Contract work vs Startup life

How do you finance your start-up or your business?

How do you switch from consulting or contract work where generally you sell your time, to a business where you build a product or an on-lines service and make money off that?

I have been lucky recently that I had a lot of contract work. This means I get some immediate income, but it also occupies me. Almost fully. Which means I only have a few hours in the evening or maybe on the weekends to work on other tasks. Including my business.

During such period, emails pile up. Ideas accumulate. Sometime I feel I have time to do one of the tasks, but in many cases I don't have enough time and things get only partially implemented.

It is possibly worse than not implemented at all as this means next time I have some time I'll have to figure out where have I stopped. Sometimes it is even in the middle of a difficult change.

I guess the solution could be splitting the tasks into smaller chunks that can fit in those spare hours. But then there is the shiny red ball syndrome. I get newer and newer ideas and start to implement them just to let them fade away when something newer, shinier or redder comes along.

Did anyone say ADHD?

Ah no. I don't think so.


But clearly I have too much on my plate. Both as stuff to do and literally. Too much to eat.

Anyway I think I digress. I just wanted to rant a bit on the difficulty both trying to earn money immediately, working on stuff that really interests me, creating things that will have value for me in the future as well.

What to look for in a job?

Which brings me to something I happened to say to a couple of people lately and I don't seem to full implement it myself. When you are looking for a new job there are a number of features of a job that you will consider. Salary is one of the main one. Distance from home - how long does it take to get to the job and get home. The company. Both the commercial entity and the people who will give you company for the next couple of years.

One aspect might be overlooked by many employees and probably even more by many employers.

Every minute you spend at a workplace you also build your resume to be more hire-able at the next place.

So if you learn and use some technology that is used at many other places that will be worth more for you than learning and using something that is used by only a handful of companies or maybe only at that given company. So if you accumulate some special expertise than it is likely that very few companies will value that knowledge, but those will probably value it a lot.

That also means if your company sticks to some old technology that is used less and less in the world, then it will be less and less valuable to people to come to work to this company as (a large chunk of) the knowledge they acquire will not be transferable.

Transferable knowledge

I am not sure where have I read or heard this, it is certainly not my idea, but the point seem quit clear. People will prefer to gain transferable knowledge that they can use at other places as well.

So if you decide to build a library or tool of your own that you keep to yourself instead of using a publicly available one then this knowledge is only relevant inside your company.

You can compensate your employees by providing higher salary but I am not sure that really works.


Anyway, back to my rant. At one point in time I used some time planning in order to help me get focused. To allow me to see progress even when it is all over the place and when it is incremental in small steps.

I started to maintain a weekly plan where I wrote down the task and allocated time to each task. I had to make sure not to try to allocate 30 hours of work on a single day and I had to update the entries as I made progress, but having a weekly plan helped me getting things done and feeling that I am actually making progress.

I guess I'll need to get back to this.

Published on 2016-07-20 by Gabor Szabo
Python, JavaScript, Node.js, Ruby, and more.

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