I thought I’d start to write about my plans for a summer business. I think that it would be good to get them written down so I know what I have to do for a feasibility study that I’ll have to do later. This piece of writing tries to develop some ideas, and work out some of the problems that I might run into. This is just a rough sketch of what I have in mind, how I can pull it off, and some preliminary thoughts on the possibilities that I have.
Firstly, I should note that if I get my student loan it will be possible for me to move home and live for the summer without a job still get a laptop and probably a motorcycle license(maybe even a motorcycle). With roughly $4500 coming my way the immediate need for money over the summer is gone. That fact has several positive and negative effects.
1. I won’t need to worry about paying for rent
2. There is no real push to get me to make money every day.
Secondly I should note that if I decide to make the jump into starting a business I should be reasonably sure that I can finish the summer with $5000 in the bank and something reasonable to put on my resume for my experience. If I can’t make that much money it’s probably not worth my time to take the summer off and I should stay here and finish a little earlier and get a real job when I graduate. On the other hand If I code 10 000+ lines over the summer it might be worth it even if I don’t make the money because that much code would be an impressive thing to show off to employers.
Now. The setup of my business would be as follows. I would operate out of the MUN library… Hopefully I will be able to secure a carrel for the summer. That will give me access to lots of books, and a quiet place to code.. and free. I would have to go into the library every morning and stay all day like any regular job otherwise I’d never get anything done. The plan is to work on the GNOME bounties full time. Which is very risky but potentially very rewarding.
1. Working on unfamiliar code base.
2. Competing with skilled programmers
3. I don’t have control of judging
4. I don’t have control over what work is offered
5. Potentially working with new languages
6. With new libraries
7. The time to payday is not regular
1. Good money.. American $ $100 – $2500/project
2. As a full time coder I can get a lot done
3. Probably not a lot of competition
4. Maybe some cooperation/sharing
5. Make contacts with OSS developers
6. Gain much needed experience coding
Considering that from looking over the bounties I think that a $100 job should take no more than a day or two and $2500.. a week or two. I think that I have the chance to make some serious cash
NOTE TO SELF: check #of outstanding bounties, which ones have been started on, and when they are taking up the next round of submissions.
In 4 months it should be possible to complete many jobs.. Will there be enough work for me to do for the summer?
If I run out of bounties to do, or other people have almost finished their solutions do I have a backup plan for making money? Should I try to compete with them by starting my own code.
Ultimately this plan requires some more research on the current bounty situation. But if there are lots of things on the list It’ll be worth trying.
Backup business plan:
Obviously what I want to do this summer is code. I would take a job with a company that offered any computer related job for the regular paycheck. But if I’m on my own I want to do what’s best for me.
If coding is what I want to do then what could I code if there are no bounties available for me to do.
1. TeamWork – No money in it, but I’d learn C# and probably have to chat with Nat and several other cool guys about how to get it done. Plus working full time it wouldn’t take too long to finish.
2. Consulting – who for? I’m not an expert in anything so there are no specific areas I can cater to. And general coding is hard to come by in NL.
3. Work on one of my other ideas and try to sell it – difficult(selling)
So I’d have to sell in order to make any other money and I suck at selling… Still if I was working full time there’s no reason why I couldn’t send off lots of emails trying to sell my services around town or the world. But to feel comfortable I’d have to have something to showoff or sell. It would take time before I’d be ready to sell any product. It’s possible that I could code up a prototype of an idea and try to sell that.. again difficult but it would reduce the time to getting under way.
I could of course start coding on a larger project and not worry about making any money in the hopes that I’d make boatloads later on. You know in 4 months I could get a killer GIS program coded up or the next big internet craze. Since really I don’t *need* to make money I can work on something risky (high gains). I have the unique situation where I can look into a longer term investment of my time.
Remember: Every thing that I do is to get me to pay off my loans faster and start traveling sooner
A good piece of GIS software could sell for $500 easy so it’s easy to see how, if I was able to finish it and start selling it I could make money for a couple of years off of one summers investment. As a bonus I could get a scholarship for the GIS stuff.
Every big thing on the internet spins off millionaires. If I can’t find the next big thing in 4 months of full time work I’d be a disgrace to myself. Google created two billionares.. And they haven’t even IPOed yet. It just requires the right idea and some good promotion.
Of course there are many pieces of industry specific programs that could use major updates and I could do any one of them and make reasonable amounts of cash. Because very few people try to create industry specific apps but instead try to build generic ones.
Over all thoughts now that I’ve written this:
It seems as though the bounties will offer me a decent amount of cash if they are available and I don’t run into any problems with them. It will introduce me the OSS development, and get me hacking on some good code with some good hackers. With the time I have available over the summer I should be able to complete some serious jobs and potentially make the money I need.
If bounties don’t turn out to be that good of an idea. Coding my own software would be higher risk and probably higher gain. If I can develop an idea that can save any one company money I could either sell them the idea through a prototype or I could develop the app and sell it on the open market. This option would probably mean no money being made this summer but if I finished my program I could have a steady income for a while
Both options give me the experience that I’m looking for both are risky and both could make me $5000+ though maybe not in time for September.
The big question then is: If I take this option will I be better off? Will having this experience give me a better job after graduation? And do I have the determination to do the work needed in the time I have?
In the case of business vs. school here are the benefits and drawbacks of each option
Pros for school:
1. Graduate earlier.
2. Pay less tuition ( there’s probably going to be a tuition raise in sept)
3. Get cheap rent for the summer
4. Experience a summer in southern Ontario
5. Start a career earlier
6. The courses are good
Cons for school:
1. Miss out on January job fair.
2. Away from friends again
3. More loans
4. No experience added to resume
Pros for business:
1. Good experience
2. Possibility of good money
3. Impressive for the resume ( I can show off my code )
4. Finally learn some things I’ve wanted to do.
5. Access to the library all summer.
6. Improve skills before starting last two terms.
7. I’ll be around for the January job fair.
8. Chance to get French certificate
Cons for business:
1. Risky may not make any money
2. Depends on my work ethic
3. Have to move all my stuff back to NL
Ultimately the only thing that matters is which will result in more money in my pocket in the long run. Will the experience of running my own business help me land a better job upon graduation? Will the job fair give me a better job? How valuable is a French Certificate? Or will getting into the job market earlier be a better choice?