Sent by Jonathan Stark on September 13th, 2016
List member and all-around great guy Tim Dietrich sent in the following excellent advice in response to my “solo vs firm” message. He graciously agreed to let me share with the group:
I’m a solo developer, and I plan to stay that way. I’ve found that when you’re solo and successful, there’s an almost constant pressure to “grow” your business by taking on employees and/or contractors. I get that pressure from family, friends, colleagues, and clients - especially if I happen to mention how busy I am. It’s as if their definition of growth is simply to transform your solo practice into a “real business.” So one of the things I’ve learned to do is just ignore the pressure. One of the things that I would strongly encourage new entrepreneurs to do - and do it early - is to determine what success means and looks like to them. If it’s to grow a business into a true “firm,” great. If not, well, that’s great, too. It’s your business, after all.
I too have received the same sort of well-meaning - but wrong-headed for me - advice over the years from friends and family.
Real growth comes from increasing profits, not headcount. Increasing headcount might be a path to increased profits, but it’s not the only one.
If you want to run a firm because you want to run a firm, fabulous! Start a firm.
But if you want to run a firm because you think it’s the only way to grow, I urge you to carefully consider your alternatives.
Thanks for sharing, Tim!
P.S. Regardless of whether you are a solo developer or are running a dev shop, you can dramatically increase profits for both you and your clients by ditching hourly billing. to learn more, check out my book -> Hourly Billing Is Nuts