This post was migrated from Justinโ€™s personal blog, 'Codethinked.com.' Views, opinions, and colorful expressions should be taken in context, and do not necessarily represent those of Simple Thread (and were written under the influence of dangerous levels of caffeination).

You should probably be warned ahead of time that this post is devoid of any technical content. I want to try and share my experiences getting my startup off the ground on a fairly regular basis and this post is the first entry towards that goal. I hope that people will get something useful out of me sharing this experience, and I hope that if you have questions you’ll ask them in the comments or shout at me on Twitter.

As you probably already know, I started working for myself last week. It didn’t really feel all that different, especially since I am still spending half of my time working at the same contract I was before I started this adventure. That is great though, as I love the client that I am currently working with. For the current time frame I am alternating between working 2 and 3 days per week on my own project, while working 2 or 3 days with my client.

Last week I started out with a three day week working on my own stuff. It was nice because I had a bit of a list of things I needed to get done. Some technical, some business related.

On the business side I wanted to get Quickbooks setup, and I also wanted to find an accountant. Getting things straight on the business side of things was a top priority on my list, since otherwise I wouldn’t be able to sleep well at night. I tend to worry about those sorts of things. Having an accountant that I can go to and ask questions, and who can look over what I am doing with my financials is extremely important to me.

From a technical standpoint, I also had a few goals. My main goal was to become more organized. I had already been working for a little bit on my project, but I hadn’t really accomplished anything. I had mostly been doing a little proof of concept here, writing some test code there, but nothing that I could really use. And that is probably a good thing since most of it wasn’t written with any organization or testing in mind.

My goals were as follows:

  1. Figure out what I could cobble together of the work I had already done – That ended up being basically nothing. I ended up rewriting all of it, and it is now considerably better and pretty well tested.
  2. Figure out what I actually had to do – It is important to start cataloging all of the items that need to get done. My list is a bit daunting. It is still early though, and I have a good ways to go.
  3. Get my source into some hosted source control – I hadn’t yet put any of my source into source control, and I knew that I needed to get that done right away. Since I like Github so much, and I work with it regularly, I got a paid Github account. I ended up getting a regular account, and not an organization, because I don’t feel like the added benefits would get me anything right now.
  4. Get a build running – I wanted to get an automated build going, especially because I now have some integration tests which need setup. Automating these tests needed some code around it. I decided to use Ruby, Rake, and Albacore in order to automate my .NET builds. If you’d like to see how to get this done, go check it out here. When I implemented it, I opted to just use MRI (normal C Ruby) instead of IronRuby. It all works pretty much the same though.

Overall my first week was great, I felt like I got quite a bit accomplished and I am already getting a bit impatient with finding more time for work. I am losing some of my evening hours since I am also trying to get a presentation done that I am going to be giving at local .NET user groups in a few weeks, so hopefully I can get that knocked out quickly. I’ll be putting up a post about that soon. Once that is done I’ll probably start working on an upcoming TekPub series that I will be releasing. Be on the lookout for that in the next few months!

5 Comments

Donn

Hopefully you’re using the online version of Quickbooks. If not, I highly recommend it. Then find an accountant who’s technically savvy enough to log in with an accountant login id. This will save you a ton of time in the long run (I know, I’ve been down this road). ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck!

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Dean

Hi Justin, I wanted to share this with you, just for the sake of it if anything else…

I once met a very successful business man. He had dropped out of school at 16 and owned a road construction business. He said to me that I should have no problems doing well for myself eapecially with my education(which isn’t anything special really but his point was it was better than his). He then told me there was one major problem though and asked me to hold out both my hands. I was a bit confused and he explained to me that my earning potential was limited to my 2 hands – his advantage was that he has 20 people employed in his company – that’s 40 x earning potential. I’ll never forget it. Also recommend emyth revisited – great read.

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