Tomorrow morning, I am heading to the airport and leaving for 2 months. I am both excited and quite nervous. But before I get to that, let me rewind a bit.
I wrote an update on my current situation 6 months ago, so I thought I would briefly cover those past 6 months up until now.
I've started working on the new app that I'd been teasing on this blog a lot, and in the beginning, it went really well. I was making tons of progress and things were going well. I went to sleep thinking about it and couldn't wait for the morning to continue working on it. It was awesome.
Or, to be more precise, this feeling of doing meaningful work was awesome. But not everything was that great. There was this constant worry about how I will make at least enough money to pay the bills. I wrote some articles for Tuts+ and that helped a lot, but still.. The guy that I worked for in Spring ended up not paying me almost half of the money, and in hindsight, that really screwed everything.
I tried to convince myself that I won't let him ruin this for me, and that I will finish the app just in time for iOS 9 and watchOS 2 release dates. At least that was the plan.
During the course of June/July/mid August, I worked on the app a lot. And I loved it. I made so much progress. It was literally coming to life under my hands. It was amazing.
But as I usually do, I probably went a bit too far with it in the first half of August. I worked relentlessly. Then I got sick. And looking back at it now, I was probably burned out a bit. Because I was under a lot of pressure - I knew that if I want to release it in September, I had to move fast. And obviously, I underestimated the technical difficulty of almost all things that I worked on in the app. Plus, there was this constant worry about the lack of money.
Then, in the third week of August, I attended a week long cycling event in Šumava mountains. It was really great, and I thought I will get the motivation back. But I didn't. And the money run out..
In the fourth week of August, I've hit a major roadblock with the app. It turns out that the most important component of it is just not fast enough. It is lagging during scroll. I've tried a lot of things to improve the performance but I quickly realized that it will take a lot of work and effort to figure it out. Since it was becoming apparent that I won't make be able to release it before iOS 9 is shipped, I was really disappointed. And mad. Plus, I got sick, again.
Then I tried to finish Routie 2.10 with watchOS 2 complications and iOS 9 compatibility, but failed to finish it soon enough. After attending iOSDevUK (which was really good, by the way), I was just too tired for several days to work on the update, and when I finally did and I finished it, it was already one day before the release date of iOS 9. So it was clear that it won't get reviewed by Apple in time (they actually rejected the update today, but that's for another post). In addition to that, I got sick again. It took over a week to get rid of it.
I can only take it so long
I feel like ever since the illness back in the middle of August, I was just burned out. I've stretched myself too much for too long, and I couldn't do it anymore. This narrative was starting to develop. I started questioning if the app is even any good. And I slowly stopped believing that I will ever be able to solve the performance issues. I simply lost the motivation, the drive. And I knew that I have to take a job, because I ran out of money completely.
In early September, I've received a newsletter from a headhunting company about a position in Slovakia. The job description looked interesting and the salary was great, so I thought "Why not?", and sent them my resume.
Long story short, they chose me and I decided to go for it. Because of the bad financial situation, I had to take a job in all scenarios. And even though this one is for three months (which is longer that I originally hoped for), it still seemed like the best option. And the great thing about it - two of those three months will be in Los Angeles! How cool is that?
Am I a sell-out?
Ever since I started building apps, I always knew that I want to be an indie. I wanted to do things my own way. I wanted to have my own customers and I wanted to delight them with my products.
So taking a full-time job feels a bit like turning my back on everything that I ever stood for. But.. There is the but, and it's a big one. This 'money' situation was a huge drain. And I had to become a more realistic. Routie won't suddenly start making tons of money, and the new app is months away from release.
So a job was a necessity. What's great about this one, though, is that I will get to live in Los Angeles for two months. I will meet new people, explore new place, and it will just be huge experience that will hopefully move me forward, and provide me with completely new perspective on life, me, my work, and simply everything. Plus, I will make enough money to be able not to worry about them for the next ~year (as long as I won't be spending excessively). And I am hoping that this will allow me to truly focus on building the new app, marketing it, releasing it and nurturing it with updates.
So, in my opinion, this is not me selling out. This is a necessary step that I had to make. It's a bit scary, I admit. But I believe (and hope) everything will be ok. And after that, I plan to jump into my own apps. Hopefully, with the new perspective, it will go much better.
This two-months long trip will definitely be transformative for my life. I am sure of that. When I'll get back, I won't be the same. And that's a bit scary, because I don't know the person that will come back. I just have to trust my instincts that this was a good choice.
It's late evening now and I will be heading to the airport tomorrow morning, so not a lot of time left. The travel fever is already at 120%. And I am not going to lie, I am nervous. But at the same time, I am confident that this is the right choice. I am ready to do this.
I wanted to make a vow here:
The dream that I had is still here. In spite of all the struggles and failures, it's still alive. I want to make a vow that I won't let it go during those two months. I will hang onto it tight. And once I get back, I will do everything I can to make it a reality. I won't stop pursuing it. I won't walk away. I won't sell out.
As I said, I will fly to LA tomorrow morning. I hope to write a couple of posts during my stay there. I am sure there will be plenty to write about. But I don't want to promise anything, because I know how those promises usually end..