I can pinpoint the moment I got excited about the possibility of becoming my own boss. I stumbled upon a magazine article (yep, magazine... which means it was a while ago). The article featured an interview with the guy who created the popular i can has cheezburger website. It was one of the first meme websites of cats, kind of like this one 👇
In this interview, the creator talked about how he loved going to work. His daily routine consisted of hanging out with friends, nerf gun battles, chugging red-bull, and building fun websites.
Wow! What a great life that would be! A life where you genuinely enjoyed your work and had the creative freedom to work on any idea that your red-bull-infused brain came up with?
I fell in love with the idea of building a side project that would one day allow me to quit my day job; however, at times, this reality seemed like a distant dream, but after much perseverance, this dream has finally become a reality for me. This is a short post about the lessons I've learned and the tips I've leveraged on my journey to becoming my own boss 🕺
🤏 Start Small
Everyone has to start small. If you're a developer, the easiest place to start is to create a blog (which could eventually turn into an app). In addition to writing about new things you learn, you should also start creating small side projects.
😍 Passion Projects
If you are excited about something, you should jump on it quickly. Passion can be hard to come by, so be sure to grab it when it presents itself. Being a developer should not be about the money; rather, the excitement you feel when you build something new. Never stop building/creating passion projects. It's how great ideas come to life 🤩
💡 Knowing It All
Understand that you will never know it all. You might be an expert in some areas, but the vast world of technology grows so fast, that it's nearly impossible to know everything. This should be exciting instead of overwhelming. There's always something new you can learn 🤓
🙋♂️ Never Be Afraid to Ask Questions
You should never be afraid to ask questions. Even if everyone else knows the answer, make sure to speak up. The fact that you are asking questions shows that you are growing. Stay clear of anyone who makes you feel bad for asking questions, they will not get far in life, and they are trying to bring you down with them. Be sure to ask more questions, and you'll be surprised by how much more you will learn.
🌈 Believe in Yourself
As you learn and grow as a developer, you will gain more confidence in your skills. If you struggle with imposter syndrome, you should acknowledge it and understand that this simply means you need to learn more about that topic, so you feel more confident. If you hear other developers talking about stuff you don't understand, use that opportunity to ask questions 😉
🗻 Challenge Yourself
If you are working on something you find tedious, you should seek out more challenging projects. When you dig into new technology, it will help you grow in so many other areas of your developer career.
🏊♂️ Diving Deeper
Don't be afraid to dig into someone else's source code. For instance, if you find a useful package that hasn't been maintained in a while, you may want to dig into the source code and abstract some functionality to fit your needs. Additionally, digging into other people's source code can help you get in another frame of mind and learn some new tricks 🪄
🤓 Different Types of Developers
There are many different types of developers. Some are perfectionists who demand their code to be flawless and well tested. Others might be cowboys of code, flinging functions into every nook and cranny to build a quick feature. One is not better than the other, and in fact, they can learn a lot from each other. You will have to learn how to work with different types of developers. Make sure you are always open to learning new skills that can get you further on your journey. Being adaptable is going to be your greatest strength.
💬 Don't Always Take the Advice of Others
Don't always assume that others know more than you when building out a project. There are times when an outsider's perspective can come in handy; however, if you are in charge of the project, you should take others' advice lightly. You are the lead in this project for a reason; you can take advice into consideration, but you are in charge for the most part and get the final say. In other words, have confidence in yourself and your decisions. Developers can be very opinionated when building something. Try to avoid the noise and visualize the final product.
🏁 Get it to Completion
There are always new languages, frameworks, and tools being created for developers. The amount of tools that you have at your disposal is incredible. However, don't let the overwhelming world of technology paralyze your creator skills. Sometimes the best tool to build your app is the tool you already know.
Developers and creators can get caught up in re-building their apps with the latest technology, preventing them from ever growing because they're constantly re-building. Remember to focus on getting your product/tool out the door, get some feedback, and test the waters. The most important thing is to get your projects to some level of completion.
⏳ Doing the Time
Before becoming your own boss, you need to put in the time. This is all part of the journey. When you put in the time and learn new skills, it will support you as your foundation on your entrepreneurship journey. Continue to build new projects and learn new skills. Put in the time and never quit. This will put you on a one-way street to success.
Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before. - Jacob Riis
🚗 Enjoy the Ride
I often forget to look back at how far I've come. When I do this, I smile and think about how much I've grown. Life is not all about work; it's about the journey we are living. It's important to enjoy the ride a little bit, smile more, and continue building fun and cool new sh*t 🤙