My First SaaS… started with a car crash

Not a stock photo! My ATOTO Android stereo dashcam was rolling

[Insert cliches about “realizing the important things in life” and how we should focus on “living in the present” here]

In all seriousness, it took a close call to remind me that life is fragile, and death may come earlier than expected. I didn’t want to die with regrets that I hadn’t tried hard enough to pursue my dreams.

And it was that experience, which put me on a trajectory to start HostiFi, a cloud hosting platform for UniFi controllers, now serving over 100 paying customers.

November 17, 2017

I was in a side impact collision in which the left side of my head went through the driver’s side window of my 1996 Toyota Corolla after I was hit by an SUV traveling toward me at around 40mph.

I was taken to the hospital by ambulance. The other driver in the accident was uninjured.

The next thing I knew I was laying in a hospital bed, in a neck brace. The entire left side of my face was swollen, and I had some minor cuts on my head from the broken glass. I couldn’t move my jaw or open my mouth due to the swelling.

I was fine though, for the most part, and not in too much pain, but anxiously awaiting the results of my brain scan.

It was there that I really faced my own mortality at age 24

As I lay there I considered the possibility that my brain was swelling and may require surgery. I said my prayers, and I contemplated my life so far.

And… I felt disappointed. I felt I had achieved less in life than I believed I was capable of. I hadn’t truly pursued my dreams. I hadn’t pushed hard enough to become a better version of myself.

I didn’t have many regrets about what I had done in life, mainly just about what I hadn’t done yet.

I always thought there would be plenty of time to do more later… but now I had to consider that it might be too late.

Thankfully, I pulled through without any lasting injuries

It took several hours for the scans to come back and the doctors finally cleared me to go home.

My girlfriend, and love of my life, Emily was there to rescue me and drive me home. It was absolutely terrifying being in a car again, but I tried not to think about it.

A Renewed Focus and Sense of Purpose

In the months after, I felt an incredible drive to fix those regrets I had, and that came with an intense sense of urgency.

It also brought a certain fearlessness, which I attribute to both caring more about people, and less about what people think of me at the same time (if that makes sense).

I set out to work on some of those dreams I had

I wanted to master day trading

I had a renewed interest in this hobby which always fascinated me. After the car accident, I read several books including:

All of which I learned a ton from and highly recommend. I’m a big fan of Timothy Sykes, Tim Grittani, and Steven Dux as well. I’m definitely still an amateur, but I think this will be something that continues to draw me from time to time.

I wanted to learn more about business

I had a renewed interest in entrepreneurship and began reading more books and listening to successful founder’s stories.

I wanted to become a better writer

I’ve always admired people who are good at writing. It’s a hobby that is very similar in a way to programming. You really can’t get better at writing or programming by reading about them. You have to write in order to improve at it. So I started writing more, and worrying less about whether it looks good or not. You have to start somewhere. I’ve written over 15 blog posts this year.

I wanted to become a content creator

I’ve always wanted to start a YouTube channel and make tech tutorials. I purchased a fancy microphone and camera years ago, but I worried about looking stupid, especially for the whole world to see. So I put it off, waiting for that perfect time when I would be good at it. But because I hadn’t practiced, that time never came.

After the car accident, I was finally able to overcome my fears and self-doubt, and I made my first (terrible and embarrassing) YouTube videos. I started 3 YouTube channels this year — my personal channel, HostiFi’s channel, and MSP Journey, a pre-HostiFi startup that I have since neglected.

This year I’ve made a total of 8 YouTube videos and I am working on several more. Just like writing, you have to start somewhere.

One of my videos received over 5,000 views and I was able to help a bunch of people with a tricky VeraCrypt update.

I wanted to build a recurring or passive income

So I transformed this (my IT services business/non-recurring income)

Into this (Managed services/recurring income)

And then pivoted to this (SaaS for MSPs/recurring income)

Before HostiFi, I also briefly worked on developing a Python course for beginners, but haven’t finished it yet (Content/passive income)

And started working on an MSP community (Affiliate/passive income)

I wanted to teach, help, and inspire others

So I’ve been writing posts like this to encourage people to believe in themselves and push harder to make their dreams a reality. Because of my writing, content creation, and business pursuits this year, I’ve been able to connect with many like-minded friends and great mentors.

Closing thoughts

What are your dreams? Think of things you’ve always wanted to do, that one business you wanted to start because you know you’d be the best at it, hobbies you wish you’d spent more time developing? Maybe something totally different.

What will you think of when your time is up and you reflect on your life? Did you do enough, or will you wish you tried harder at something?

Go do those things, quickly.