There are lots of books written by successful people looking backward at their careers and I always thought it would be cooler to have one from the perspective of someone when he’s down and out and clawing his way to the top. Of course that book would only become an interesting read if the author eventually became successful.
So I decided to do something similar by writing an annual “State of the Startup” post. The trouble is, being brutally honest is way too exposing (for me). Instead, I am going to write and post the content a year later. So if you are reading this, it has been a year since I wrote this.
When I refer to my “startup”, I’m referring generally to all the entrepreneurial work I’m doing in education. I don’t know if this venture will be a for-profit venture or a non-profit, and the project has taken on many names and has shifted in scope and form so much that it makes more sense to just call it “the startup”, or “education venture”, or “education site.”
State of the Startup: June 2016
I’d like to call today my entrepreneurial rock bottom. That is the interesting thing about “rock bottom” – you get to choose when it is. That sorta happened when I quit drinking, I chose when the bottom was. I’d say the same probably happened when I quit smoking weed. Not to come off like an anti-drug fanatic… I’d say hallucinogenic mushrooms are still on the menu. I think I’m getting off topic.
As a testament to my current frustrations, I must share that my laptop is burning my leg and my wrists are really hot too. This fucking laptop is powerful but damn it is not heat-efficient. That’s a struggle, using a shitty laptop, being too broke for a nice one. This one is nice, it’s got a video card but it’s also heavy and hot. I hate seeing all these college students with their slim and cozy $2,000 Macs at Starbucks that they use only to check email and Facebook. Yikes, I sound bitter.
OK… let’s try starting this thing over.
Where am I today? I turned 30 this year. As a kid, I remember setting some kind of goal that I’d be making $100,000 a year by the time I hit 30. I’m about 3 months into my 30th year and I think I’ve netted $5,000 so far, and so far only around $400 this month… I’m on a bit of a downswing. All I’ve got to do is make $95k in 6 months…. Not looking good. But how did I get to this point exactly…
Boston: A&J Biomedics
I started my first company when I was a senior In college. From conception to funding it was about 9 months. When my grandfather died, he left me $10k, so I had this unusual influx of cash that gave me a real cushion to pursue my startup with. After graduating, I did work as an online tutor and also debatably prostituted myself off to a divorced house wife depending on your perspective or legal definition of prostitution, but I mostly focused my time on getting the startup going. Within a year of having our idea, my partner and I raised a bunch of money, gave ourselves very small salaries (maybe $3500/month I think) and had a business.
We didn’t make a billion dollars as we’d hoped. There will likely be a separate post telling all the details of that adventure. There are many reasons it didn’t succeed, my mind can’t help but fixate on the fact that immediately after receiving funding, I ended up getting locked away in a psyche hospital for 10 days which pretty much was the equivalent of castration… that’s not the best way to launch a startup, but I’ve heard it’s not uncommon. As fast as I thought I would be Zuckerbeg, it was over.
We shut down operations. For the record we didn’t run out of money – we actually returned a third of the money to our investors. We threw in the towel… or quit. Yikes, hate to say the quit word. That’s being negative. We simple evaluated that to take the company to the next level, it would require additional investment, and based on what we’d discovered, we no longer believed the idea was viable. Some would say it took a lot of discipline to walk away without flushing all the money down the toilet. Or fear. Who knows – I have trouble with labels.
As a side note to entrepreneurs, I paid myself with a 1099 while working there. That turned out to be a bad move because when the company shut down, I wasn’t eligible for unemployment insurance. Keep that in mind.
San Diego: starting a school
I moved out to San Diego. When I first got there, I tried to start a school. In some ways that was my second startup but it was an incredibly short-lived dream. I packaged together a business plan and grant application and got rejected… and then… was like oops. My bad… that didn’t work. That was about 2-3 months of effort. Realistically I was pretty fucked up on weed and booze most of that summer, probably better I wasn’t allowed near the children. Went and got a job as a physics teachers. Was really excited about that. Really excited. And they fired me before I started for failing the drug test. I legitimately thought having a medical marijuana card, issued by the state of CA, would make it okay for me to smoke weed while working in a government position. That seemed rational to me. I was wrong.
