October 2019 marks the second anniversary of when I stopped working for someone else. Two years since I started following my own vision. Two years since I left my cushy job and decided to build together with the people who think alike.
The fact that it’s already been two years, has also made me stop and look back at myself with nostalgy (I mean it!). My friends know that I work relentlessly and hard. However, the moment I realized how much has changed, and how much I have changed, I started thinking and asking myself about things I never had the time to even think of. So here I am, sharing my story. Perhaps I can inspire some of you.
1. What made me leave my stable and very well paid job to start my own business completely from scratch and working almost in the garage?
This didn’t happen overnight. I have thought about it for a long time. I have a family to support, so your sense of responsibility matters a lot more when you know that the future of your kids depends on your decisions. But at the same time, you can’t let that get the best of you. You have to follow your dreams and hear your intuition, listen to your heart and weigh the pros and cons of your decisions really well.
Just kidding! You can’t plan and calculate that kind of decision. No way. But if someone has managed to do it, DM me.
I came to a few conclusions: life isn’t about working for someone else, I felt that something was missing (now that I know what it was, I smile). I wanted to leave something of myself – non omnis moriar, you know. I felt that I wasn’t fulfilling myself, that the place I was working at was restraining me. And, of course, my ego was one of the reasons too!
I was executing someone else’s vision, not mine. I wasn’t creating. At one point, the fact that my life and future depended on a company I worked at started bothering me. I wanted something else, something better, something of my own. The little voice inside my head kept telling me “this is NOT what you want to do in life”. I knew that it was now or never – just like in an American movie.
I managed to connect a few dots in life. With the full support of my family I made the decision to build a unique software house. The goal was to build a company without repeating the mistakes I saw at my previous workplaces. I wanted to build a team of great people that works the way they want in a technology of their choice and have time for their own projects. It sounds too good to be true, but so far so good.
To sum up what was the biggest trigger: my ego which today is more rational than before. But I still love it and I love the lack of fear from the unknown (some say that this is being naive or stupid but I don’t care).
2. How did I feel on my last day of work when I was packing my stuff?
It was a mix of two very strong feelings, but I was very excited! I was looking forward to this new world and new opportunities. I liked the place I was leaving, I liked the people I worked with, after all, I hired them. I hired the entire department of 160 highly-qualified specialists. Yes, I REALLY enjoyed working with them and I had a lump in my throat when saying goodbye to each and every person.
Despite all that, it was one of the happiest days of my life. I was very excited and happy that I was closing yet another chapter of my life and was wandering into the unknown. Honestly, I was a little scared of that decision too, but if you let fear take the best of you, you won’t achieve anything.
3. What did I feel when I woke up the next day and realized that I don’t have to rush out the door for work? I left my team, projects, the company…
There was no drama at all! I woke up pretty happy the next day with a smile on my face. I was free and independent. I didn’t have to get in the car anymore and clock in at work, do my tasks at work just because someone was paying me for it. All this also felt a bit weird but I ignored it. Little did I know what the future held for me. Ignorance was bliss!
The feeling when you get up in the morning and don’t have any ties that bind you. What you want to achieve is completely up to you. The fact that I felt it was going to be hard and stressful only got me going and didn’t make me give up. I wanted to work hard and give my all, but had no idea how hard things were really going to get.
4. Did I have some super plan up my sleeve? Or did I just want to leave it all?
Of course there was a plan. At first, I even managed to follow it. But you know the drill – even if you have plans, they usually change. And it was the same in my case. The whole plan came down. A change was needed, an ability to adapt, a different approach… so I needed to change the plan. When you do something for the first time, you usually don’t know if you’re doing it good or bad, you’ve never done it before so you can’t predict everything, you’re not ready for things. But I learned how to adapt to the situation, and changing plans is rather an inseparable part of the…plan.
5. Do I regret leaving my job?
Hell no! And I will never regret it.
I exchanged the comfort zone into something unknown, something new, somewhere where I have never been. I fell in love with the process of creating from another perspective. This gives me energy to do more. And since I’m a positive person who looks on the bright side of life, I didn’t have that mixture of feelings – fear, sadness, or even overthinking whether I made the right choice. It just wasn’t there. There’s no place for that. If something goes wrong, I learn my lesson and move on.
Not moving forward and thinking of the past is … a waste of time. You have to draw conclusions, because making the same mistake twice is not a mistake anymore but rather a conscious move.
When I was younger, I didn’t know what learning from my own mistakes meant. That was because when you work for someone else, you just don’t feel that huge sense of responsibility for what you do. Running your own company and being responsible for the life of the people you work with, for their motivation, input, mistakes, success, learning from mistakes has a whole different meaning. Rings a bell?
6. Difficult situations during these two years. There were quite a few of them. But what really gave me a hard time…
Someone once said that your success is measured by the amount of failures. We assume that successful people had it easy, but it’s not like that. I had many failures on my journey, a lot of stress and there will be some more for sure. But there’s nothing bad about it – you fail and you learn from it to become more experienced. I’ve thought about returning to my comfort zone to where I used to be and just leaving it all behind – that’s what happens when things get really bad but the answer was always – never.
Running a software house means working with B2B clients and that my business is dependent on another business. As we all know, things aren’t perfect in business. For example, at first a client is up for long-term cooperation. I complete a team of senior developers (yes senior!) who are excited and ready for an awesome project and want to start working. At that same moment.. The client resigns. That’s when you somehow have to stand in front of your people and tell them what the situation is. Not everyone wants to stay and that’s understandable. That’s the hardest part.
Another huge challenge in this almost 2-year adventure was completing the team. And by “team” I don’t mean just any team, but a team of Senior Developers. More important, a team of people who like to work with each other, mentor each other, be honest, have the courage, and are able to create their own projects. A-team that feels the vision of LemonUnit.
Such team is the heart of the company, and it is me who works for them.
My duck face isn’t good enough so I will never be an influencer, but if this story inspires someone to say, just like me that day “I’m leaving to do my own thing!”, then trying my skills at copywriting was surely worth it.