Are you prepared for the long haul?

I had an epiphany this week.

In fact it’s been a month or two of epiphanies but this one was particularly important.

Embarassingly it’s one of those ‘No Shit Sherlock’ realisations, the ones we all have now and again and then wonder why it wasn’t obvious from the beginning.

That epiphany was:

Bootstrapping a product or service isn’t going to mean I can quit my day job any time soon.

Obvious, right?

Or is it?

The next day I saw this tweet from Patrick McKenzie which validated my thinking and implies I’m not the only person who is (was) wearing rose tinted spectacles:

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Now, in my defence I wasn’t ever thinking that I’d release something on day one and on day two I’d be rolling in cash (honest!) but I had allowed myself to become distracted enough to think that releasing some products would mean I would be able to rapidly change focus from consulting to product – the holy grail.

In hindsight that thinking was foolish and downright dangerous.

My consultancy feeds me and my family, it feeds my team and their families, it also keeps my clients in business. In terms of bootstrapping my consultancy is also going to feed any products that I launch. It will provide money in lots of different shapes and forms that I don’t have access to in any other way.

My consultancy is here to stay and its success is fundamental to the future success of any side projects that I launch.

I think my subconscious already knew this as before this realisation came to me I had already:

  • Started working with Stew our new project manger who is doing a great job taking lots of projects off my plate
  • Advertised for a senior developer (or two) to take the load off
  • Decided to – for the first time ever – do some actual marketing (it’s only taken me 12 years to get to this point)
  • Began an aggressive campaign to systemise everything that we do

I’ve realised that I need to love consulting again just like I did when I started out all those years ago. This time, though, I’m going to be focussed a lot less on the tech – quality control notwithstanding – and a lot more on commercial stability and sustainability.

Are you in a similar boat to me?   How are you juggling consulting and shipping products?



Follow me on twitter: I’m @bealers

p.s. If you’re a kick ass PHP developer, UK or near GMT timezone, I’m currently hiring for a full-time home based role. There’s more information here, get in touch via

p.p.s. Mike Ellis & I have just released a sneak peak of our first productised consulting service, we’d love your feedback: WP Desk the service that takes away the stress and hassle of managing WordPress websites.


One response to “Are you prepared for the long haul?”

  1. Hi Darren, I think we may have even had this conversation in the past! For the last year or so i’ve contracted part-time to pay the bills and buy time product development. There’s a software product (EDI hub – 8 years in the making, with 7 years beta testing!) and more recently a physical product (High power LED lamp for cold storage warehouses – how tangential can you get!). Very important in this is finding consultancy that you enjoy and not just see it as a means to an end, otherwise it just feels like it is in the way of, rather then part of, your career/business.

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