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TIMO ZIMMERMANN

balancing software engineering & infosec

Time To Talk About Business

posted on Thursday 10th of May 2012 in

I thought about this for quiet a while. The idea first came to my mind when I
was reading Hacker News, HighScalability and all those other fancy sites that
talk about the latest start ups and founders. Most of them share a one thing:
A vision. And the motivation to become one of the big players. Even more
interesting than the articles were the comments.

Every time you read about a founder that got “rich” “over night” you see
several comments that he does deserve it, does not deserve it and – this are
the ones I will talk about – people who also want and try to run their own
business.

Most of them are young, have a solid understanding about technology and are
driven by the desire to become one of those “rockstar, ninja, ceo, bla-bitch
new startup guys”. I will not write articles for those kind of people.

First let me say two things. I have nothing against those. If this is
what they want I hope they will achieve it. I will continue to write about
tech, web and everything that I wrote about all the time.

I will write for the rest of us. People that want to be self employed, run
their own business, pay the bills and make sure they have fun while doing
this. But I will stop exactly here – no spoilers for the first post.

Some of you might now ask “why”. Well, I have seen many people trying to do
this. And I have seen them fail badly. They listened to people that had over-
night success and tried to copy them. They listened to people that had their
prime time 30 years ago. They lacked some basic skills that could have been
easily acquired if someone had told them that they need them.

Being self-employed is just great. I never ever want to earn my money
another way. It is not for everyone but if someone desires to try it I can
only encourage them and from now on also – hopefully – help them.

Now you could possible ask yourself why I believe that I could give advices
that actually help. I am now self-employed for 9 years. I started my first
business when I was 16 and still in school. I earned money, payed bills,
always had something to eat in my fridge and have everything
you should have like an solid retirement provision, health insurance and
some other things most people do not always see as necessary in my age.

Fast forward. 9 years later. I founded three businesses (one was basically
a rename and specialization change, so make this two). They are profitable.
I enjoy them. And there was not one morning when I woke up and thought “oh
god what did I do, how did this all happen and do I really have to work
today?!”.

There are people out there with more skills, more experience, more
academic degrees. They do amazing things and I believe you can learn a lot
from them. But the fact that I survived 9 years being self-employed without
losing the joy working is in my opinion a pretty good and solid point to
start giving advices to people that try to run their first business.

One last thing. Even if I talk from experience please do not make one
mistake. Do not take it for granted. Just because this worked for me does
not mean it will work exactly this way for you. Nor does it mean that you
should try to do everything 100% the way I tell you to. Make up your mind
if this could work for you. If you feel uncomfortable with something just
do not do it or ask how you could achieve it in a different way. If you
are interested in the series I suggest you subscribe to the RSS feed and
stay up to date.