San Diego: aeroponics farmer (manufacturing drugs)
So I immediately was in a bind. Was very broke at this point and didn’t have a job. I think I had a couple thousand bucks in the bank and probably $20-25k in student loans. Not a horrible situation but scary to be in a new place all alone and have no job. And I was probably drinking a bit like a wacko. Waking up occasionally in weird places. That’s not relevant to this story I don’t think. If I remember correctly, I moved from my studio apartment into a one-bedroom unit to grow weed in the bedroom and live in the living room. I was effectively paying $200 more, had more living space, and an entire room to grow weed in. I ran the numbers and it seemed like a solid deal financially. Luckily I got hired at a biotech company, made decent money, I think probably $4k/month (pre-taxes) and the weed operation didn’t take off into a real business. I did succeed in growing it though, pretty impressive, it’s the only thing plant I’ve ever actually grown. But I didn’t get into the business.
San Diego: working for “the man”
I enjoyed working at the biotech company. I liked the people and enjoyed the work. For the first time, I had a boss I liked. I made decent money. My apartment was pretty expensive though, I couldn’t really justify renting it if I wasn’t growing weed in it. I was at this job for about 7 months and then my “temp” period was up and I was to be converted to a full-time employee. When I was hired, I was told I would get a raise when that happened. They lied. What should have been my best day at that job was actually my worst. It was my first experience of getting a corporate dick up my ass. I don’t think I should use that expression cause prostate stimulation isn’t so bad, while this experience was quite painful. How about this… it was a corporate cock-catheter. Better?
I stayed at the job but I constantly felt the pain of the corporate catheter. It was interesting because at that company, the labs were upstairs where I hung out with the robots and the scientists and the offices were downstairs in ‘carpetland.’ And I felt this indescribable angst. I couldn’t pin point it at the time, but I later remember realizing the hypocrisy flat out: that I was working on an enzyme product for animal feed, the division was called “animal health and nutrition” and this enzyme was used in chicken feed to improve chicken health…. so the farmers’ chickens could get bigger, faster, and stronger so they could kill them and get more meat. “Animal health and nutrition” was really… the opposite.
San Diego: American Relight
In the fall of 2011, I met a guy on a golf course who was interesting… he was looking to start a company in the LED business replacing companies lights with energy efficient LEDs. Our company would pay for them, the client would get theirs free, and we’d get paid back out of the energy savings. I loved the idea. I became mildly obsessed with the idea probably. I think I was just excited to have my brain working in entrepreneur-mode again. Very quickly, I raised money for this venture – within 6 month of the idea coming up – and quit my corporate job. Made the same pay, $4k/month, but now had ownership in a company. I should have negotiated for a bigger piece of it – I really undervalued myself. That is a trend in my entrepreneurially life…
About a year later, we found ourselves acquiring one of the fastest growing companies in the US. While it sounds impressive, it doesn’t mean things were necessarily going well. We didn’t have huge sales and I was increasingly uncomfortable with my partners and the directions things were heading. It never would have occurred to me to acquire another business but I was led to believe this is “how business is done” and went along with it. I figured I might as well trust some of these older people, I specifically got brought older people into this business after my first startup where it was just me and my college buddy. I hoped having experienced entrepreneurs involved would increase our chances of success.
Immediately after the acquisition, I was kicked out of the company. The older people I had hired had fucked me in the arse. Or, better yet, they stuck their dicks inside my urethra. I like that analogy better because we again avoid demonizing the prostate, and I also get to claim their dicks were so small they could fit inside my urethtra.
And I did not get rich. I got no cash. Was fired. Nothing. Zero. Zip. I can’t emphasize how destructive this was. When the deal closed, I had a signed employment contract for about $7k/month and a $62,500 check coming to me – and I was going to be playing a key role in a fast-growing company developing healthy lighting products. And…. magically I woke up and had zero. My world flipped upside down. And not only did I have no money… I had no job… and no company! Even my stock was diluted down immediately so I now owned about 3% of the new company. And it seemed that it was my own “older, experienced” people I hired who catheterized me. I think the company we acquired may have played a role in my getting catheterized as well… who knows.
I had nothing. Ended up in the hospital twice that month with heart problems. Thought maybe I had died one night. Had some hallucinations and weird experiences for a couple weeks too. That was cool. Became a vegetarian. When people ask why I became a vegetarian, it’s hard to explain that I felt I was hurt so badly by people I trusted that I had a revelation that I wanted to do no harm in the world and one logical step would be to stop eating animals.
