Do you have any tips for starting a business?

Which topics should I focus in researching?
There are many things to know but I have to start from somewhere before I plunge into the water.

What kind of business are you thinking about starting?

1 Like

That’s a good question…
I want to start with providing the most basic web-dev solutions (outsourcing some of the tasks), then later specialize as I go (probably on Web3). I decided that’s the path for me even if it pays less, as I want to have the freedom to move places when I please.

This sounds like traditional freelancing.

So I think the most important things to consider with going with this path is risk and sustainability. If you stick to solo-freelancing, you are still “running your own business” where your the employee, boss, PM, marketer, sales-person and potentially ops, developer, and support.

Freelancing means the risk is basically 100% on you. If you want a pay-check to live you need to get clients, do the work, and get it done in time and continue. The process only becomes sustainable if you can do this sustainably and reliably.

If you aren’t a very good marketer, you might have a tougher time getting clients. If you are limited in the jobs you can do, then you will have more limited options to bid for. If need more $, you will have to justify your higher price and still get the right jobs. Even if you get the jobs, you have to manage them correctly otherwise you waste to much of your own time, and when it comes to freelancing time is money.

It takes a number of skills to be successful at freelancing, it also requires some planning and a number of considerations. For example, you can’t plan to live like a king if your only able to build simple web pages for cheap.

If you want to “tip your toe” into freelancing I’d start it as a side-gig and test the waters. If you have a day-job, stick to it to minimize your overall risk, rather than jumping 100% into freelancing. You might find it has what it takes and a good method for you to make a solid living. Then go for it, and keep learning to improve your freelancing :slight_smile:

What you don’t want is to start freelancing, find you don’t have what it takes, spend a bunch of time getting paid less than you need to live and just “wasting your time”.

Mind you most of what I pointed out with managing risk didn’t even touch on what you actually work on. Even if you know 100% of what your doing work wise, you could still not succeed at freelancing due to a number of factors.

Another route is to just get a dev job that allows you to work remote from where you want. These jobs exist, have vastly less risk and give you enough freedom to move where you want. In the freelance role where you wear “all the hats”, in a remote dev job you where just 1 and need to interact with your team to cover all the other bases.

One good thing to come out of the pandemic is more companies support this and will continue to support it in the future. The biggest blocker is if you haven’t worked remotely successfully before, its hard to convince employers to just let you do it out of the gate. For all they know you might end up slacking.

Choice is up to you, freelancing is always available as an option, just make sure your making the most of it before jumping fulling you. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew!

Good luck, keep building, keep learning :+1:


Hi Brad!

What you’re describing sounds a lot harder than being hired for someone else’s company. What I had in mind was to go the FOSS model, first work for donations. I have no idea how the market is but there are quite a few projects I know which are based solely on this model. As a second step I hope to offer services like integration or support. That seems a lot less profitable but also a lot easier than to be a freelancer as you described.

If you can get hired for a job at some other company your basically done. You just need to do the job and you don’t have to deal with anything beyond that. If your running your own business you don’t have that “job interview wall”, but you have to build and manage the entire company yourself.

An example of a donation based “FOSS” application is freeCodeCamp itself. Even though its technically a SaaS, its a good and relevant example to bring up. FreeCodeCamp is one of github’s most stared projects. It is also a donation based non-profit. I’m not sure how you’d take a donation based model, and change that to another model, or live off a donation based model without a massive user-base. You also need to consider that if you need to get a huge user-base, you probably will need to put in your own money upfront and potentially get into some kind of debt, which again adds more risk.

Its worth keeping in mind even though freeCodeCamp of the largest ones out there it doesn’t make much money. There aren’t many paid team members, ( I think like 6 or so?) and most funds are used to keep the lights on to support the scale it runs at.

Quincy himself documented how he got freeCodeCamp going by burning through his own money. Only after a few years did he eventually start getting some of that back.

I think I know what kind of model/approach your referencing. I like to call it “open source with paid add-ons”. Where you have a core open source model to gain “reach”. You then provide help with said open source model and charge as a contractor. I don’t know the numbers behind such approaches, but I do know of a few examples with open source libraries I know. I think this works best if you gain enough visibility, and know who to build an open source well enough. Like any business, marketing is probably bigger than any other factor besides making software that people will use.

Good luck, keep building, keep learning :+1: