TL;DR: I’ve launched a new company called Freelance Developer Coach (http://www.freelancedevelopercoach.com/) and we’re releasing our first product November 1st of this year.
The longer version is that I’ve done a lot of startup work over the years, but never something that was completely mine. Last month I started designing a new company with what I considered to be an ideal business model. I wanted something I could build and scale on my own where every piece would be automated so I could build once and sell thousands of times. I knew that I wanted to create something which helps people and doesn’t steal time from their lives with no return in the real world (I’m looking at you Fortnite!).
I was fortunate enough to listen to a Tim Ferris podcast on a long drive where he mentioned some of his principles from The 4-Hour Workweek. One of his recommendations was to ask yourself, “What’s easy for you, but hard for others?”. I immediately thought about hiring and managing freelance developers. I’ve spent the last 6 years very focused on hiring and managing freelance developers for various companies and projects. At first, I thought about creating something for hiring managers like me to manage this process. Then it occurred to me that my greatest satisfaction came from coaching developers on the non-technical skills and habits which made them easier to work with – and more valuable. After all, that’s what I’ve spent years writing about here.
After that drive, I returned home and sketched out the application and the business. I had recently read Disciplined Entrepreneurship after a hearing it mentioned by a guy I really respect so I worked through the 24 steps and made sure I had answers for the 21 which applied to my idea (the other 3 are more for enterprise software). That weekend I outlined a couple of ebooks related to the idea, set up some landing pages, and ran Google Ads. My theory was that if people are interested in the ebook, then they’ll probably be interested in the software. More importantly, if they aren’t interested in the ebook then I need to rethink the messaging, the market, or both. So I launched my ads late Saturday evening to see what I could find.
I woke up Sunday to leads – hundreds of people had clicked through my ad and dozens had provided their email address to get the ebook.
At that point, I knew that I could reach my market with a message they were interested in. Since that was the critical first step, I started planning out the rest and after I completed the financial model I was pretty sure that I was on to something. So now I’m back on familiar ground: building mode. The first release is planned for November 1st, with follow-on releases every 30 – 60 days after that as long as the market continues to indicate interest.
I’ll post updates here at Big Swinging Developer, but there probably won’t be anything until after launch – focus and execution are top priorities until then.