Getting started in alternative education
But that’s when I got the idea of an educational startup. I wanted to make a website where people would make cool educational videos, particularly sketch comedy. This was early 2013. Reddit had blown up as a social news site where a community curated the content. Kids were all over YouTube making funny videos. Khan Academy was blowing up with their (boring) educational lessons. And the TV show Tosh.0 was out where a celebrity was getting viewers to submit content to try and be the next “viewer video of the week”. It was obvious to me we could crowdsource education and make it fun.
In two weeks time, I wrote a major grant, and wrote it really poorly. It was an embarrassment – but there was value in the fact that the grant panel had to review the grant and give me feedback on the idea.
I was feeling weird and kinda hallucinating and manic-ish and wanting to see family and jobless and all this stuff. I was actually living in my old office – which sounds bad – it wasn’t really bad. Our old office was huge and had a shower and a little kitchen and had an ocean view and a big balcony. It was cheap. The building was run down. But it was dope as fuck in my opinion! So that was really cool but also really weird with everything going on.
I should mention a couple months before I got catheterized by my partners, I had started doing standup comedy. And in my vision for this education company, I really wanted to make content. I wanted to make funny educational videos. So it was this thing where I really felt the value would be in all the use-generated content, but I also wanted to create content of my own, likely as a way to promote the platform.
So I head back home, summer of 2013. I’ve probably got $5k to my name.
Teaching high school physics
I’m back in New England, and I find a job teaching high school physics making about $5k a month – I was able to take all my work experience and convert it to teaching experience since they had a shortage for physics. So I came in at a pay as if I had been teaching for 5 years. Turns out I was the only one who had ever read their own contract and nobody else had transferred their years of experience- HA! I was much better with this paperwork than I was with our company’s acquisition.
About a month into teaching and I got notice my grant was rejected – super rejected – they hated it. Didn’t even make sense to re-submit at that point, I had little to improve on. But I was teaching freshman physics and I loved that. Loved the kids. Loved the material. It was stressful preparing materials and all that. And oh ya – the school admins bullshitted me big time – when I was hired, they told me I had full control over my curriculum, which was exciting and intimidating. My first day, they hand me a test and say ‘You’re kids must pass this at the end of the year or they don’t graduate.” WTF??
Suddenly I was a prison guard. And I was having lots of issues. Heart was racing a lot and making me super paranoid. I couldn’t sleep, my heart would pound and I kept thinking I’d die. I’d be up all night and 6am would roll around and I couldn’t bring myself to go to work like that, so I missed a bunch of days. Got paid for them. Ended up leaving at the halfway point and taking a consulting job.
Not teaching high school physics
I can’t really talk about the consulting job cause it’s all confidential. But it paid about $5k/month.
I mention my pay along the way to give a general idea of where I was financially as an entrepreneur. I made steady money at these jobs though there was often gaps between jobs without pay or being on unemployment. I never sold a company. When I raised money, I’d get a salary but I didn’t get a bunch of cash as part of the deals.
So I was consulting and started thinking about the education project again. And I was doing stand-up. And I was going a bit nuts that year, it was 2014. Two hospitalizations that year for psychiatric stuff. On the plus side, I made a handful of crazy physics sketch comedy videos and felt ready to start my venture. By November, I think I had $20k saved up. I quit the consulting position, released my videos, and pursued this online education platform.
The launch of Mission: Physics
Very quickly, the whole venture became about peer-to-peer learning. I don’t remember exactly when that happened. But that was a huge difference. But this company had no way of making money. I did a crowdfunding event and thought money would fall from the sky but it did not.
Boom – suddenly I had a startup with no income and I was really all-in on it.
On the plus side, we ran our first student video lesson contest that December of 2014 and got one truly awesome video from some teens in Ohio. I’ll post that here as a highlight:
I believed in what I was doing more than ever before. But had no real plan on how to execute.
The winter passed. No money coming in. Now it’s 2015. I raised a little sponsorship money in the spring, a couple grand, but I was bleeding money with living expenses and no way of making money off this thing.
Mission: Physics becomes Open Source High
I was accepted into an entrepreneur mentorship program in Springfield, MA. Great people, really supportive, they seemed to like my idea. At this point, I was getting students to submit video lessons through contests and spending quite a bit of money on it. And time. I was on twitter sending tweets all over the place. Blasting email lists for physics teachers (the site was strictly physics in the beginning.) Just kinda flapping all around trying and trying. Sending press releases to all the local papers when we had winners. Phoning audio/video equipment companies about sponsorships and University physics departments. Wasn’t really working though.
