TechSnips: Startup Struggles and Eternal Optimism

A Startup Founder

Short term pain, long term gain. That’s what we hear from people when they are watching on the sidelines when we’re working towards a goal. These people either strive to motivate us or are entertained by watching us struggle and want to see how stubborn we can be.

We go to the gym, see no results the next day. We start eating healthy and feel no different. We stay in a job that’s meh just because it’s comfortable and we entrepreneurs bust our asses for nothing for months sometimes years in hopes of a big payoff someday.

What does each of these situations have in common? They all require either:

  • A. balls
  • B. stupidity
  • C. tenacity and grit

I’m positive it takes a little bit of each.

When I quit my job nearly eight months ago for an opportunity that had no guarantee, no paycheck and no clear end goal everyone thought I had a screw loose. “Grit! “, I told them. “No, it’s a vision!”, I told them. They’d nod and wish me well still thinking I was nuts.

Short term pain

Imagine for a minute you’re on a tightrope high above the ground wobbling on a 1-inch wire. Scary, right? Now imagine you have an enormous cushion made of baby lamb’s wool and unicorn tears below you. If you were to fall, it may actually feel wonderful feeling that soft embrace of the net.

You’d happily stroll along the wire without a care in the world. Who cares if I fall? Hell, I may jump! This is what a nice, cushy job feels like. Another week, another big paycheck. Ain’t life grand? For some maybe.

There’s no pain but no challenge. No fulfillment. Take your Hawaii vacation with your loads of PTO and buy that Ferrari. As my Australian friends say, “Good on ya!”. But what kind of way is that to live? What are you actually accomplishing? Do you feel like you’re making a difference in the world? If not, ask yourself if this is what you want for the rest of your life.

Sure. There will be fights with your spouse, you’ll question your sanity, you’ll run budgets nonstop to reassure yourself it’ll be OK and you’ll constantly wonder what you’re committing your life to really is a good idea after all. “WTF HAVE I DONE??”

It’s painful. Sometimes very. But nothing great comes free and without risk.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither can a fruitful and fulfilling business like TechSnips.

Long term gain

It’s been nearly eight months since I started TechSnips and I can finally say my attitude is beginning to change from a pain to gain mentality.

We’re not making loads of money by any means and we’re not a huge team capable of destroying our competition. We do, however, have momentum and a growing community.

Since we’ve pivoted to focus on our course partner program we received our first course payment this month. Talk about exciting! We now have 13 courses in the queue and our dedicated team of contributors are hard at work cranking them out. I can see the snowball starting to build!

We are an agile company capable of coordinating hundreds of moving parts at once though our highly systematized processes. I knew being Adam the Automator would come in handy besides the occasional blog article or two.

We’re attracting 3-5 new contributors every week who immediately are put in touch with Anthony, my first lieutenant/VP of Content where he’s able to get them up to speed fast and part of our community.

I can say that after all of the hard work, we’re finally hitting our stride. With a dedicated community, collective knowledge and everyone’s commitment to coming together making TechSnips a success, I know we will succeed.

  • Adam

Entrepreneur vs. Engineer: A Founder’s Dilemma

 

Us IT folk are a unique breed or so I’m told. We’re logical, black and white thinkers that require strict rules and are prone to outbursts around tabs vs. spaces at any moment.

We love either Windows or Linux but not both, have a major case of imposter syndrome and are socially inept. At least that’s the stereotype. It turns out a lot of this is true of myself.

A lot of engineers are completely happy going to work, solving interesting problems, working with good people and toiling on interesting open-source side projects in their free time. This used to be me and life was a lot simpler.

The Hidden Entrepreneur Inside

You see, I’m just like your typical IT engineer but with one key difference. For whatever reason, I have this insatiable desire to blaze my own path and to build something on my own that benefits other people like me. It’s a blessing and a curse.

I have a deep-rooted entrepreneur inside of my brain that refuses to give into the simpler ways of living as just an engineer. Lucky for people that enjoy free, IT screencasts, the entrepreneur is what brought you this fine TechSnips platform.

For those that either silence their entrepreneur brain or for those completely happy working as an engineer may not completely understand this phenomenon. Let me explain.

Imagine constantly thinking you should be doing something else while working on a task you enjoy more at the time. Consider when you leave the volume at 19 on your TV, see a red M&M in a bowl of green ones or get interrupted when you’re just about finished with an awesome TV show. It’s kinda like that.

Entrepreneur vs. Engineer

I, as an engineer, love solving real, tactical problems. I enjoy spending time seeing the fruits of my labor immediately in the form of a passing test, working code or automation workflow doing its thing. The reward is immediate, same-day and doesn’t require strategizing about content, researching future clients or trying to get the word out about TechSnips.

I, as an entrepreneur, am not supposed to focus on the tactical logistics of building the product. I shouldn’t be spending time neck-deep in code in favor of focusing on the TechSnips marketing strategy, SEO or ensuring that next big opportunity doesn’t pass us by!

My inner entrepreneur and engineer constantly battle. On one hand, I love working for myself, building a business, helping others and fulfilling this vision I’ve had for a long time with TechSnips but on the other hand, I sometimes just want to push the world aside and work on a cool PowerShell script!

Learning Balance

Since TechSnips is only a few months old, I’ve still got some time to find my groove. I’m still allowed to have those weeks where I don’t do the “right” thing focusing on strategic vision, marketing and managerial work in favor of the fun stuff like coding.

I’ve still got time but it’s time to start figuring out what I’m good at, not good at and finding more people to help me in this endeavor.

From what I can tell, as a founder running a successful business is about choosing your battles. You need customers to survive, a motivated team behind you, a great product and a vision for the future. I’m getting there. You also need to know when and when not to spend time on frivolous activities in favor of the greater good.

TechSnips continues to grow month after month and I’m excited about the future. I’m looking forward to growing as an entrepreneur and business owner and learning how to adapt my engineer tendendencies to business development!