Archive for November, 2005

10 Questions to ask yourself when you are small

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

Rajesh Setty from Life Beyond Code has posted 10 Questions to ask yourself when you are small. Rajesh’s list of questions are something that every microISV should give a lot of thought to as they are progressing with their business. His post is definitely one to print and refer to often.

You should be leaving your day job

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

Last Tuesdays post, “Should you be leaving your day job?”, brought a few comments from people who disagreed with me, and I think that’s great! These disagreements, especially Warren who left his day job and couldn’t be happier (way to go Warren!), point out that there is no one solution for everyone. Some people think the only way to succeed to is to remove all obstacles, even if that obstacle is a salaried day job. Others think that leaving a salaried job is insane. Neither method is right for everyone.

It seems that the assumption was that a day job has to be that of a full time salaried employee where you aren’t the owner. There is no reason that your day job can’t be that of a freelance programmer like many microISV readers. These people are supporting their microISV aspirations as an independent consultants, a role somewhat in the middle of full time employee and full time microISV.

Ultimately, the key is to make the decision that will drive you to success. Either way of thinking can be correct depending on the situation. The only bad decision is to do nothing, because you never want to be successful at nothing.

Howto create your own game company

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

Download Squad has posted the first article on how to create your own game company.

From the article:

Of course, nothing beats a great idea. Unfortunately, good ideas are everywhere. What you need to do is make sure your amazing idea is developed properly.

Ten Rules for Web Startups

Monday, November 28th, 2005

From the “it never hurts to read it again” department, Evan Williams, founder of Blogger, lists his Ten Rules for Web Startups.

Should you be leaving your day job?

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

David St. Lawrence has posted the third installment of his “Don’t give up your day job” series. The premise of today’s post is:

There is at least one really good reason for not giving up a day job in order to do something you love. The things you love to do may not be exchangeable for enough income to live on.

While many microISVs never reach their goal of leaving their day job, there’s no reason that you can’t create a decent, but not income replacing, stream of money from your software. I think David has a good point when he says:

Freeware is the programming equivalent of a musician playing for the joy of it. Shareware is the equivalent of playing for tips. Both have their place in the world and are best supported by a solid day job that does not take over your life.

We are all aware of the huge shareware success stories that are out there but those two sentences from David sum up the reality that we’re facing. My belief is that thousands of small success stories, even though they won’t get the press and the shareware author won’t leave their job, are even better than a handful of blockbuster successes……unless, of course, you’re one of the blockbusters.

Fortune Small Business: The Power of Profitable Thinking

Thursday, November 17th, 2005

Chances are, many of you are already following Steve Pavlina’s Million Dollar Experiment, and if you’re not then its worth checking out. Fortune has published an article along those same lines where they profile a performance coach who helps pro athletes perform better and is now helping business owners and entrepreneurs increase profitability through visualization. The coach, Jim Fannin takes the same approach with athletes and business people alike.

Whether his client is an athlete, an entrepreneur, or an entire workforce, Fannin’s prescriptions are fairly similar: visualization, relaxation, and positive thoughts. After meeting with a CEO to discuss the company’s overall goals, Fannin sets up a group meeting with the employees considered to be the company’s weakest links and explains the way that thoughts—both positive and negative—manifest themselves in actions.

Many people I’ve been around regard the idea of visualization and positive thinking as hokey and they feel that there’s no way that just thinking about something is enough to cause a change, especially when they view there challenges as being much bigger. These people, and I’m sure we’ve all been one of those people at some point, miss the point that their negative thinking is causing their inaction and inability to change for the better.

Building a successful business starts with the idea that you will be successful. Sustaining a business requires you to maintain that idea while navigating the ups and downs that come along with operating a business. Those who stay positive the longest are the ones who will realize the success they’ve always wanted.

Interview with Derek Sivers on Venture Voice

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

Venture Voice has posted a podcast interview with Derek Sivers who I previously profiled here on

One of the good quotes from the interview that many of us can benefit from:

“Just give yourself a 10 day deadline, and just launch it… with almost no features.”

via Business Opportunities Weblog

Dotster coupon

Saturday, November 12th, 2005

If you have any domains registered or plan to use Dotster to register any domains, use the coupon code FREECASH to get $5 off any order of $10 or more.

Microsoft Visual Express is now free

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

Announced on the MSDN Forums:

Visual Studio Express is free for one year

Until November 7, 2006, we are promotionally discounting the downloadable versions of Express to free. This doesn’t mean that the product turns off after a year, but rather that as long as you download the product before November 7, 2006, you can get it for free and you can use it forever.

Rewards for Registering

The other big news announced at the Visual Studio launch is the availability of the Visual Studio Express DIY Kit, which is a set of benefits you get for registering Express and includes:

  • 250 royalty-free stock photography images from Corbis
  • Free Windows Icons from IconBuffet
  • Free eBooks including: Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition: Build a Web Site Now, Microsoft Visual Basic 2005 Express Edition: Build a Program Now!, and Microsoft Visual C# 2005 Express Edition: Build a Program Now!
  • 3rd party components from VSIP partners

via Metafilter

Will you be a microISV casualty?

Tuesday, November 8th, 2005

When discussing success rates for new business startups, most people are quick to quote the statistic that 95% of new businesses will fail within X (1, 3, or 5 seem to be most common) number of years. If this is true, then the failure of microISV businesses will be no different. What’s interesting is why the majority of microISV companies fail.

The main reason that the majority of the companies with completed products fail is due to the lack of marketing. This would seem to be obvious because most microISV businesses are created by programmers who don’t have experience or, in a lot of cases, the desire to do the marketing that is necessary to make their product a success. My observation is that there are far more microISV companies that fail before they even get to this stage though.

The simple explanation is that most microISVs will fail because they will never complete their product. But why is this the case? Even though the common way of thinking is to start your microISV while holding down a day job, which is the method of minimal risk, most people fail because they actually fear the risk of success. Once someone starts down the path of creating a project with the grand idea of leaving their crappy job behind they will inevitably end up having to face the idea of not having a steady paycheck, paying self employment taxes, and, in the U.S., paying for health insurance entirely out of your own pocket. With these thoughts the spiral begins.

Unfortunately, we have become a world of comfort. It is all to easy to go to school, get a job, work up, around, and through the corporate world and continue to draw a steady paycheck. Faced with the comfort of a steady job, the decision to risk success on your own actually becomes a daunting thought to many. At this point, the easiest thing to do is quit. It requires no change since you have a steady, stable paycheck. You won’t have the hassle of working on your project at night and on the weekends. And think of all the time you won’t have to spend supporting your customers. Life will go back to being comfortable…and disappointing.

Always remember why you started your project in the first place. The goals you set originally were what you thought would provide you with an improved lifestyle. The lifestyle and level of comfort that can be attained by selling something you created yourself can be far more satisfactory even if you never make as much money as you did in your corporate job, so don’t become a microISV casualty before you even get started.

Book about protecting your IP

Tuesday, November 1st, 2005

I haven’t read this book, but I found a press release about a new book titled Advantage ‘IP’: Profit from Your Great Ideas. This topic is one that comes up quite often in the microISV world so it might be worth the read.

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