I recently listened to episode 178 of The Art of Product podcast “Why Build A Business At All?” and it’s had me thinking ever since. I would imagine a high percentage of us at IH are developers and the one thing that we know about development right now is that in most countries, we are very well paid.
So why do we yearn to build a business? Why do we want the instability of managing and generating our own income? Of putting so much of ourselves into what we make?
Building a business is brutal. Even if we “make it” we will have some of the darkest and lowest days of our lives caused by it.
I have first-hand experience of this. Running a manufacturing business for 8 years, that I cofounded straight out of university, left me in perpetual financial limbo, sometimes making a lot, other times barely scraping by. We were featured on TechCrunch, sold tens of thousands of products, and employed a staff of 10 …. and even then we failed in the end!
Losing that business has left a scar on my soul that is only just starting to fade after 2 years.
I’m not that emotional, but telling a room full of staff that it’s over and seeing a couple of burley manufacturing men in their 50s shed a tear was a stark reminder we were losing something special. I’m not ashamed to say that I joined them in that meeting.
And here I am again, back at it with a small info product to dip my toe back in the water.
I just went through my family’s finances ready for two upcoming job changes and I don’t need to do this, we are fine, more than fine!
So really, why do this?
I think I’ve nailed it down to two things, that when combined, drive me to build a business again:
For me, building is a compulsion. I can’t help it. I want to turn something from an idea in my mind to something I can hold, point at or share with people. "I did that!"
Without ownership of something I feel empty, I’ll happily do over 60 hours a week for basically no pay if I know that I get to reap the long-term value of my labor. Trading time for money with a salary feels like resetting at the start of each month, someone else gets to realize the long-term value from my efforts.
I sometimes wish I were “normal”. Like my buddies, able to happily clock in and clock out, but my brain's not wired that way it seems.
So that’s why I’m getting back in the game.
If you have time this Sunday I would love to hear your reasons.