Greener Grass

Last Friday marked the end of week one working for myself.

I thoroughly enjoyed my three-and-a-bit years at Realmac Software but in my last few months I knew that the time had come and I would soon be moving on. But where to?

Whilst a number of companies are doing interesting things at the moment, I knew in my heart of hearts that if I could do anything, I’d go independent.

Some product ideas stick with you for an evening, but by the time you wake up the following morning you’ve no recollection of them whatsoever. Others keep you up at night and remain in the back of your head for months, if not longer, slowly churning away. I’ve had a number of the latter churning away for a long time now and I want to see if I can make something of them.

Going independent isn’t a decision to be taken lightly, even if you already have an income source outside of your day job. If you haven’t, the income-less months before your product ships will take an even heavier toll on your bank account. You’re waving farewell to stability and confidence in the knowledge that when the end of the month rolls around you will receive a set salary from your employer. With all of that risk comes a great reward however: the freedom of being your own boss and the ability to work on your own ideas.

To me, the risk is worth the reward. Thus my investigation into whether or not this could be remotely feasible began. I despise being indebted so if the answers to these initial questions had been too negative, this ambition would have been a nonstarter.

  • Do I have an income stream outside of my day job? None worth mentioning.
  • Am I responsible for the wellbeing of another human lifeform (wife, children etc.)? Not human, the dog needs feeding though.
  • Do I have enough by way of savings to pay the bills until I estimate (generously) the product will launch? Yes.
  • When I reach that point, will my bank account be obliterated? Not entirely, it won’t look good though.
  • Have I validated the main product idea I’m going to be working on? Yes.

After more research, thought, and conversations with family members who will be affected by this move, I emailed Dan (the founder of Realmac) on the 30th of June 2016 at 2:41PM to say that I wished to leave the company at the end of July.

That was the point of no return.

One of the upsides of Realmac being a recent convert to the fully remote office movement is that I’m fortunate enough to live somewhere I want to live, not somewhere I have to live because it’s near the office. As there was neither need nor desire to relocate, that’d be one less expense and stress. Dan gave me the option of purchasing the company hardware I was using or sending it back. I chose the latter meaning I didn’t have anything that needed shipping—one less thing to do. Finally and most importantly, all files of importance are either in Dropbox or GitHub so I just had to make sure my final bits of work had uploaded and I was ready to have my access to the team accounts revoked.

After a two week break at the beginning of August, I got stuck into this new chapter. I’m entering it as I mean to continue: a successful day will be measured by what got done, not how many hours were spent in front of a screen, and unless something mission-critical happens (unlikely before initial launch) I won’t feel any obligation to work on the weekends.

I am under no illusion that this journey will be without its fair share of hiccups, stresses, and unwanted obligations but I have loved every second of week one.