Project Deadlines and Late Nights

I didn’t get a chance to post a new article last week. I put a few ideas in draft mode, but didn’t have time to completely flesh one out. Why? Because I was waking up early and staying up late (too late) in order to meet project deadlines.

Sometimes running a web design agency feels like finals week in college, except that finals week never ends. The pressure of performing well for multiple classes (clients) is always there.

As soon as one project finishes, three more start.

One way I’ve tried to combat this neverending cycle is to focus some of my “free time” to building products. I’d like to have a little bit of passive income each month, which eventually would match or exceed my client work.

I’ve found that product work is no free lunch either. Support tickets, new feature requests, and bug fixes take up more time than actually working on the product. Also, unless you intentionally market, no one knows you exist.

I used to think that customers would magically find the product, fall in love, and pay us hand over fist. What I’ve found is that its a long, consistent journey to build a customer base, one customer at a time.

Product development is not a get rich quick scheme, it’s a learn by making mistakes scheme.

So if product development is no easier than client services, why do I even bother? Why not just get a 9 to 5 job where I can punch in and punch out, leaving all my cares of the job as I exit the parking lot?

Because I love entrepreneurship too much. I love the freedom of owning a business, calling the shots, making mistakes, landing the project, helping our clients succeed, seeing the business grow, making on impact in our community, and knowing I’m a part of something bigger than myself.

I liken building a business to building a software product. There’s always things that could be improved, but at some point you just have to ship it. Iterate quickly, experiment with new strategies, learn what works and what doesn’t.

I’d like to remove the need for late night coding binges to meet project deadlines. I’m still working on putting systems in place to ensure that doesn’t happen. Its not the norm, but sometimes it feels like some force causes all things to become due at once.

In reality, I know I need to plan better. It’s a work in progress.


Was it Angry Bird developers that developed 21 games before Angry Birds? They didn’t just come up with AB and it was a success, no, they kept stabbing at it until something took off.

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