Getting out of the outsourcing business is hard. Even more so if you are not doing it alone and you have people depending on that type of business.
Paul and I started our small company in the second year of college. Back then we were doing a lot of freelancing to have a bit of extra income and we thought that we could gather a few colleagues and make a business out of it.
Said and done. We started with a couple of friends and we grew to a team of 10 people(in-house and remote) in a few years, learning and perfecting our craft over the years. The first few years were very hard, trying to gather new clients and keep them for longer periods of time, but in the end we managed to have a nice list of recurring or long term clients.
Due to the nature of our business model and the expansion of our team we each focused on a different area of the business. Paul had to talk to the clients and manage what everyone was working on and I was working on their applications and providing technical support to the rest of the team. Sufficient to say that our experience grew in different directions.
Last year also provided us with an opportunity to work together on a bigger project that we pushed into production and is about to be used by major companies around the world.
Going in a new direction this year is not without its challenges. On one side our outsourcing business has been good and we want to continue doing it as best as we can and keep most of our clients. On the other, we see how the old business models are changing and selling time for money will just not cut it if we want to expand further and remain agile.
As a side note, most big companies in Cluj follow the first model because they have a large supply of developers and their main promoters are in other countries where the hourly price is double than it is in Romania. Therefore they win for each individual developer and also multiply that with how many developers they have. If you have over 300 developers, outsourcing is a very profitable business.
That being said we also see them trying to go in a different direction, oriented towards collaboration with other local companies in an attempt to expand their core business model and find partners for building products or services.
Back to our point, the business manager in Paul is probably screaming inside that we have a team of developers that needs to be paid every month, bills to pay to keep everything going and a lot of taxes to top it all off and that going into building something that you can’t estimate how much income will provide is just crazy. Luckily for me he is doing a great job keeping that side of his inner voice suppressed for now and I can divert most of my time to following up on our goals for this year.
Moving from getting paid by the hour to having a steady passive income by selling products is not something you do from one day to another. You will have less time than you would like to focus on it and also have to make sure that all your team is taken care of if you work on something without an immediate payout.
Think of a way to create a product that you can complete very fast (in a matter of days or 1-2 weeks tops). Start selling it online whenever you have an MVP and don’t wait for it to contain all the features you can possibly think of. That way you have something that can bring you the smallest amount of income by using the new business model and you can also create demand for new features and you can better connect with your potential customers.
Once you complete this first step repeat it a few times until you have a steady monthly income. Focus most of your time on building an improving your products and the rest on responding to requests and building your communication with the customer.
Only then try to build something that is more time consuming and requires more intense focus.
Building a successful passive income is about finding your best way to go from $0/week to $100/week and improving it daily instead of going from $0 to $10000 in one month.
You can certainly get there with passive income in a few months, but that should be something that happens progressively instead of one big bang.
By starting out as freelancers, we learned how to be self-sufficient and that shaped us into the fullstack developers we are today.