What's This About?
This post doesn’t contain any technical details. It’s about my background and recent history. I want to tell you about these things so that you can better understand me. Feel free to skip it if you’d like or rage at my entitlement.
I went to school at a small midwestern school for my Bachelors degree in Computer Engineering. While it was interesting and mostly enjoyable, I truly learned the most from my internship at Direct Supply. I was hired on as a software engineering intern the summer between freshman and sophomore year. I worked there through graduation and then a full year after that. I met a lot of great people there and I learned an immeasurable amount from the people and the company. However, I realized that I wanted to get out. I saw problems with how bureaucracies operate and I struggled with accepting these facts. Eventually I met with my leader and said I was quitting in two weeks.
Two weeks later, I was driving a moving truck 1000 miles across the country to start my own company in Colorado. While this is an extraordinary distance to move and simply start a business, it can be understood by love; my lady lived in Colorado at the time.
To make things more interesting, I decided to form my business around a web application that was built using a framework I had just begun using (Django). Granted, I had been working on designs and the base project for a couple of months before moving, but it was still a big step for me. I had decided I wanted to learn Python and that was that. Thinking back on it, I probably should have discussed it with someone, but I’m happy with the decision.
Fast forward about three months and half of my bankroll, I had a working product, one potential customer, 500 more target companies, 100 unreplied-to emails and over 50 failed phone sales. I dreaded every second that I was doing sales. Even emails were painful for me, but compared to cold calling, they were MF-ing delightful. By the time mid-August had come around, I realized that I wasn’t going to make enough money to do this long term. At that point I decided I’d start to look for contract work.
I began monitoring the Craigslist posts for Fort Collins, Boulder, and Denver every day. I signed up to Olark, Freelancer, and Guru. I had written a python script that would take the results from about 30 different government contract sites, (one of which represented about 80 different governments) and look for industry key words. After a while, I started looking across all cities on Craigslist for potential contracts. It was at this point, I started to make real progress.
Over that month I found the rest of my clients all of which I’m still working with to this day. I ended up with three contracting firms that wanted to outsource their Django work, two modeling agencies, an entrepreneur in the trucks and trailer industry and a start-up based out of San Diego. The first month, I still lost money, but I finally started making more money than I was spending by December. After that, I have had some months that were better and some that weren’t.
This past May, my girlfriend and I moved out to the Greater Philadelphia area for her job. With that change, I decided to change my contracts to work less in order to have more free-time. I’ve also begun contributing to the Django community. I’ve been able to make an immediate impact on StackOverflow and on the IRC channel. However, I’m slowly realizing how long it can take to be able to commit patches to the Django master branch.
Well that’s my story up to this point, sans my personal life. If you would like to know more about me or think I should go into detail about some aspect from above please let me know! All feedback is welcome.