industrial use. A small Operating system in assembly and more sharing economy sites than I could shake a stick at. So many were interested in what I was doing and wanted to work with me. The future was so bright I thought nothing could stop me.
Last summer a year of malnutrition, stress and lack of sleep caught up with me. I collapsed and and everything else along with it. my company fell apart, Customers fled the sinking ship taking my employees and software along with it. When I was able to get up out of the hospital bed I was greeted with lawsuits, unhappy customers and a bad reputation.
So now I am broke, No jobs or contracts because until now my health has been bad. I lost the rights to my operating system and AI.
In spite of all this I am happy that I failed. Some people say I should quit now and get a normal job. But after spending two years learning the hard lessons and having a long time thinking about what went wrong. Those two years would indeed be a waste if I quit.
Here are some of my hard earned lessons.
- Be critical of who you collaborate with. There are a lot of wolves out there. Some people have built their careers out of others work
- When starting a job. Plan it properly and have both parties agree on the scope of the project. Don’t give anything away for free.
- A contract should be no more than 3 pages long and contain Description of who does what , what is to be done and what happens if things go wrong. if a contract given to you is more than 3 pages and contain disclaimers and what if’s. Chances are that you will a victim of some fine print.
- Administration of your company is more work than you think. A 60/40 split between actual work and administration (finding jobs , invoicing , communication etc.)
- Don`t plan 16–20 hour work days. You need recreation , you need sleep. You will make more mistakes and because how our brains functions, work less efficient.
- Take care of your health. Eat healthy, exercise daily, rest when you are tired. If your job is based on your mind having a walk or a run will greatly benefit you. The brain needs blood and exercise get the blood going
- Don`t make excuses to yourself or customers. No one cares about excuses. Just be upfront and do it.
- Communication is everything. Follow up everything. Answer all the emails and phone calls. No one likes to be ignored.
- Be pragmatic. You are not always right, neither is the customer.
- Be polite, keep your promises. Even if someone dislikes you. doesn’t mean that they couldn’t respect you
Now I am optimistic for the future. I am glad I had this experience. I will not give up as it is not in my nature to do so. I hope that my ramblings could be of some help to someone.