Have you ever wondered what it feels like to actually quit your job and become an independent developer? To venture out of the cubicle and into the wide open spaces that entrepreneurship offers? While many people have these romantic thoughts, few actually understand the real benefits and drawbacks of this endeavor. Since each entrepreneur takes a different road, each person feels different highs and lows and so the following only attempts to highlight my own experiences.

The Highs

The following is a list of events that literally made me glow while jumping up and down.

  • First conception. Generating a new idea is always fun and being able to immediately start working on it is
    deeply fulfilling. From sketching on a napkin to creating a list of features, it’s all exciting and possibilities are endless. It’s one of the rare times in our adult life that truly make us gitty.
  • Fixing a problem after a trudging through for weeks. Facing long-lived problems that seem to have no solution can actually produce a deeply content feeling in the end. This is because you’ll finally feel like you didn’t waste weeks of time trying to solve the unsolvable riddle, and because now you can move onto something else.
  • Getting the product out the door. No matter how small a product is or how few features it has, the simple act of showing the world your work generates positive emotions. This is because it’s the first time people can see something real rather than trying to guess what had only existed in your mind, which somehow makes us feel like we actually have been working the whole time.
  • Seeing the best in those around us. There are few events in our lives that highlight how wonderful our friends and family can be. For me, making my attempt to be an entrepreneur has been one of those events. People around me try to keep my hopes alive when my are depleted. Oddly, their outreach, more than their words, has made this one of the most enjoyable rewarding endeavors.

The Lows

The following is a list of events that have led to many sleepless nights.

  • Not making any money. This leads to the question,”If I’ve worked thousands of hours and can’t even earn $1, is there really value in what I do? Am I wasting my time? Does anybody really want it?” The stress is increased by the fact that all of these are good and valid business questions.
  • Not making enough money. This is different than not making any money because you’re more stressed with paying bills and planning for the future than whether people will buy your product.
  • Not any or enough support from friends and family. Not feeling that people support you will make you feel alone and like nobody believes in your dream. It may not be true, and everybody may be on board, but if they don’t reach out enough and the project isn’t moving fast enough, you may find yourself blaming the people closest to you.
  • You built it so why didn’t they come? You will find yourself in the clouds after first uploading your first product to a marketplace. Then, you wait about 10 seconds to see thousands of downloads and instant success. Clearly you know this is an unreasonable expectation, but you’ve coded for so long and need a reward sometime soon. When no reward is given, you must admit that there is yet another mountain to climb and deep disappointment settles in.

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