I grew up in the city called Samara, situated between Moscow and the Ural Mountains. We have a beautiful riverfront and the summer there is amazing. I was a very active kid who loves playing with other children but my most favorite part is to spend time alone playing LEGO, inventing new stories, machines, and buildings.
I have always been a single-minded person who is ready to take on any difficult tasks and obstacles. I also have a great interest in computers and the Internet because they allow me to set up modems and operating systems. For example, I knew tricks to make the OS more comfortable to use. Of course, video games were my most “time-consuming” hobby during childhood, especially real-time strategies and RPGs. Encyclopedias and fiction books like Dune and Lord of The Rings were my favorite.
When I got my first programming job, I read multiple non-fiction books which influenced me a lot. ‘Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography’ by Walter Isaacson and ‘Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future’ by Ashlee Vance were among them.
Entrepreneurship means the balance between family and businesses
My father started his entrepreneurial journey when I was only 3 years old and he has been an entrepreneur ever since. Hence, entrepreneurship to me is the meaning of balancing between family and making a profit. And this observation from such a young age has given me the idea of searching for a way to create a sustainable business without sacrificing my family or my time being with them. Also thanks to my father, I develop a role model for myself which combines all the qualities I see in him, which are open-mindedness and honesty.
I enjoy working with people and information technology (IT). Software consulting happens to be the perfect mixture of both. As an independent consultant to a client’s team where people have their own processes and relationships, one of my main tasks is to create and strengthen business values by delivering effective and efficient solutions.
Collaboration between members and those from different departments for coding work has been an interesting journey. A fresh perspective then becomes a “must” when working with diverse-background team members. I never hesitate to recommend or defend my suggestions when working with people who are more experienced than myself.
failure is a chance to learn more
Once I participated in a startup accelerator at the Lappeenranta University of Technology and got the chance to listen to the presentation from Taneli Tikka. He told us more about his failures throughout his entrepreneurial journey, and not successes. This was so inspiring to me. I realized that there’s nothing wrong with failing 9 times and succeeding just once in order to move forward. When you try, it means you have learned something new. And that’s the most important thing.
My wife is also a person who always gave me the best support. I could not follow my dream without her believing in me and tolerating me through all the ups and downs as an entrepreneur. We even started one of the businesses together where we combined our experiences in job searching together and helped software engineers succeed in the job interviews. That was our decision to step out from the corporate job and be independent consultants.
My entrepreneurial journey started alone, unexpectedly. A recruiter called me with an invitation to do an interesting project. I decided to talk with an aim to network and learn more about the assignment, mainly due to curiosity. The interview turned out to be a huge success. I had the chance to meet not only the lead but the whole team online.
COVID-19: The time for new opportunities
I see COVID and remote work as an open-door for new opportunities. Since I was no longer physically attached to any office and my three-month work was completely remote, I decided to give it a try. And I have been dreaming to work on something like this, in an environment like this for so long. I got my first customer for a cloud-native serverless project and my team was distributed across the globe. Such a perfect setup for my ideal programming project, isn’t it?
Asking the right questions from the right people direct you in the right direction
The beginning was very hard. I remember starting the journey with tons of questions. I asked for help from recruiters, consultants on LinkedIn, accountants, and tax office workers. So many things needed to be set up. I wondered how the taxes, what is VAT, how the invoicing works? In the end, I realized that asking the right questions from the right people direct you in the right direction.
By understanding the added values for the client, I got the motivation to keep moving forward. The collaboration between departments and delivering high-quality results also fulfill me. I value a lot the freedom to choose the most suitable projects to work on.
Prepare for times when there are no clients
The most important thing that I have learned is that you should be prepared for the scenario of having no clients. Such cases allow you to build up a good habit of dividing the company’s profit, revenue, and your finances. For example, you should always save yourself an emergency fund. This is the amount of money in cash sitting in some separate bank accounts to cover living expenses for three to six months. You should also determine how much to pay yourself as a salary after VAT and other business expenses like subscriptions and accounting. These tips can be very helpful for people who are private traders.
Creating opportunities and making a profit by doing what you are passionate about is great. However, it does not mean that you need to distance yourself from the family by only thinking and talking about your business and excitements all the time. I am, personally, still learning to switch off after a day full of meetings or work. For me, it is helpful to do a guided meditation. Spotify, Headspace, or Calm apps are good ways to start. A quick tip for you is simply just counting breaths with your eyes closed.
Invest in yourself
The mindset of investing in myself was with me all the time. I perceived the work with any company more like a new opportunity to learn and grow, that is why I was always actively
My favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur is that I can change hats quite often. It is like being a trader on the marketplace, doing delivery, and at the same time, crafting the end product to sell just in one single day.
The world today is full of people and businesses who need your expertise and talent
Entrepreneurship is so natural for me that I do not measure it by being a private trader, owner, or co-founder. I would say that it is a way of thinking. You are the main navigator of your life. Career is then just a word with a lot of hierarchy in it. Being open to opportunities can also mean changing jobs or helping people around you with compensation. The world today is full of people and businesses who need your expertise and talent no matter where you work.
In many ways, it has also become easier to manage my time. Once I know exactly that the project work is going to take X amount of time and the invoicing and company management will be done in Y amount of time. I started to have more time because of the flexibility. It gives me a sense of total control over my workload.
Companies that are able to deliver more, will survive
Software consulting is a constantly changing field. Thinking about the business values to add is the most important thing. It is no longer about writing code, it is the collaboration with stakeholders in order to deliver the best results that bring harmony to the job.
The ability to understand public cloud environments (e.g. AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure) is essential today for anyone in IT depending on the business function. I would say more that soon everything will be serverless. It means that nobody will pay for the virtual machines to run your applications. You will be paying for the cloud resources as you go without idle time.
Databases, messaging and business logic are scalable up to infinity with the minimum costs. The pandemic of 2020 showed that companies that are able to deliver more of their services to more customers than before will survive.
For new entrepreneurs and companies, it is essential to think about scalable applications with the lowest cost possible from the very beginning. I would be happy to discuss this in more detail. But generally, for private traders, I would recommend doing their necessary things like invoicing, sending receipts, and taxation as fast as they come to the table. I know they are all boring but don’t procrastinate for too long.
Start with googling yourself
Another big thing is personal branding. Start with googling yourself. It will be a great starting point. And after that connecting with people from the same industry on LinkedIn, online events and by writing blogs. The visibility of your services starts with yourself and asking questions will help dramatically in achieving great sustainable results.
Just be mentally and financially prepared because starting a company means that you are on your own. It sounds scary in the beginning but after a short time, this becomes the motivation to develop needed skills and connections. Do not rush into entrepreneurship without proper preparation.