By the summer, I had to take a job teaching LEGO engineering to elementary school kids. I think I made about $2k/month and was spending around $2400/month. The job was a lot of fun. But I barely paid my bills and was working nonstop between the LEGO company and the startup.
The Fall came – our website improved, at least, but still no way of making money. My mentors were bummed that I wasn’t focusing on generating revenue, I was all about focusing on the students – get more students, get more students – do what all the dot-com startups do – get a shitload of users and worry about making money on it later. Well that was a bummer… my hours were cut teaching Lego in the fall. I had no money and no money coming in. At this point, I had cashed in any 401K money or teachers retirement fund. Everything. Not that there was much. A couple grand here or there. Not big money just scraping together.
Starting as a freelance web developer
In November I started doing freelance web development, mostly building WordPress sites. I had started making websites when I was 10 but didn’t keep up with technology over the years. That was the late 90’s and websites were easy, things had advanced a lot. But I picked it up from building my education platform. So I started responding to people’s posts on craigslist in the ‘Gigs” section asking for help with their website. I had hired people this way in the past, so now I was on the opposite end as the developer.
I’d email tons of people, basically had no portfolio to show. So I made some websites for myself. I made a personal website, I made a page for my stand-up comedy, and pulled out our old LED lighting website.
I didn’t mention comedy at all in this blog post. But I had done one big show in early 2014 and another in 2015. I thought I had real skills. I could perform well but writing the jokes was much harder. But I had the performance side down. I thought it could help to promote this education site… somehow… Couldn’t I be Tosh? If I had his star-power, I could get kids to submit educational videos, and boom, we’d have this thing.
I got one gig websiting very quickly. Made a little money. But not much. Was bouncing around to Airbnb’s with my girlfriend. Because I was now a freelance web developer, and she was a travel therapist, we both saw an opportunity to pursue our dreams of traveling
Winter came – not much growth in the online education site, it still makes no money… none. And it costs money. I don’t have time to chase down sponsors. It’s just me funding it. My program at the mentorship program ended. Looking back, I wonder if people were disappointed in me. I didn’t listen enough I bet. I should have focused on making money from the venture. Maybe. I have learned a lot.
Becoming a digital nomad
My girlfriend and I took off for the west coast. I was broker than shit. I should mention, at this stage I had probably $2k in the bank, was spending $2500 a month, was making $1500 a month, and had about $8k in credit card debt. The credit card debt isn’t as scary as it sounds, because I had most of it at 0% interest. I have a personal and a business card and they both offer these “0% for 18 months’ deals, so I keep bouncing the balance between them. But obviously that doesn’t last forever, I try not to fall into that hole…
We get out to the west coast. At first, my web development gigs were going well. It actually looked like I was pulling this thing off. I made more money every month between December 2015 and April 2016. Which made sense as I was new to freelancing. And the education website was getting better. More videos coming in and I was spending less money on it. That part was a great accomplishment, I was understanding the students more, and spending less money. But overall – making no money off it. And no true gameplan. I just knew peer learning was the solution to save the world of education and kept fighting.
During March and April I rented a room at an ‘intentional community’ in San Diego. I wanted to be at the beach but this place worked out really well. Picked up meditation as a practice which I’d wanted to get into for a while. Was a great community and I loved the people. It was a very positive experience. But I missed my girlfriend who was up in central California (fucking hot!!!!) and so I moved up there. I realize now that saying “fucking hot” means I’m saying she’s hot… and she is… but I am referring to the temperature. This was not coastal California, it was central CA and it was pretty shitty place.
I moved in May 1st. The place I moved into was not good. It was an older woman renting a room in her house. There were ants all over the kitchen. There was only a bathtub, not shower, I had to use her shower. Meaning I had to go through her bedroom every time I showered. Which made for uncomfortable circumstances sometimes cause she was at that age where she’d be lying naked cleaning herself up after pooping in a diaper and I’d come strolling by to shower.
And suddenly – no web development business. Suddenly I had no clients. I’m not sure what happened. Something must have.
