This is a follow up to my original post that I made a little over a year ago - IamaA small business owner - A year ago I quit my day job to run my own software company, and turned a profit! - AMA

A lot has changed in the last year, and keeping a business running is a very different affair to starting it up. So AMA about running a business, keeping it running, and what's changed over the last year.

Proof: https://twitter.com/CubeCoders/status/640252867614539776

Bonus: Album of the new office!

Edit: There will be a roughly two hour interlude while I do some travelling, but I promise I will answer every single question I get as soon as I can.

Edit2: I'm back and answering again.

Edit3: You're collectively asking questions faster than I can answer them, so I do apologise if it takes me a day or two to reply, but I will.

Edit4: Off to sleep in a bit, it has gone 3:30AM. I'll resume when I wake up :)

Edit5: Back again!

Comments: 760 • Responses: 91  • Date: 

NorbitGorbit241 karma

which bookkeeping and licensing and basic drudgery sides of the business do you wish someone else took care of?

PhonicUK280 karma

Not much actually. I use a local accounting firm that take care of the businesses tax affairs, payroll, and general reporting to the appropriate authorities.

Licencing is fully automated and I never have to touch it after I built my licence system. An order comes in via Paypal, my servers are notified, a licence is generated and sent to the user along with a formal PDF invoice. No problem. The same system can also be queried for VAT receipt reports each quarter.

The only real pain that I wish someone else took care of is the categorization of expenses. There's a spreadsheet in a particular format that goes to the accountant for each financial year, and it's a slightly slow process getting all of the outgoing expenses into it and putting them all into the right category. It's probably actually something that could be automated, but its only something that has to be updated every few months (taking about 2/3 hours) so I can't really justify the time cost building software to do it.

What I really bemoan is a proper universal 'invoice' file format that's always issued as standard. There's still a manual process to copy data from invoices into something more machine handleable, be it a spreadsheet or dedicated bookkeeping software.

barn-owl24 karma

Stripe is (in my humble opinion) much better than PayPal and I'd recommend FreeAgent to handle those expenses - you can set up a live feed from your bank account and it'll have a crack at categorising outgoing payments if it can, letting you either approve it or change the category :)

PhonicUK42 karma

Paypal still has the overwhelming majority of end user mind share though. Most people have heard of paypal but comparatively few outside of those who are tech literate know of Stripe.

barn-owl7 karma

That's very true, and it's sad that that's a self-perpetuating truth!

PhonicUK13 karma

Indeed. It also doesn't help that businesses have no incentive to offer multiple platforms. The more money you put through a platform the better the rates they give (so I don't pay Paypals standard rate on each transaction, I have a more favourable rate) so you'd lose or reduce that advantage if you split your userbase across different payment platforms.

mydutyto3 karma

Which business automation software did you use?

PhonicUK21 karma

I wrote my own. I used to work for a financial services company so I was reasonably happy doing it myself.

hostViz0r115 karma

Shit man, that's the kind of thing I want to do.

I'm in my sandwich year of a Comp Sci course and as much as I love/miss uni, nothing would make me happier than the business I'm opening this year to be successful so I could just do this forever!

Any advice to someone starting out?

PhonicUK275 karma

Build something that solves a problem you have and for which there either isn't an existing solution, or the existing solution(s) aren't suitable (cost, quality, etc). Once you've got the 'guts' working to solve your own problem, make it pretty, make it friendly, then sell it.

Even if you don't make any money off it, at least you solve your own problem in the process.

Ibuildtsomthing7 karma

Hi PHonicUK, I am still in college right now, last semester me and my friend made a project to help local business and student connect to each other, but what we found is that local business only wanted to use the software if there are students using it and the students only wanted to use the product if there are businesses using it, its a chicken and egg problem and we don't know what to do, can you give us some advice?

PhonicUK18 karma

Give it to both ends for free for a limited time and only require them to commit financially if it gets taken up.

skreamy3 karma

What was 'your' problem?

PhonicUK6 karma

Wanting to manage game servers remotely.

pav1376 karma

What advice would you give to someone who wants to learn programming? Maybe certain classes, online resources? I'm not election anything crazy in depth but a good start would help.

PhonicUK163 karma

This is tricky actually because I started such a long time ago that I don't know where I'd suggest to start if you were getting into it for the first time today. I've been learning to code (and you never stop learning) for over 21 years now and a lot has changed.

