in the past month I wrote about pre-internet companies. In this week’s edition I’m steering and sharing about my personal life, my past experience from building, selling a company, achieving the life I dreamed about and how empty it was. Please, let me know your thoughts.
My lessons learned?
Look for a meaningful life, always
But health first
Time is precious
Challenges make me alive
Money is temporary, spend wisely
B2B business is hard. Relationships help a lot
2007. I’d been working for 10 years in Brazil, mainly as a software engineer and tech lead for a few different software development agencies.
Hectic environment was the norm. 250+ hours/month for 4 months, no weekends, no exercises. I was like: “I’m young, I can do all of it”.
Then, all of the sudden, I felt an irregular heart rate. I felt my heart beating faster for 2 days. This situation led me to a hospital visit. Burnt out detected. I was told to reduce workload. At least, my heart and everything else was completely fine.
This problem would change my mindset forever.
Worrying about my life, I left the company and planned to spend 1 year taking care of myself, no work at all. (At the time I was living at home, no kids, 2 years of savings, which facilitated my decision)
My new mindset
I will never work as many hours as before
I will not worry about work as much as I will about my health
What did I do next?
2 months into my “forced sabbatical”. Got a call from a former colleague: a job proposal. “NO, I’ll stay 1 year off work”. “How about doing a contract, working from home, at your own time?” I sent my proposal, considering 8hrs/day, higher rates and extended delivery dates. “Ok, agreed”.
Fast forwarding some years, I co-created a B2B product (similar to QlikView and GeckoBoard) at my own pace (10 months), without pressures (working normal hours). Took us 10 months to strike the first sale!
Company of One
I ran the company for 9 years:
3 co-founders, I was the only one - working full time
4 clients only
All projects had realistic deadlines. We wouldn't allow pressure from clients to deliver earlier
No extra hours
Flexible time, we mostly could work whenever and wherever we wanted to, following the deliverables
All of it also allowed me to work less hours and enjoy the chased freedom. **We were thriving.**
Finally, the dreamed life
Everything was running accordingly. No long hours. Holidays abroad. Time to exercise. Low 7 figures revenue. Great profit. Highly efficient employees. The dreamed life had arrived! To make it even better, I received an offer and sold my company for something in the north of 7 times my yearly earnings.
With money on hand was time for us (my wife and I) to take the biggest decision of our lives: to move abroad, from the hot and sunny Brazil to London (I’ll write another post with the reasons we decided to move).
I’m on top of the world
Now, I have all the time I wished for. I can travel a lot. I don’t need to work. I’m successful, anything I launch will be profitable. I know how to make money.
Then I travelled. I didn’t look for a new job at all. I invested my time in side-projects as diverse as a list of transport options from airports to city centres. List of UK beers. List of videogame’s musics.
Is everything going according to the plan?
Well, my new lifestyle was not bringing me real happiness. Having anything I dreamed of without any clear purpose was meaningless.
Adding to this, my side-projects were not helping anyone. This made me realise I wasn't as invincible as I arrogantly had thought.
The meaning of my life
One of the purposes of our moving abroad, was to raise kids in a safer country, with less problematic politics. Then, sticking to the original plan, it was time to have a baby. He was born 2 years after I started my dreamed, empty life.
Since then, I've been one of the most important people in the world, at least for him. My life now has the most clear objectives, most difficult challenges and the best rewards ever:
to make him as happy as possible. If he’s happy, I’m more than happy
to raise him without any prejudiced views
and many, many more
Now, I’m on top of the world
My today’s world
Since 2018 I'm working as a Project Manager/Product Owner after 12 years as an employer.
Why? My mind needs to be active (empty mind sucks). It makes me feel alive. I need the income.
There are loads of positive points now, like 25 days of holidays, clear direction, having a boss to learn from, working in an industry I’m passionate about (sports), career progression, etc.
I’m chasing the dream, once again, of launching something that helps people. Why?
to see the real joy of helping people solve their problems
to spend quality time with my family. This time will never come back
to have the freedom to work whenever and wherever I’m the most productive
To feel the rush when a new client buys my product
Now, I’m 100% sure I’m using my time and money way more wisely than before.
I want to write more articles about product creation, pricing, monetisation, resources management, struggles, sales process (~90 potential clients to 4 sales). Please, let me know if this article helped you somehow.
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