Yesterday I suddenly realized that I haven’t written anything on my blog for the last 3 months. This was really an eye opener for me and I started wondering why I haven’t written anything lately. Was it because I didn’t have time? Or perhaps I didn’t have anything interesting to share? After some pondering over this (I know, why the hell do you ponder about such a thing), I actually realized that it was neither of those.
In May 2012 I struck out on my own, starting my own company called Silver Lining. Ever since I graduated I was always thinking about whether or not to start up my own company. Back then I had the excuse of not having any real-world experience and it would be a big gamble. At that time I was also living with my parents, no kids and no real responsibilities too. But still, I found my comfort in the fact that finding work was not my problem, but my boss’ :-). And therefore I decided to start my working career as an employee.
Over time I switched jobs a couple of times and every time I quit my job or got my resignation due to crisis situations in that company, I started wondering again whether or not to start up my own company. Now, by this time, I did get married, had kids, bought a house and a lot more responsibility. Whereas in my first few jobs I couldn’t care less about not being paid for several months, now the situation was completely different. So, again I choose for the safety of being an employee and having a fixed wage at the end of each month.
But do you see the theme here? The interest of striking out on my own was kept alive inside my all that time. And in 2012, after having a very successful career in an Adobe Authorised Training Centre, things started to get a little tricky. I wasn’t feeling satisfied in my job anymore. I was tired of constantly having to battle upper management for things they didn’t understand or didn’t want to understand. So, after some pondering (but not a lot this time) I decided I should just jump in the water, head first and see if we can float in the world of freelance developers. This is something I had learned from my previous boss: sometimes you just have to jump 😉
I thought: “well, I’m an Adobe Certified Intructor for several years now, have 8 years of experience in Flex, AIR and LCDS, have even written a book about it, made it to Unit Manager of the AATC I was working for and even became an Adobe Community Professional. So I haven development, management and presales experience. That should get me started, no?” And that was the only thing rational about making this decision.
The first few months were a struggle. I found it hard to find the proper projects. I was good in a niche technology, but the downside of working in a niche market is that there is not an awful lot of work to be found. Especially not in the sense of project work for a limited time (because I do like to change my environment regularly to keep me sharp). And because of that, the focus of Silver Lining began to shift. I found a nice challenge as Team Manager to get a derailed ColdFusion development team back on track, so that was combining my management and development experience. Something I completely didn’t plan on doing when I started out 3 months before that.
I really like this job and decided to move forward in that same direction. That is why I enlisted in a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt course; to gain extra knowledge in process and change management and be recognised for that as well. I mean, a lot of these methodologies are based on plain common sense. But you can’t sell that to a potential client. I may be right and I will get the job done, but they are more reassured by official certificates from well-known training institutions.
So, there it is. I started my company to get cracking at interesting small web development projects, and 9 months later I’m deciding to move in another direction. Does that mean I’m no longer doing web development? Not at all! It will still be part of my business, just as training will always be part of it. But it’s just a shift in focus. I know this is a gamble, because freelance management jobs are also rather scarce. But in the end, if I don’t go for it and try it, I will never know!