What I'd say is that the language(s) you chose to learn aren't as important as a solid understanding of the theory involved. Although I will say that learning a language that uses static typing instead of dynamic typing will prevent you learning some really bad habits.

I'd also suggest the project based approach. Decide on something you want to build, and learn what you need as you go along. Make lots of mistakes, throw away all your work several times and be prepared to invest a lot of time. Unfortunately programming as a skill has a really long ramp up time between day 0 and basic competence.

Robiticjockey56 karma

The difference between successful small (and even sometimes big) software producers and ones that fail is often the ability to know when to step back and do a complete re-write, and when to patch/improve the existing code base to meet deadlines.

Apple and IBM have both proven effective at this. Apple often decides to not care about backwards compatibility (see OSX) which allowed them to do a rather large re-write and produce more efficient code. Microsoft has a lot of overhead and other financial issues with each release because corporate users put so much pressure on them to keep things compatible.

IBM has been incredibly effective at abandoning whole efforts to focus on the new hottest things. It's why they've survived from being a typewriter company to what they are today.

PhonicUK27 karma

Indeed. My new software AMP actually started off as a rewrite of the old software, I wish I'd done it a year earlier though.

Robiticjockey16 karma

A year earlier you may have had other deadlines and staffing issues. That's always been one of my biggest problems as I've moved in to management. Younger me thought management was clueless because the decisions they made - when to use exisiting technology, older technology, or newer technology - didn't always make sense.

Now I understand there are times when a product 100% has to work by a particular deadline, if that means I've got to use code from a decade ago that has been field tested and hardened for sections, even if in theory a re-write in C++ or python could provide the same service in much slimmer and better documented code, I've still got to use the resources on the old code. Because I know it works.

When I get things with semi-flexible deadlines, or a contract where field failure with follow-up servicing is acceptable, then I push for the new things. Generally they work, but with some customers - who generally pay the bills - failure is simply not an option.

Of course anymore I'm writing reports and figuring out budgets, and only get to spend about half my time doing engineering. I wonder what the young guys think of me...

PhonicUK11 karma

Indeed, a year earlier I was a lot busier building my customer base. But since the new software I'm building is slowly gaining traction it looks like I'll manage to come out on top again.

Robiticjockey2 karma

Are you managing a team of coders or still mostly a one man shop?

PhonicUK7 karma

One man shop. I did have someone working for me for a short while, but it was only ever going to be a short term thing to help me speed things along and he was largely in it for the experience.

stranger56670 karma

How does an unknown company go from not making anything to making a profit when it comes to marketing your product?

Also do you have any tips on becoming successful later in life?

PhonicUK91 karma

Mine had the advantage in that I had software I'd already made and was well known in its community before the company existed, and as the associated community grew so did awareness of my software. So I got to skip the whole reputation building problem.

Never stop learning would be my tip.

twiddlingbits27 karma

Is that bottom line profit after all taxes are paid? How about Cash flow? are you making enough to grow the business to the next level? I assume you are not paying yourself as most startup owners don't so how are you surviving? Is there going to be margin to pay yourself at some point when your savings runs out?

PhonicUK80 karma

You pay tax on profits rather than your total revenue, you can't usually have a situation where you're in the black but taxes put you in the red (unless you've been extremely unclever). Cash flow hasn't ever really been a problem since even my big commercial customers pay in advance each month and it's all fully automated billing, so no late payments.

I've actually been paying myself a comfortable amount (mostly in dividends rather than salary for tax reasons) the entire time. I've been building my personal savings rather than using them. The reason this is possible is because the software I made and started selling I actually built before I started my business. So I kinda did things backwards in that respect. The company made money and was able to pay me on day 0.

karmapolice2720 karma

How do u pay yourself in dividends verse a salary?

MosesIsActuallyNeo14 karma

Im guessing since he is (at least partially) shareholder of his company.

So hes not on payroll - or earning 0 - but gets money paid out from profits made by his company (and therefore only if he gets profits).

PhonicUK30 karma

Sole shareholder, am on the payroll for what's called a 'directors salary' which is just below some of the various tax thresholds.

PhonicUK7 karma

You pay both typically.

Payroll is a deductible business expense, but beyond a certain point starts to have additional overhead costs, so you pay yourself up to that point - and the rest you pay yourself in dividends.

