There is a lot to be said for focus. And getting focused is the way to get things done. Not focusing and spreading yourself thin, well, that will leave you with nothing completed and a ton of projects unfinished!
I should know, because I am definitely ADD. I am definitely not the most focused person. I actually thrive in having 2,3,4 or 5 things I am working on at a time. I have gotten used to working like that. In fact some of the projects I work on in a given day go from writing this kind of article to advanced programming algorithms and crunching spreadsheet data or working on difficult business problems.
But once again it is important for me to at least get focused on specific projects for periods of time or nothing will get done.
Meanwhile, most of us have to focus on making a living. That means getting out of bed in the morning and going off to a job that pays us. If you are not yet retired, have not yet hit your big startup and cashed out, you are still one of the many who need to get a paycheck to pay your mortgage or rent. Though I have heard of people moving to western Costa Rica or Portugal where you can live for $5 a day. Not going to be me for the time being.
And as I have written before in my Linkedin articles, South Florida has not always been the most dependable for IT/Tech/Online Web Marketing employment. When I have had a bunch of savings to live off for a while it is a great place to live. When you have to find long term steady work, it can be very frustrating.
That’s why I started back 15 years ago doing small projects outside of work to develop other streams of income. Problem with that first small project is it grew and grew and I ended up working on a part-time startup that was running single events in 120 US and Canadian cities. At the peak I was managing 100k traffic monthly on this startup website and about 5,000 orders a month. Not too big for a single person team to handle.
Those streams of income have actually got our family through probably the toughest financial periods I have been through in the past. When you are out of work, you need cash to pay the bills. We all know that. It just happened I have saved for a rainy day and part of that is having other ways of making money. We also dabbled in the market and real estate, so it is all good. I know that not everybody is that lucky.
So, once again I am going to give you my one liner: Never Give Up The Night Job. I would say this as a bit of a joke with startup founders who are in the middle of struggling through working a full time job and starting up at night. The reasoning is the day job may let you go, but your ultimate thing you are doing (does not have to be a startup) is still there for you after hours.
And I call the people who work the day jobs, “Dayworkers”, only as a jibe that kind of implies that people are working through the night on their next big thing. There is a sub-culture of night time workers! Is that who you are?
In fact, the whole concept of a full-time job and employers who give you benefits and time off is starting to become a thing of the past. And that is during the period where healthcare coverage is just miserable all around unless you work full-time. It is a conundrum we all have to live with. Just happens I am back working full-time, but for the past 5 years I was not in a full-time job. I just patched together a couple consulting gigs, my software venture, whatever I could and tried to make it all work. As you can see, the day came and I am back trying to focus at a desk!
But let me give you a bunch of great reasons why to create a night project for yourself especially if you are in IT. It can still can be something other than a night job, like writing a book, refurbishing a condo or creating a soup kitchen! But most likely you are building the next greatest App or IOT (Internet of Things).
- I learned more from my night-job startup than I ever learned in my day job. Day jobs in IT and Online Marketing are all about hard skills these days. If you are working for a massive eCommerce company just doing a narrow task, you will never get the experience of running the entire show or doing both programming and marketing. It just does not happen. Corporate jobs are more about specialty than generalization.
- Experiences of a lifetime. The people, events and other tech experiences that started to happen to me around the time I worked on a successful side startup were so different than my day job, that it really had an impact on my life. It could be that starting up a dating related startup is a little different, but at that time I wanted to be involved in something different.
- Having some income coming in the door if you get laid off can make all the difference. You learn over time that you can’t always depend on long term employment. It is best to have some other skills that can make you some extra money from in case your income is severed. When I was laid off and the severance ran out, I did not have to rely on unemployment or government assistance (for quite a while), since I had other income sources.
- You have to be in it to win it and that gives you a great attitude. Everybody wants to believe that their next startup thing or whatever it is, is going to be big. I have seen it happen to people. I know several very successful businesses started with a spreadsheet or a simple website. This refers to tech startups who are trying to create a successful startup, regardless of whether you have a full-time job or not. But the point is, you need to have something to look forward to.
- The next career. For many there is no next career. This is their career. But I have moved from a pure software developer to a pure online marketer. How did that happen? Well, it would not have happened if I did not change, work the night job, get my MBA and evolve.
- Finding A Job. It’s plain and simple, networking and meeting the locals can get you your next job. That’s how most jobs are filled today.
The point is, you need to have more than just your day job going on. You need to have some other thing you are working on. Could be a startup or could be spending hours putting a stickshift into a Lemans. I would recommend you use your spare time wisely and make sure it has purpose. You don’t want to know how many guys I know spent hours, days, months and years on building a website, game or tech thing on their own spare time that was not really going anywhere. I ‘ve done it. It’s all a learning experience I guess. Some people spend their spare time at cub scouts. Some out at the night clubs. Some like fishing or camping. I seem to have a thing for startups.
I have a saying that in order to have a full grown tree, you need to plant the seed today.
So the answer to a great night gig/startup is to start today.
If you like this article, you can read addition articles by me on Linkedin here:
Ok, here is my pitch to Linkedin visitors who live in South Florida. StartupPOP is running 2 startup pitch events over the next two months in South Florida. The first is at a new location in Fort Lauderdale, FL called General Provision on February 22nd, 2017 at 7pm. General Provision is a co-working space in an area in the F.A.T Village Arts District. It’s about 6 blocks north of the Riverwalk area. We are looking for up to 10 tech startup related companies to pitch and we are excited to be at this new location. Here is a link to sign up:
StartupPOP is also running a Tech Startup Pitch Event in Aventura, Florida on March 29th, 2017 at Serendipity Labs starting at 6pm, another new coworking space a block south of the Best Buy/Whole Foods Plaza in Aventura near Hallandale Beach. We actually created a new Meetup for the North Miami tech startup community to manage this event. Here is the link to sign up for the event and meetup:
Also, I was contacted by a very promising startup that is looking for a mobile app developer to partner with them that has IOT experience, preferably IOS and Android experience and integration of APIs, etc. This startup seems to have contracts, a great market and great potential. The developer would want to be involved in equity. Let me know if you are the person for this night job!
Have a great week and keep on working the night job!