Here’s a quick summary if you’re in a hurry:
- Worked on two Startup projects that didn’t go anywhere. The team was not really committed
- Started freelancing back in 2019 and immediately got to 15K MRR
- Worked 2000 hours on a Startup project that never launched
- Almost killed my own company in the process (I had ~1K € left in the bank and had to lend it money to keep it alive)
- Wrote a book about TypeScript
- Wrote 100+ articles and gained ~$1.5K
- Self-published two books of my Dev Concepts series
- Launched and started growing this newsletter
- Started coaching fellow software developers
- Started growing my audience on Twitter
- Found the energy to get “back in the ring” and start working on a new Startup project
Some entrepreneurs seem to be able to go from zero to a successful startup in less than six months. But here’s the thing: most of those success stories only focus on the end of the journey. Most of those people have actually struggled for a number of years before they created that last successful product. Of course, there are outliers though.
Looking back at the last three years, I clearly see the mistakes I’ve made. But I’m glad I made some because it means that I’ve learned a lot as well. If we don’t make mistakes, we’re not learning.
In the process, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I proved my resilience, my grit, and my motivation. I’ve learned a ton about entrepreneurship, digital products, copywriting, sales, funnels, marketing, and more. I’ve discovered what I really care about in co-founders, and I’ve met wonderful entrepreneurs from all around the world. People who might very well be key for my future successes.
I consider my entrepreneurial journey as a life-long learning experience. I’m only three years in and still have tons to learn, but I’m enjoying the journey. I’m not taking huge risks because I can’t. I have three kids to feed, a loan to pay, etc. And it’s all right. It’s just slower.
Reality is reality, but we can interpret what we experience in various ways. I could focus on the failures, and I actually do from time to time, but I prefer to re-assess my reality as follows and to look at my path through the lens of growth.
So far, I’ve not failed. I’ve just been experimenting and discovered things that don’t work. I’ve explored an alternative life and went far out of my comfort zone. More importantly, I’ve exchanged big paychecks as a team/engineering lead with a lot more freedom. Freedom to experiment with various ideas and freedom to decide where to go next. And that’s actually key. I did succeed. I have a ton more freedom than in my previous life.
When I started out, I was focused on getting at least as much money as I made as an employee. Now I realize that it doesn’t matter all that much to me. It’s much more fulfilling to wake up, knowing that I’m the captain of my boat. It may be small, but it’s mine. That’s why the steps I now take are all geared towards increasing my freedom ratio.
Now that I’ve taken a bit of time to look back, I’m doing the second part of the exercise: thinking about my next moves. I’m not trying to think too far ahead though. Just like a famous chess player
once said: “It is not a move, even the best move that you must seek, but a realizable plan
Anyhow; I’ll tell you more about the future once I see it more clearly 😂