Dividends for various reasons have a lower rate of tax than normal salaried income. Here in the UK we also have a tax free threshold (your first £10K of income is untaxed) so you use that up first too and just pay tax on the dividends.

peanutismint4 karma

Question about your question: I've often heard it said that startup owners don't 'pay themselves'. What does this mean in practice? Is it just that they don't take any of the money earned in the first few years and live off savings etc. until the business starts turning a profit?

oilmoney1320 karma

Not my business to answer but the last thing you want to do is skim money from a new business, your business needs that cash to grow larger, pay down debt, advertise, and possibly hire employees. Initially the profits are not there to support you! So many people make this mistake. Watch an episode of shark tank and see the respect from the sharks when they ask the budding entrepreneurs how much they're paying themselves and they reply nothing and then watch the scorn when they say, only $100000 a year...

peanutismint10 karma

Haha yeah I understand that, but I'm curious as to where they're getting cash to buy gas to actually COME IN to work for that first year...is it safe to assume it's always that they just live off their previously saved pot of cash until such time as they can afford to take a salary from the profit? Or is it some other tax loophole thing where they do take money but they don't call it 'paying themself'??

Busybodii4 karma

I think a lot of people start businesses while employed. OP quit his job after making the product. You work and build the business until you have enough saved where you can not get a paycheck for a while and have a projected date of when you think you will be able to pay yourself. Or you quit when it can pay you enough to live, if it isn't too time consuming.

peanutismint5 karma

Ah I see. I need to speak to my accountant about the whole 'dividends' thing. A friend who works in the tax office (UK) told me about the loophole in question - pay yourself just under the tax threshold and then take the rest of your salary in dividends and you pay no tax...?! Sounds too good to be true, but I think you need to go through a whole mess of crap to declare yourself a Limited Company which opens up a whole other can of worms....

PhonicUK2 karma

Dividends are still taxed. Just at a lower rate than normal income.

LawOfExcludedMiddle25 karma

What type of software did you sell? Or are you a contractor?

PhonicUK46 karma

I have products that I make, maintain and sell. It's server management software, the common theme is I make complex tasks something that can be performed by the layman via a pretty user-interface in a browser.

LawOfExcludedMiddle78 karma

via a pretty user-interface

The most important part of any software. ;)

PhonicUK70 karma

For the layman it really is. While professionals will take something that's lacking in aesthetics as long as it's functional, your Joe Average leans very much towards the opposite end and prefers something attractive even if it's more limited in functionality. I'm painting with a pretty broad brush of course.

It's also something that scores very highly in user satisfaction surveys. There's less buyers remorse for very attractive software than something that looks like it's from the 90s even if it does it's job well.

LawOfExcludedMiddle29 karma

That is why I could never be a lone software engineer. I need someone else to do the UI stuff, I honestly don't care about it.

[goes back to reading the source code of webpages I downloaded in a UI-less Arch Linux]

PhonicUK58 karma

Have a play with KnockoutJS - for front end stuff, it's template engine really reduces the amount of work needed to build nice UIs. Combined with a UI framework like Bootstrap it'd be pretty hard to make a really ugly UI.

lecherous_hump9 karma

What tasks?

PhonicUK26 karma

So it's mostly surrounding game servers (although that's not my exclusive focus). Typical tasks include automated updates, scheduling tasks like backups, exposing application-specific settings via the web UI (as opposed to hand-editing config files or command-line flags), kicking/banning/managing players. The list is pretty long and depends a lot on the type of application being handled.

So if a user wanted to do something like get a push notification on their phone if their game server dies unexpectedly (and is subsequently automatically restarted) - that's a couple of mouse clicks via the scheduler.

allkill8 karma

Where can I buy it?

PhonicUK29 karma

http://cubecoders.com/AMP - That's the new software I'm building. It's the 'big brother' to an older piece of software I made called McMyAdmin which was specific to Minecraft servers. AMP supports lots of different things via a plugin system. It still leans pretty strongly towards game servers but that will change over time.

ninjacha8 karma

How do you feel about pirating? Specifcally people pirating your software.

PhonicUK73 karma

Not too bad as it happens. Piracy hasn't really been too much of a problem for me, something I largely attribute to always having a free version where possible (not a demo, fully featured but with some caveats/limitations).

DMCA requests are enough to deal with 'casual' piracy. If you're in a state where a passer-by can't simply Google a cracked version and get a reliable link quickly and easily then you're 99% of the way there. If they end up having to go do dodgy forums that require you to have made 50 posts before you can get download links then the barrier to it is so high that you don't need to worry. And you'll never stop the truly dedicated.

