To everyone currently working a 9-5 job, I’m going to say something to you that might surprise you (although I suspect might not surprise other freelancers or startup founders):
I envy you sometimes and there are days were I dream of quitting and going back to a salaried job at a company.
Guys you have it easy. Really! Look around your office, take note of the people you work with and what they do to make your job of writing code easier. Accounting, Janitorial, HR, Project Managers, DevOps, QA, IT, Marketing, Sales, Account Managers, think about how difficult your job would be if all those positions were gone and everyon
Before I quit my corporate gig I took every position that wasn’t engineering for granted. I took vacation time and having coworkers to pick up my slack when I went on vacation for granted. Back then I didn’t realize that knowing how to build something, while difficult, is a lot easier than knowing what to build.
I took health care for granted, which is why I’m a big supporter of the Affordable Care Act. Is it perfect? No, but it’s a start and it brings real reforms to a dysfunctional industry that chokes small business owners and freelancers.
I’ve thought about quitting but as soon as I do I stop and buckle down. Not because I feel there is shame in quitting, but if something isn’t working, you owe it to yourself and everyone else to quite and do something else (see The Dip by Seth Godin). The most dysfunctional thing in startup culture right now is a macho attitude of “just take it and suck it up.” We need more of posts like these to set people straight.
I haven’t quit simply because, at this point in time, running Anecka is the best thing for me. I get up to work everyday with a sense of purpose and I learn things I would never have learned by in my corporate life. The benefit of being forced to do your own sales, marketing, accounting, DevOps, QA, etc is that it broadens your skills and makes you appreciate the big picture, beyond the code editor.
If you’re planning on starting your own business, whether as a freelancer or startup founder, I urge you to talk to people who have done it already. In addition to building your peer group, you’ll go into it with a healthy expectation of what it’s really like to work for yourself.