Every weekday, my reoccurring wish is not suffer through another traffic jam. Every two weeks, there is an urge to be independent and to control my own destiny. Every month jealousy rages when the media celebrates another start-up company with an un-extraordinary idea. And every year there is a realization…time is slipping by.
Living a Dream
With enough dedication, hard work and maybe a little luck, nothing is impossible. My dream was to always start a business to apply all the things learned during college and graduate school (and, hopefully, create a little wealth). After all, my determination, work ethic and being a little lucky already helped me a lot. However, starting a business would be a great learning experience.
Even after programming all day at work, tinkering at night always brought a little enjoyment because there was something new to learn about. And as someone who enjoys learning, these nightly sessions provided many rewards. Then one night something happened.
I thought of an idea that could be turned into a business.
The idea itself was simple: it solved my problem of being late. But then there was the realization that it could solve other people’s problem of being late. And then this thinking became a flurry of possibilities…
…but there was a problem: I was late a lot because of my procrastination. Although this procrastination didn’t affect my studies or work, it affected everything else.
One of my tricks for getting things done is simplify the problem and write down each step on a scrap piece of paper. More importantly, I can scratch off each step after completing it and real progress can be seen. Scratching off each step is a reward in itself — it feels empowering.
So each night, the task of creating a business formed on little scraps of paper. And steps were being scratched off one at a time.
It helped having a friend that helped with the legality of starting a business. And thank goodness for the tech bubble because the bust made a lot of internet-related services, such as web site hosting, dirt cheap.
So less than the price of computer, my simple idea became a real business one night at a time, one step at a time.
Living a Life
Luckily I had a weekend to myself to create most of the code for my internet start-up.
Within three days, the entire start-up, including the client software, web site and supporting applications, were developed. But now came the hard part: it had to be ready for prime time.
Working on this start-up was fun and rewarding, but it was impossible to dedicate every night to finish my start-up. And that was okay. Working on the same problem for too long only produces new problems. Like everyone else, I tend to get sloppy from working too much.
Imaginary deadlines were created to ensure that steps were completed within a reasonable time period. But there was always a goal of trying to reach that elusive balance. Work was not to be my entire life — this was supposed to be a learning experience.
Starting a business has been a great learning experience, although it hasn’t created too much wealth yet, I’m still at the beginning of a great journey. Living the dream hasn’t been easy, but it has been rewarding and, best of all, it’s possible for anyone else to do the same.
Matthew Choinski is the founder of messagingreminder.com, a Baltimore, MD, USA small software start-up offering a service that synchronizes your Microsoft Outlook calendar and sends reminders to your mobile phone. The service is the perfect complement to your mobile phone since it’s easy to use, reliable and very affordable.