It takes a lot of courage and passion to build software for independent developer. Almost every software engineer had this thought of building a sustainable product, which would be easy to use and will do the job for its customers and will be the ultimate hobby project that provides for a little family. This usually comes with a notion that it would provide personal freedom to live wherever the author wants, work whenever wants.
Sadly, all these dreams come to software engineers while they sit in their Aeron in their cubicle, two rows from the window or in the meeting, which they are not interested in listening to or speaking at. This wet dream seems to be so distant, but feels very real. It’s easy to imagine yourself in the beach house, sitting on the porch instead of the cubicle, having see breeze coming your way instead of discussion how to coordinate schedule of manual testing of this new product (so that engineers didn’t feel so bad of not writing unit tests). Engineer sits starring at the same fancy laptop charged from the same charger, only on his own terms, on his own schedule, with his own work-life balance.
There are plenty of engineers that “made it” that way. So of them picked beach houses, others travel around the world living lonely digital nomad life or they picked their favorite coworking and rent out the desk there. It doesn’t matter where these people are, other things are for them in common:
- Passion about what they are doing
- Freedom to do it on their terms and schedule
- Responsibility for their future lies on them, not their employer or client
Essentially above are the requirements to start one man team and follow your dream. In the same way they are the ingredients of success.
Where to start?
I asked this question way too much before I actually got started. It takes time to build up the courage to start. The question is not “where”, it’s “when”. When you have the mindset to start and you feel the energy. When you know how to make a difference. When you feel relaxed and concentrated. The right energy is not the one you feel when you’re about to start the soccer game or run a marathon. It’s tranquil energy that will keep you going around world for multiple years, not just 26.22 miles (42,195 meters).
How to find your place under the Sun?
It’s easy to write motivational speeches. Relatively easy for me. Maybe it’s easy for you too. There’s a good one:
Two business trainers meet:
- How to increase sales?
- I can tell!
- I can tell myself, how to increase, that’s the question?
Якщо ви читаєте українською, то цей жарт звучить так: Зустрічаються два бізнес тренера:
- Як збільшити продажі?
- Можу розповісти!
- Розповісти я і сам можу. Як збільшити?
So how do I know if my idea has a market fit? Here are a few thoughts that could get you started:
- Even on the most saturated market, there would be a seat for one new player.
- For SaaS specifically, I can’t agree more to @Jason Fried from Basecamp. His answer puts all the dots above і.
TL;DR for video: you will be fine as long as you keep your costs low.
Although there’s this culture of people showing up at investors door with ideas, taking money to scale the business is the farthest thing away from living the life in that beach house. So try to bootstrap, keep your costs low and play responsibly. At some point people will start depending on your product so make it reliable and simple. Technology makes it possible to win for one man team.