School, uni, grad programme, followed by a few rungs on the corporate ladder.
My career path used to be one my Mum could comprehend. Whilst she didn't exactly get what I did ("some computer stuff") she felt some comfort in seeing me work hard and celebrate a promotion every so often.
So when I quit my job earlier this year with only a hint of a plan, her usually 100% supportive voice had a tinge of hesitation. Where was my next paycheque going to come from? Not that she didn't support me, but rather, she just didn't really understand...
Throw into the mix that I was the new Owner/Operator of her latest grandchild. It just seemed a bit risky? No?
A few months since I left the rat race, I'm gaining confidence in my choice and feel I just about have an answer to her question of "What are you doing for work?"
For context, let's start with where I want to be:
In 2-3 years time, I'd like the majority of my income to come from my own micro-SaaS business where I can dictate the hours I do and when I do them. I like building stuff. I like tech. I'm not afraid of hard work but want to do it around my family time.
Then in 10+ years time I'd love to be managing a portfolio of micro-SaaS companies. Having used my new found experience to partner with people in a similar position to where I am now. Helping them pursue a life of greater freedom and flexibility.
(Note: I maintain the right to change my mind...)
This means over the next year to 18 months I need to validate, start and probably fail at a few product ideas. However, SaaS businesses rarely provide solid returns within the first year or so. At least not enough to support a mortgage and my son's voracious need for clothes in "the next size up".
Soooo... how can I earn some lunch money in the mean time?
A fairly obvious option for many people who have previously worked in consulting. Using my existing network, I've already found one gig helping a client design a next-gen event platform (watch this space).
I am hoping however, in pursuit of delineating time and money, to work out a way to package up my work. So rather than selling "X hours" to deliver some "work" and generate some "outcomes". I can sell some work/outcomes at a fixed price where I get to enjoy the benefits of my increased efficiency and efficacy.
Info-products and online courses are products with a potentially faster "time to revenue" than a SaaS product but with a similar time/income delineation. However, to be successful you need quality content and good distribution (ie. a large engaged audience who have already helped validate your ideas).
This is why I started the Huddle Newsletter.
When I left my job, a lot of people contacted me with something along the lines of "I have always been thinking of doing something similar but never pulled the trigger". It was clear this was a group of people I could provide value to, using my experience.
A newsletter is my way of providing them a little bit of value for free. In return, I hope to get to know them better, identify opportunities to help and test any ideas I have for content/courses/software. Building a business audience-first.
Some of this stuff goes a bit over Mum's head and when I explain it I get the "supportive nod". So the version of this I'm currently going with whenever she asks is...
"I'm currently working part-time doing 'computer stuff' for other people, to help them make money. This gives me time and savings to do my own 'computer stuff' to make my own money"
She seems satisfied for now... As long as I don't start charging her for help with 'computer stuff' (turning her computer off and on again).