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INTRO The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Ubu_roi

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Hi,
I've been following the Forum for some time, after reading both MJ books, and I've found incredible value here. There are so many things I'd like to say but I'll keep it short, so that this post finally gets posted ;-)
There are two reasons why I MUST introduce myself: the first is that I feel guilty every time I read the content you guys have put here, while I've not even introduced myself. The second is that something ugly happened to my business a few days ago, and I'd be grateful to hear your opinions (more on that in "The Ugly"). So, here is my story.

The Good:

I live in Rome, Italy, and I'm 44. As a software developer my skills are in high demand. Since reading MJ books (and several others), I've begun the cumbersome process of divorcing from Time. In the last 3 years I achieved several goals that seemed totally out of reach:

- I bought a house for rent, partially with a mortgage (before that I was against all debt). It has a positive cash flow and it's paying for itself, including taxes, plus giving a few hundred dollars (in euro actually) per month. I love real estate!

- I've recorded some courses for developers for a reputable company, and for the last six months my royalties have been more that 3K dollars each month, plus tons of positive reviews (market talking!). You can't imagine how happy I am about that.

- I've written a technical book, self published, in Italian. My friends tell me that it's been a success, I find it a total failure. To give you an idea, I've sold a little over 700 copies in three years (about 4k dollars in royalties). The only good thing is I've had some good reviews, so my ego is (partially) safe.

In this moment my income comes from:

- Royalties from my courses
- Rent from two houses
- My teaching activity (classic classroom teaching, I do it because it's a great way to stay up to date in technology)
- My business: it's a tiny software house, targeting small businesses.

I'm debt free (except the mortgage of the house for rent), I like what I do, happily married, spend less than I earn and own the house where I live. But if everything was good, this would be a very boring story indeed, so let's see

The Bad:

Time. I work at least 12 hours per day, at least 6 days per week. I started divorcing from Time three years ago, but she is an ugly beast, and doesn't want to let me free. Sometimes I fear she is winning. My activities are three: teaching, the software business, and authoring.
The obvious choice would probably be to stop teaching, which is totally Time dependent, but I don't have (yet) the courage to do that.

The Ugly:

Last week, my only full time team member told me he received a better offer and will be leaving at the end of the month. I tried making counter offers and everything I could think of, but he'll still be leaving. I'll spare the details, anyway we're parting ways in good terms. My problem is that to bring him to the level he is now took me over one year of training, and I can't, nor am I willing to find someone else and do the same right now. So, I've been thinking about outsourcing some of the work. I found on Amazon a book called "Virtual Freedom", and I'm eagerly reading it. I know that in this Forum outsourcing isn't considered a healthy path, but I cannot think of anything else right now (suggestions welcome of course).

My goal is simple: become "partially" retired in 6 years from now, and get there without killing myself from too much work. I'm 1/3 there.

OK just to finish this intro: this Forum is pure gold. Thanks a lot.
 

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MHP368

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you should read "built to sell" , the person that left was an employee not a partner right? seems like you're correct in wanting to outsource that.

Also could you explain in more depth what product or service your company provides for these small businesses?

The teaching business definitely wont lead to freedom, its great you have some rentals but rental income in italy is well outside my zone of knowledge.

Also, could you briefly explain how you attract new clients and the time commitment from your end to service each client?

What amount monthly extra would you need to bring in in order to stop teaching?
 
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Ubu_roi

Ubu_roi

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Hi MHP368,

you should read "built to sell" , the person that left was an employee not a partner right? seems like you're correct in wanting to outsource that.


Thanks for the suggestion. Yes he was an employee.

Also could you explain in more depth what product or service your company provides for these small businesses?

Basically I create custom software for small businesses. For example, let's say you have a ground transport company, and need a software to take the customer calls or web requests, then need to decide which truck/driver will take the package, and then create an invoice to your customer. What I do is make an application for you to deal with your tasks, and a mobile app for the drivers. And then in some cases we also make a maintenance contract.

The teaching business definitely wont lead to freedom, its great you have some rentals but rental income in italy is well outside my zone of knowledge.

Also, could you briefly explain how you attract new clients and the time commitment from your end to service each client?


At this time the only way new customers come to me is because some other customer recommended my company. I cannot take all the work that comes in. My commitment is analysing the customer needs, propose a solution, and if we agree on the price/timing make the software. This may take anything from 15 days to 3 months.

What amount monthly extra would you need to bring in in order to stop teaching?

That is a very good question actually, I've never thought about that. Generally speaking I make about 300 / 400$ per day teaching, and I teach 5 to 10 days per month. But it's also a way to get paid to learn new things and keep up to date with a technology.

Thanks a lot for your reply!
 

FastNAwesome

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Welcome to the forum and best of luck on your path to fastlane.

So, I've been thinking about outsourcing some of the work.
There's a type of outsourcing that might fit you well, if you're looking for a full-time employee.

It's when the outsourced worker(s) work side-by-side with your in-house team, together. The company that you outsource to finds qualified workers and they work from their offices, but they work for your company full-time.

Some call it co-sourcing.
 

Ernman

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Welcome to the forum Ubu_roi.
 
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Ubu_roi

Ubu_roi

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It's funny how just explaining the facts, answering to a few questions and writing all down gives you clarity ;-)

What's what I'll do:

- Outsource (or co-source) some of the software creation activity
- Reduce the training activity to the bare minimum to stay on the market (approx. 5 days/month)
- Try to bend the business model of the software creation so that the software I make can be sold to several clients "as it is".
- Keep you posted about my attempts ;-)

Thanks you all.
 
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Ubu_roi

Ubu_roi

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Welcome to the forum and best of luck on your path to fastlane.



There's a type of outsourcing that might fit you well, if you're looking for a full-time employee.

It's when the outsourced worker(s) work side-by-side with your in-house team, together. The company that you outsource to finds qualified workers and they work from their offices, but they work for your company full-time.

Some call it co-sourcing.
Do you know any company that does that?
 

astr0

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It's when the outsourced worker(s) work side-by-side with your in-house team, together. The company that you outsource to finds qualified workers and they work from their offices, but they work for your company full-time.

Some call it co-sourcing.
We call it outstaffing in general, or dedicated developers / dedicated teams.

A lot of companies provide that service, even here in Lviv, but usually for long term projects (6 months+).

I don't want to recommend any particular company, but you can Google them and in case you'll get interested in Ukrainian-based one feel free to ask me details about them.

Be careful and do tech interviews with candidates yourself. Selling juniors as seniors, unfortunately, is very common in this business...
 

MJ DeMarco

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Welcome aboard, great intro.

I know that in this Forum outsourcing isn't considered a healthy path, but I cannot think of anything else right now (suggestions welcome of course).
Hmmm, not sure how you come to that conclusion. Outsourcing is valuable in the right situations.
 

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