At the end of the day, you can either focus your efforts on heavy-handed anti-piracy and licence systems (and run the risk of upsetting paying users) - or focus the effort on making good software. And I chose the latter. If you give people good value for money, piracy isn't really as big of an issue as some people would like to suggest. Looking after paying customers should always be the #1 concern.

UpVoter314517 karma

Would you ever consider moving to the U.S and establishing your permanent base there, and if not, why?

PhonicUK165 karma

No. On a personal level, I don't consider the US as somewhere with a suitable social safety net if things went south. I'd never live anywhere without universal healthcare for example.

On a professional level, it'd be a highly expensive move that wouldn't be justified by any of the benefits (which I'm really struggling to see). So to a large degree I wouldn't see the point in making such a move.

Heidelkerb2 karma

What country is it that you are based out of then? Just curious

PhonicUK11 karma

England.

supercharged070815 karma

[deleted]

PhonicUK28 karma

Not a right lot. The big problem pirates have run into before though is that my software tends to have a fairly rapid release cycle, and people don't like being behind.

iWant_To_Play_A_Game15 karma

Are you looking for interns?

PhonicUK39 karma

Not really. 'Proper' interns (unpaid, don't do any productive work for the company, just there to learn) aren't something I really have the time for right now. Paid interns that are productive but require lots of training I don't quite have the money for yet. The ongoing theme for the last year is that I've been trying to get the money and cashflow together to hire someone else full time, but even paying someone minimum wage is pretty darn expensive by the time you add in things like National Insurance, pensions, and liability insurance.

valadian16 karma

the concept of "unpaid" software interns is insulting. That isn't "proper".. Not in our industry. Anyone that does such is taking advantage of young upcoming engineers that don't know better.

My first internship, I coded 33% of the release for our flagship software, on a team of 3. The other 2 were senior engineers.

8 years later, just had my own intern. First time, junior in college, and no experience in the problem domain. Yet he was able to learn and become a productive member in his 3 month internship (productive meaning he implemented more feature points than I would have in the time I spent training him).

Sure, interns aren't going to be effective in building architectures, requirements elicitation, or otherwise engaging with customers... but any competent programmer (which most compsci/softeng college students will be) can be productive WHILE learning.

Due to the nature of software and the wonders of proper source control, an unpaid software internship is never acceptable.

PhonicUK19 karma

I definitely agree. But here at least 'Intern' very specifically means the kind of unpaid training I was talking about so I was just being specific.

BezierPatch4 karma

The ongoing theme for the last year is that I've been trying to get the money and cashflow together to hire someone else full time,

What are you looking for? Is the idea to find somebody who can do things you can't, or to delegate certain things you currently do to someone else?

Say you hired a web dev, would you be able to find enough things for them to work on while you keep creating the underlying features?

Sorry for the questions, I just often wonder how those decisions get made.

PhonicUK5 karma

For a short while I did actually have a junior engineer on contract. My software is highly modular so he was just working on some of the plugin components whilst I worked on the core. I basically want to do the same thing again but with someone more experienced that doesn't require quite so much hand-holding.

balagopalkv12 karma

What's your view on scaling up by reinvesting your profit vs through outside investors, especially since you've turned a profit?

PhonicUK14 karma

It's definitely the route I'm going down. It might be a bit egotistical but at this point I'm thinking that I know what I'm doing, so I'm leaning much more towards carrying on doing things my own way than having outside influences change the good thing I've got going.

evil_flanderz16 karma

You can only scale so fast without having investors. Even if you're making twice what you made at your old job.

So if you're onto something potentially major that's why you would consider outside investors. Not because you don't know what you're doing.

Source: Ran my own business and then later took on VC funding

PhonicUK13 karma

Sure, but I don't feel any massive need to scale rapidly. I'm happy to do so slowly and 'naturally' over time.

FBAguy132 karma

I also own my own business, and in my experience the decision has a lot to do with cost of funds. You always have different options of what to do with your money. If you have a good source for cheap cheap $$, then often times a company or business owner will make sure and take it so they can use their cash reserves for other stuff.

A very basic example, let's say you are planning on buying on buying two things. A new car and a new home theater. Both will cost you 10k.

Often getting the lending to buy the car can be really cheap but putting the theater system on a CC would be very pricey. So you pay cash for the theater set up.