And then – the cock roach. I was sleeping and had something tickle my leg. I woke up and noticed “something”. Then a little while later I awoke and had it on my face. I freaked out, smacked it to the ground, but being a peaceful guy, scooped it on paper and brought it outside. How could I sleep worrying about that again? My girlfriend had stayed at some places and she was really paranoid about bugs and I never fully got it… until now. I tried going to sleep in my truck but that was super uncomfortable.
So I setup my camping tent on the bed. And I’ve been sleeping in a tent for the last month. In a bedroom. Yep.
The last month I worked my ass off to re-submit the grant from 3 years ago. It took a lot of work. I am grateful for a huge amount of help from my girlfriend. Along the path of this story, I met a great programmer friend in Connecticut who has been very helpful and is our technical advisor. One of the mentors from the mentorship program has joined up as a business development advisor. I need to listen to him more. I got a coupe professors I networked with in Chicago to come on to do a research study to see if our idea works. They contributed to the grant as well. And I got letters of support from the head of the mentorship program, a teacher in DC, and an old professor from BU. Did I mentioned I flew out to DC last month from California to meet with the grant program officers? Yikes – all this… lotta dedication to make something happen.
Submitting the grant forced a lot of things to come into writing. And now I’ve got a document with a plan. I know there are things that I want to do differently than what’s written. But it’s something and it’s strong. I sent it to a venture capitalist who I’m trying to get to mentor me. That could go somewhere. I have an angel investor in Boston who took some interest in the project. And I’ve met with a CEO of an ed-tech startup in the Bay Area that was just acquired who is interested.
But really… I have very little in hand. The website makes no money. And this month was the first month I didn’t run a video contest. We had our most successful one last month, in May, and then I stopped. It was a distraction maybe… was it good to stop?… I don’t know. But I’ve gotta change stuff up.
As I sit here, I made about a grand last month and spent $2,800 – remember the trip to DC is included in there. This month, I’ve made about $500 so far and we’re halfway through. Debt is building. And cash is running low, I’ve got about $1,800 in my bank account. There’s a chance I’ve got $4k hidden in an envelope in the basement of my parents house. I think that money is there but I don’t remember perfectly. I have a tendency/history of hiding money from myself. As for debt, I think I’m at $9k.
Not a great situation. A website that’s currently had its lowest month of traffic. Less money coming in than ever before. More debt than ever before. My expenses are pretty low right now because I’m not doing any big trips and I’m not running a video contest. But this is it folks… bottom of the barrel.
I’m not frantic. I’m not sure what I am. I’m sort of calm. I am optimistic. I am not running around manic. I’m slightly depressed definitely. I went skateboarding this weekend though and it helped a lot. And went surfing a couple weeks ago. Trying to get myself mentally stronger. But things are pretty low – I’m sitting next to that tent. And my laptop is sitting on my lap, burning my fucking legs, my wrists and fingers hurt.
I did start the Entrepreneurs Anonymous site a couple weeks ago. That’s cool but not many people using it.
So what’s next? Do I have a plan? Sort of.
First- I’m not sure what I’m doing in July. It’s June 19 and my room is up July 1. My girlfriends contract is up July 1. We want to be in New England the first week of August for a week of vacation with my family down in Rhode Island. So we’ve gotta get from California to New England. That’s a week-long roadtrip. Which means less time for work and more expenses. And we want to do some fun things before we leave California… so we’re trying to figure out how to work in some fun adventures.
OH – ya—by a plan, you probably are wondering how the fuck I’m gonna make some money and get this thing going.
I’ve got a couple moves. First – with the web development. I’m going to try something new. Instead of emailing people on craigslist looking for gigs, I’m going to phone call specific companies. And just use basic templates to build their sites. Rather than going on craigslist where people are asking for something and then I’m competing with a bunch of people and it’s like race to be the cheapest, I’m going to start calling small businesses with pretty much pre-made websites. And sell those. And maybe then even sell them hosting at like $20/month. Could actually turn into a real passive income for once in my life. Or it may fail. And then…. No money.
For the startup? I’m not running a video contest. And the grant is submitted. So now it’s wide open. I’ve got an intern writing SEO for the website to hopefully bring in more viewers. I just talked to a girl who had her own ‘student made video’ platform a few years ago and she may bring her 100+ videos to our site. That would be great. But I gotta get viewers to come. I think that’ll happen through homeschoolers so I’m interviewing homeschool parents. I went on reddit and asked if I could interview unschoolers. I got one response and that person referred me to two more, and that led to a few more.
