There is only 26 hours remaining in this year, and I won't have a chance to write this post tomorrow, so I decided to do it now. Just as last year, I want to take a look back at 2015 and reflect on what I did, what happened and how I feel about it all.
Since it's hard to put it into any order or structure, I will just highlight events and themes as they come to me.
Dreaded client work
I spent most of the first three and a half months just working on an app for a client. It was horribly paid, plus the ***hole ended up not paying me half of it (the lawsuit is still on-going).
I mentioned this one first because it affected me a lot for the rest of the year. In both negative and positive ways. It caused me an insane amount of stress, regret and headache. But I learnt a few very important things:
1) When your guts are telling you not to take it, DON'T TAKE IT.
My guts were literally screaming at me that this is a bad idea and that the guy is shady, but I ended up signing the contract anyway. Why? In huge part: because I needed the money. Which brings me to the next lesson:
2) Have some financial reserve.
Seriously. Since I am still trying to succeed as an independent iOS developer, it means that I spend a lot of time doing something that doesn't bring money right away. Until recently, with the often suboptimal client work, it meant that I had just enough money to pay the next one or two rents and not anything else. That pressured me into taking that job even though my senses were telling me to turn it down.
3) One bad decision can affect you for a long time.
Like I said, I spent over three months of excessive work on this thing, after which I got screwed over with the money. I regretted taking this job so much. I felt desperate and dumb for taking it. But the positive takeaway is that it made me truly realize that you have to be extra cautious what you are signing up for.
New app! Almost(?) here.
Back in June 2014, I decided I want to build an app around a simple yet (what it seemed like) brilliant idea. I started working on a prototype in December 2014. Because of the client work mentioned above, I only started working on the real thing in late March of this year.
It's centered around time tracking, and I think it's going to be awesome. It already provided a very interesting insight into my life and how I really spend my time. The problem? It's not released yet. I successfully missed every deadline that I ever set for myself. But the good news is that it's getting there. Currently, I am working on it on a side because I have a full time job, but more on that later.
Since I am practicing a new thing called "Giving myself at least some credit", I want to say here that I am proud of what I've accomplished so far in the app. I faced a lot of challenges, both technical and UX related, and I managed to overcome and solve most of them. There are still some parts of the app that need to be implemented, and some performance issues that need to be addressed, but I am slowly yet surely getting there.
See? I can also pat myself on the back, instead of just beating myself up over everything.
If you are interested, I talked about the app a lot in this post from September. In there, I also go into detail about the burnout that happened to me and that caused me to spend several weeks being ill and not working on the app for an entire month.
New job, new chapter.
As I just mentioned, I was in a pretty bad shape in September. I spent most of the three previous months working on the app. And while I made a lot of progress, I was still months from finishing it. And I run out of money completely. I knew I had to find a new source of income, and find it fast.
Fortunately, I received a job posting from a IT specialists sourcing company that looked very nice. I applied, they chose me, and at the end of September, I found myself sitting on a plane to Los Angeles. I spent two pretty amazing months there. You can read all about it in the previous 4 posts on this blog.
This is a new chapter because those two months of living on my own was a huge experience for me. I grew as a person, both professionally and spiritually. I am now more self-sufficient.
What's also great is that the salary is pretty good. It looks like I should be able to take most of the next year's off, and just focus on finishing my new app and doing everything that I can to make it successful.
In a way, I owe this job to the awful experience I had at the beginning of the year. If it wasn't that bad and if I did get paid, I probably wouldn't respond to this job posting. I wouldn't spend 2 months in LA, and I likely would've run out of money, just a few months later.
But the "What ifs" don't matter. I am in a pretty good position now, and I am very grateful for that.
6 years of trying, still not there yet
Though, I am not going to lie. It's not all that great. Even though I am very grateful for the job I have and the peace that it brings to my mind, it's not bringing me nearly as much fulfilment as working on my own stuff, my own way.
But the comforting thing for me is that it's still on. The dream of being indie is still there, in face of all the skepticism in our community. In spite of all the struggles, I am nowhere near giving up. To the contrary, with the leeway that I will have built up by the end of this current job (the end of February 2016), I plan to jump into it full-time. I want to let go of the past, and use my current skill set, current knowledge and current state of the App Store to my advantage. To put it simply: I am feeling optimistic now. It's still on!!
Apart from finishing the development of my new time tracking app, launching it into public and marketing it, plus publishing updates to all of my apps, I also want to travel more in 2016. Both for developer conferences and just for fun. I might also move out of "the nest", because it's more and more clear that I really should do it soon. I might also spend some part of the year working and living remotely from some exotic location (looking at you, Gran Canaria). I'll see how it all goes, but one thing's for sure: I can't wait for it all!
There is just a little over 24 hours remaining in this year now. I wish you all a great celebration of New Year's Eve and a happy new year! Don't let anyone tell you that you can't achieve your dreams, and don't assume someone will make it happen for you. As I said on this blog before: Listen to your guts, somehow they already know what's best for you.
Okay, I really need to finish now (way too tired). Cheers!