Or in a business setting, let's say you have a good track history and can borrow money for 3.5%. You need about 50k and only have have 25k. Often times a business owner will borrow the full 50k for what they need so they can take the 25k for themselves.

Also you need to consider the tax liability. If you make 50k, and want to reinvest 50k, how will you pay your taxes if you reinvest all of your profits?

PhonicUK5 karma

If they're reinvested and put towards business expenditures to expand then they're no longer profits, ergo no tax.

ConnorMackay959 karma

When do you expect the AMP panel to be available for commercial licensing? Me and my team are very excited to move onto a better software solution.

PhonicUK8 karma

Soon, alongside the network licencing - I'm waiting to clean up the Linux install process first.

ConnorMackay958 karma

That is great to hear. AMP looks very exciting.

PhonicUK7 karma

Indeed! The API in particular is really powerful.

ConnorMackay955 karma

We are excited to have a platform to host whatever we want on across all of our hardware. Having Minecraft (always a big seller), VOIP applications, and other random games all in the same panel is what can't wait for ( :

PhonicUK5 karma

Keep up with the CubeCoders Twitter account if you don't already, it'll be the first place any announcements are made. :)

mnsota8 karma

Why haven't you updated the copyright date on your corporate site?

PhonicUK19 karma

The copyright is actually meant for the date of publication rather than 'now'. Although I do actually have a version of the page that's 2014-DateTime.Now.Year that's due to be pushed when I push the big update to the site I'm working on.

ButtsexEurope7 karma

How do you feel about people who say shit like "nobody can start a small business because of regulations and taxes" or "job creators are hurting"?

PhonicUK13 karma

Bullshit. Exhibit A, Me.

Mysteryman646 karma

Are you the sys admin guy? If not, have you given your sys admin guy a cookie or a nice pat on the back?

Just speaking from experience, whenever we get recognition, it's like a small fucking miracle.

PhonicUK7 karma

One man band, so I'm the sys admin guy, the bookkeeper, the engineer... Thankfully not the cleaner - office building provides that.

Mysteryman648 karma

Oh man. Go buy yourself a cookie. I don't even want to have to imagine doing the sysadmin side in addition to all the other stuff as well.

PhonicUK7 karma

Crap I just realised I left a cookie at my girlfriends before travelling back home...

flysprucegoose4 karma

Who's your favourite ninja turtle?

PhonicUK11 karma

Donatello.

R34ct0rX994 karma

Congrats, looks like success. What made you take the leap to create your own company? What give you the original idea for the server management software? What made you decide to monetize it under a company?

PhonicUK6 karma

The software I originally based my company around is actually a couple of years older than the company, but I didn't expect it to be a long-term earner. But it kept making more and more money and taking up more of my time. Before long I was effectively working two full-time jobs and I couldn't keep up. So I dropped the one making me the least money.

It also cleared up my tax situation a lot by having a separate entity for all of the financials.

I originally made the software for my own personal needs, I started showing it off and it was obvious fairly quickly that it was something people were willing to pay for.

bivekprasai4 karma

What are the challenges you find in starting own business in smale sçale rather than quitting the job?

PhonicUK8 karma

There's a lot of setup and prep to do before you can actually start 'trading', finding a good accountant and getting my head around all of the record keeping that has to be done and generally getting the business infrastructure in place was the biggest challenge.

0wnagetime2 karma

any recommendations on resources to help learn about that side of the business?

PhonicUK2 karma

Here in the UK we have Gov.uk which has all that information readily available, couldn't say about other places but a good accountant can take you through everything.

Jimmybullard3 karma

What has changed since your last AMA?

PhonicUK9 karma

The biggest change has been the office. I've moved to a different area of the same business park. The new office is slightly smaller but significantly cheaper. I also dropped a handful of minor services I was offering that weren't making money (but didn't initially drop because of the admin cost) and focused a little more strongly on the core things I was good at which is the admin software. I also stopped using various hosted services for things like support (which I initially used for fast setup and convenience) and spent the time and effort to bring everything in-house so that I have as few bills as possible. The odd £20/mo here and £100/year there can make a difference when they all add up.

your_evil_coworker2 karma

If it's just you then why do you keep an office instead of working from home?

trailertrash693 karma

What was the decision-making process to take the plunge and getting a physical office given the cost?

