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.

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Administration of your company is more work than you think. A 60/40 split between actual work and administration (finding jobs , invoicing , communication etc.)
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. Don`t make excuses to yourself or customers. No one cares about excuses. Just be upfront and do it.
  8. Communication is everything. Follow up everything. Answer all the emails and phone calls. No one likes to be ignored.
  9. Be pragmatic. You are not always right, neither is the customer.
  10. 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.

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