I’m (ostensibly) a Ruby on Rails freelancer but after the talk on productised consulting by @patio11 at MicroConf in Las Vegas, I’ve been working on writing and selling an ebook/screencast series on web application security for Ruby on Rails.
I’m going to level with you: I dislike my clients. Not as people, as people they’re lovely, it’s just the that as soon as we enter a business relationship their IQ drops about 40 points. The battle of trying to get them to apply some thought to their practices is one that I have very little appetite left for. I’m willing to accept that this is mostly due to my own communication skills and neurosis, but I just can’t afford the ongoing therapy costs.
It turns out that I’m not entirely terrible at training however. My blog has a (quite humble) following, I’ve sold out a workshop I’m teaching about rails security and have meetings lined up with people who want in-house training on the topic.
Long term, my goal is to expand horizontally, covering different topics, rather than vertically (i.e. doing deep consulting engagements on any one particular topic). If the imaginary company in my mind had a mission statement, it would be “Make developers more excellent at things they’re terrible at”. I want to deliver this via some arrangement of screencasts, ebooks, in-house/public workshops, webinars and online courses.
So far I’ve been marketing the workshops by asking nicely on the London Ruby User Group mailing list and this has sold £5600 worth of tickets, but if I want to run it regularly I can’t just keep spamming the list. I need to start building my own following around the topic and intend to do so with a short email course, so that’s what I’m going to be working on for the next couple of weeks.
I’m fully aware that this is not a bootstrapped SaaS business with entirely recurring revenue, but as long as I can do it from anywhere and grow revenue to a point where I have plenty of free time to work on other projects, I’m not too fussy. It will be much easier to pursue a future SaaS offering with a full warchest and a couple of years worth of internet marketing experience.
Looking forward to sharing stories and adventures here!