# 2019 in review

# Full time on the company that I bootstrapped

In most of 2019, I was working as a consultant front-end developer in a bank. It is not your project, your technological stack choice. In a big company, as that is often the case when working as a consultant, the pace can be really slow, depending on the way companies work, not saying they're all the same. It was the case where I was, where a production release can be like every 3 to 4 months.

I was working in a very relaxing way with a comfortable income. Also, the workplace was in less than 10 minutes from home. It was good to have good colleagues and to learn from them.

Everything was good, isn't it? But it also felt like a trap. I was still working to build somebody else project. I was exchanging my time for money. Also, I was still working on my side project during my free time. This context switch was kind of difficult to handle but at the beginning of the year, it was not time to go full time yet.

By the way, a product with a steady income but no growth is worse than a product with no income. At least, with a product that's not working at all, it is easier to move on.

The SaaS app I had co-funded did not have growth in 2018 and it was going in its third year. A decisive year.

This year, we had more sales, we upped the price and had a different approach by doing things that don't scale. Even if we wanted to be a pure SaaS, we were more like a productized service. Our platform, we're used by ourselves to serve our client. It was not a self-serve platform. It has its inconvenience because we need to serve all the clients but each of them only sees their interests.

So we had more and more traction and it was getting more and more difficult to work remotely and to follow all the progress. Contexts were lost at a distance and we accumulated bugs and feature requests.

So much, that it was not sustainable, but what was possible that was I could pass on the project full time. I was conflicted because I was quite in a comfortable situation and needed to change in short notice. But when you think about it, it was the best thing to do. As at the end of the line, it would be more interesting and more rewarding. More risk, more reward. As opposed to no risk and no reward, finally, the choice to do is clear.

I quit my consultancy job at the end of October 2019. I don't have any regrets anymore because working with a consultancy firm is no fun at all. You met them twice a year. Once for your annual evaluation, where you'll receive at most a 2% salary raise, and then during the Christmas party when you meet no one you know...

# Side projects with no traction

I'm always hacking a side project when I think there's a potential but during 2019 I spread too thin. As I was searching for a mini SaaS idea that I could make profitable, I overextended too much and did not have much success. I wasn't persistent enough and didn't think long enough before starting coding quickly MVPs.

To speak frankly, I was a victim of the shiny object syndrome when people are going from one promising project to another. So let me be clear, 2019 for my side projects was a failure. Although, of course, I learned a lot from that and intend to use my experiences for 2020.

So to change that, what steps can I take?

In my opinion, first, it's important to create a product where you are willing to put a significant number of hours. If there's no idea/founder, you won't want to keep on adding features or doing sales. For me, It also means cutting on distractions, that's not so straightforward.

Second, do much more validation than you think. If you don't find people willing to pay for what you're doing, think about a way to reach customers. Otherwise, it's pointless.

Third, "You’re better off with a kick-ass half than a half-assed whole". It's better to have a small app well thought than to have a big mess with multiple features!

So the hope is to reach ramen profitability with a side project (or many!).

This blog post was longer than I thought at first. It shows that I had a lot of things to get off my chest. I'm optimistic about 2020 as it can't be worse!

Until next year!