PhonicUK2 karma

Mostly the fact that I wanted a separate work and home life, I wanted to come home from work so I could stop. Also did you see the pictures? I don't have room for all my work gear in my house xD

_Landmine_3 karma

Do you drink Mountain Dew like water? All the programmers I've ever met run on that stuff.

PhonicUK12 karma

I don't drink fizzy drinks very much at all. Too much sugar. I do drink a lot of tea though, I am British after all.

TopPlaceWin932 karma

Hi there, I'm starting my first year of computer science at the University of East anglia this year (a little later than usual, I'm 21 nearly 22)

This is very coincidental as my "goal" for finishing university is to mainly study in software development and join a company then eventually start my own business (ambitious, I know)

So as you're basically working my dream job at the moment my question is, what's it like? Much social time for friends/family? And finally is it possible to make a reasonable living off of your work? I feel the figures I'm thinking of are ambitious, however I want to live "comfortably" (I'm not asking for actual numbers of course)

Thanks for the AMA, it's nice to see something that I consider interesting. :)

PhonicUK3 karma

I have a funny mix where I can work quite long hours, but I'm more likely to just randomly say "sod it, I'm not working today and I'll just answer tickets/emails from home" at no notice. Overall I don't think I work too much longer than the average person and I'm generally pretty good at not working weekends (having a separate physical office helps a lot for this).

I make a fairly comfortable living off my work, money isn't a day-to-day stress factor for me, just something I have to keep an eye on.

sa5my2 karma

Hi and love what you do and you're turning to be my inspiration,Anyway i wanted to ask that "is that what you always wanted to do since you step into the IT Field or did you find this path along the way or something?"

PhonicUK2 karma

I kinda fell into running my own business by accident. It was something I always wanted to do but I originally didn't imagine it happening so soon.

wvlieffe2 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! What do you think of online learning site like udacity and non traditionnal options like hackreactor? Would you hire somebody who went just through one of these programs? Do you think it's a viable choice for education?

PhonicUK3 karma

No comment I'm afraid, I've not looked at any of them.

GauntBilly2 karma

What tips would you have for an aspiring software engineer currently enrolled in college? Thanks!

PhonicUK4 karma

Play. Put whacky things together that you have know idea how to do and make lots of mistakes. Screw around with random libraries and technologies and see what you can make.

Jpaynesae19912 karma

What was your personal financial situation like prior to taking the plunge into self employment, how many months in safety net savings did you have etc etc? Student loans? CC debt? (if you don't mind me asking)

How are things now?

PhonicUK2 karma

Very strong. In excess of 12 months worth, not too big student loans, 0 CC debt (I pay my cards in full every month automatically) - today, similar situation.

Frozen_Turtle2 karma

Have you started hiring underlings yet? How do you find good CS people, especially when your main product isn't "sexy", or you're a small consulting company, or doesn't have a central consolidating idea other than "Hell yeah code correctness."

I'm part of a startup that keeps doubling in size and revenues... and suddenly we've had a dearth of technical talent. It's actually starting to be quite a bottleneck; we have started hiring people remotely in Canada, which isn't a long term solution. (We're based in Illinois, USA)

PhonicUK2 karma

Not yet, still working towards that one.

Nyxtia2 karma

Did you make everything on your own starting out to get you going initially? Did it take a while to get your software right before having your business going?

PhonicUK3 karma

I used a few 3rd party services for things like support boards, but 90% of the stuff I built myself, and the remaining 10% of stuff was brought in-house earlier this year.

midnitte2 karma

What's something that you've learned that might not be the most obvious that you'd learn from running your own business?

PhonicUK6 karma

That sometimes it's as equally difficult to stop yourself working as keeping yourself working.

TNTyler2 karma

What kind of schooling do you have? As a incoming freshman myself, I'm finding it difficult to choose a major even though I know I want to become an entrepreneur.

PhonicUK3 karma

College then University (College doesn't mean the same thing in the UK as the US so careful with this one) - I have a First Class BSc in Computer Systems Engineering.

ru-kidding-me2 karma

Are you part of the 1% yet and if you are, does the vitriol puzzle you?

PhonicUK3 karma

I was when I was in that period where I was working a 'normal' full-time job in addition to my own thing. Not anymore though. You don't actually have to earn that much to get into the 1%. The vitriol doesn't really surprise me though. One of the things I do find about people who come from wealthy backgrounds is they very easily forget how they sit upon the shoulders of society.

kinjinsan2 karma

Do you agree with the President's statement that you didn't build your business?

