I work full time. I actually work much more than full time. I freelance as an IT consultant, write for a number of IT publications, and also run a technical copywriting company. Throw in a 9 month old daughter and an addiction to running marathons and my free time is pretty limited.
In what time I do have, I’ve built PartnerPulse from the ground up on my own. I don’t code for a living, but can just about hold my own with PHP (yep I’m one of those guys). I’ve had to learn a fair bit of new stuff to get the site where it is today (CRON jobs, geo-location searching, responsive design techniques) but I’ve just about kept on top of it.
In addition I’ve had to juggle all the other demands of a startup business. I work on marketing, publicity, comms, support for those that are using the site today, and more. I have roadmaps, bug lists, press releases, the seeds of tech site coverage. All of this could be a full time job, for more than one person, if it paid like a full time job.
So getting the site to where it is today has taken a long time. But I’m proud of its current state. The site has evolved massively. The business model has shifted a few times (and is still shifting). The design has got better, the interface slicker, the performance quicker PartnerPulse needs Microsoft partner companies to sign up and use the site, for it to be a success. Many have done this, but a tiny fraction of what the site needs to be useful. Yet I’m OK with this.
I can’t work on the site any more than I am already. If 10,000 companies had signed up on day one, 9,500 would have left on day two. The product wasn’t ready. If 10,000 sign up tomorrow, then you know what, I’m ready. If they sign up next month, even better.
This process of gradual iteration can’t, and won’t, go on forever. At some point the core product will be ready for wider consumption. I will then need to make a decision - switch to a real startup mentality where cash flow and security are placed on the line or walk away.
But this last year, I’m glad I had the time to slowly mould my product with my loyal (albeit it small) user base. In the long run I hope it will benefit them, me, and the 100,000 companies who will soon sign up.