I’m going to reach out to film colleges too. See if they want to sponsor us because we have a real niche that is interesting to them. That could mean money for larger video contest and also some for my pocket. I need to get viewers to the site. I think that would come if we had a whole subject covered, right now the video lessons are all over the place scattered around. So I’d like to have physics totally completed so I can get viewers, maybe homeschoolers. I also learned math is huge in demand and had previously avoided it cause it’s boring but now maybe I should face that, get students to make a sweet math curriculum, and finally have viewers. I can cost-effectively get studenst to make awesome content – but now the next stage comes.
I’m looking to rebuild the site on a WordPress platform. That would let me add things like chat and white boards and possibly a Marketplace. A marketplace would let me get students to sell things, which could mean revenue. If there is revenue, someone may invest.
You may be wondering why I haven’t had investors yet if I did with my other companies. One major reason is I have no revenue and no true revenue plan. That makes it hard to attract investors. I also don’t have a solid plan and want to stay flexible to be able to pivot, and I fear getting an investment would lock me into a plan. And I need to be able to adapt.
I’ve also thought of doing a Kickstarter. I’ve built a much larger network over the last year than I had when I first started. I tried my first crowdfunding hoping for magic back in 2014 but it fell flat. I think now I’d be much more comfortable promoting and fundraising and have more support.
And now that I submitted that grant, I have a document… I could try and pass that around to investors for some angel funding.
There’s also a chance I’ll get involved in LEDs again as there’s a company working on health-lighting and my background in biomedical engineering and my passion to help trapped people in psych wards, prisons, nursing homes, and schools could make me money there.
And did I mention I’m in a lawsuit with the company that kicked me out?? Ya – that was 3 years ago and there’s a lawsuit now. Of course no progress on that. I have a lawyer on contingency, but it’s all out of my hands, confusing, and may lead to nothing. And ya, I’m in a lawsuit with a company I started. Sort of started. Depending on how you look at it. We acquired a bigger company, so they look at it that it’s their company…. I look at it like it’s my company still. In either case, I know I got catheterized… and I’ve tried so hard to get involved and participate and they just don’t want me or like me or trust me or something. I don’t know why I try to be so nice, it’s definitely caused me a lot of trouble. Seems like the cut-throat business people succeed more, I’m just this ‘nice guy’ who wants everything to be great and to change the world and everyone can be happy and make some money.
Yet it’s left me with none. And me and my tent.
So now, I am going to go cook some eggs and spinach – the groceries I got from Wal-Mart. In a kitchen where there are ants everywhere.
Yet I still believe in the future….. and if you are reading this now, I am guessing that things have gotten much better. But I also thought that a year ago. A year ago I was just starting to teach Lego engineering. I had very little to show on the website. And very little money. So… things are actually much better here as long as you don’t look at the bank statements.
It’s hard – you need to measure success with something other than bank statements. That’s a big challenge….
Even as I say that…..
Let’s hope a year from now the bank statements do look better.
Time to go eat eggs and then go to open mic….. maybe when you read this I’ll be on tour?
PS: Just woke up after writing this and felt compelled to add a few extra notes. Monday’s are always tough as reality faces me once again and I’m overwhelmed with the task at hand. I remembered how my truck is falling apart. It’s got body damage on the front right and both rear fenders. The drivers air bag is busted and the A/C went at the end of last summer. And now there is a leak somewhere and coolant is leaking. I’ve got to sell it while I’m out here on the west coast because 1) it may not make it across country and 2) a rear-wheel drive truck has more value out in CA than in CT.
I’ve been considering my credit cards a lot. I’ve got a total limit for about $40k, which I’ve never imagined using. I’m at about $9k right now. In theory, I could live off those for almost a year and focus 100% of my energy on my startup. And then if it doesn’t work out – just file bankruptcy. As a digital company, I’m not sure there is anything the bank could take from me. A bunch of code? A domain name? I could transfer ownership of that pretty easy. And it doesn’t generate revenue anyways.
I do believe if I had the focus I have now to work on this full-time I’d take it somewhere. I’m significantly distracted by trying to make money as a freelance developer and struggling financially in a huge way. I’m doing my web-cam conference calls from my rented room with the computer angled and facing the wall behind me so nobody can see the tent. I often use Starbucks as my office but it’s actually pretty noisy for phone calls.
And the day begins….