PhonicUK11 karma

I don't know what his statement was, but I believe nobody builds a business by themselves. They build it with the help of the people who paid for their employees education, their healthcare, the public transit systems that allow them to get around and pay for roads to be maintained. No matter how hard you work, you're standing on the shoulders of society.

Dunney2 karma

I see your based in Bristol (I'm from Liverpool), wanna give me a job I can do from home? Even at NMW id be happy to just make a start in the world of IT. I can send my CV + cover letter.

PhonicUK9 karma

your based

Sorry, failed at the first hurdle :P

Jokes aside, I'm still trying to get to the point that I can hire someone full time. It's a really expensive thing to do.

watonearth2 karma

I've been looking for an AMA like this one for a long time. I'm currently starting my own business and there are a lot of specifics which I'm not really sure about. Firstly, how did you decide when you were going to incorporate, hire lawyers & accountants, and other such things. Secondly, how did you fund your business? Thirdly, what are some pitfalls that you prepared for that would have otherwise killed your venture (i.e. not the usual stuff like running out of cash)? Fourthly, how did you acquire clients (what was your growth model)? Fifthly, how did you have to change your business (if at all) to make sure you turned a profit after taxes/interest? And finally, how has the day to day running of the business changed since you first started it?

I can appreciate that's a pretty big block of questions so please do PM me if that's easier for you. I would really appreciate any insights you could give me. Thanks.

PhonicUK3 karma

I'm going to be annoying I'm afraid - I've answered these already but this thread has gotten long enough that I can no longer find all the answers (It's getting late). But I assure you they're there if you have a read of my top-level replies.

MaxedTitans1 karma

Hey! Im currently studying computer science and would like to start my own company when im done, what advice would you give me? How should I start or go about? Anything in particular you think is really important?

Thanks in advance! Good luck with your business;)

apocalips911 karma

Hello. I am also in the IT sector but I intend to run my own company. How valid do you think the following plan is? I managed the relations for my company therefore have connections to a lot guys here and abroad. Coders, designers etc. I thought since most of the cost is wages, I can go to someone who needs coding in country A, get the job, out source to my buddies in country B. Since wages are lower in country B, I will have competitive edge. Thx for the AMA...

PhonicUK3 karma

Sounds like you're doing contracting so I can't really advise. My business is product based rather than contract based.

TheFeynmanAlgorith1 karma

Why even have an office? What technologies have you used to build McMyAdmin - looks very neat?

PhonicUK2 karma

As for why the office: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/3js3el/1yearlater_follow_up_iama_small_business_owner_a/cus00wk

McMyAdmin is built almost entirely on C# using a custom application server stack. Same goes for AMP although it has a vastly different internal architecture.

RecordHigh1 karma

Would you be doing this AMA if you had lost money and the business went bust?

PhonicUK2 karma

Definitely. The last thing I'd get out of it is the opportunity for other people to learn from whatever mistakes I made for it to go under if that ever happened.

UnfortunateHarri1 karma

Have you considered expanding to continental Europe in the future?

PhonicUK2 karma

Expanding in what sense? I can already accept orders and have customers in almost every country, both inside and outside the EU.

Bunnymancer1 karma

So, what would you say that it is you do around here?

PhonicUK2 karma

Friggin' everything man...

berkay10001 karma

How does your working Day look like? % meeting, % working, %chilling out. Is/would it be a good Idea to play Games while working? How much Stress do you and your workers have? Are you overloaded with work?

PhonicUK1 karma

I spend about 60% of the day working, 40% chilling/playing. I work at a pretty fast pace though so that 60% actually gets me a days work and the 40% 'rest' keeps me sharp. Often I'll get fed up dealing with a problem, go play a game for a bit and then find myself alt-tabbing out because I've been struck by an idea during the downtime. I don't think that'd work for everyone though, I just seem to naturally have very 'bursty' output instead of a constant flow.

thenamesalreadytaken0 karma

Your advice to an aspiring full stack developer? Full stack JS to be precise.

PhonicUK2 karma

Full stack JS

Learn more backend languages. I refuse to do financial calculations in any language which only uses floats for numbers with no other data types. Too dangerous.

hestonkent0 karma

[deleted]

PhonicUK9 karma

People like follow ups I guess. Being able to see the progress someone has made over a longer period of time might be more appealing than 'yet another startup'.