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Hey! I'm Simon a Web Developer


#1

Hello all,

My name is Simon Bennett, I am a 23 year old developer at a company in the UK full time and on the side trying to bootstrap two different projects.

  1. Rent management software for the UK (enabling landlords to collect rent via direct debit)
  2. Software consultancy focusing on CQRS and Event sourcing to write better and more manageable software.

I have been pretty sad and listened to every single bootstrap podcast while driving and walking the dog so thanks @ian and @andrey for keeping me entertained.

I have run different businesses since high school my most successful was a Xbox 360 repair business which when I look back made a totally killing for a high school student. Since then I have freelanced, gone to uni and got myself a fulltime job.

Thanks

Simon


#2

Hey Simon!

Great that you have entrepreneurial experience with your Xbox business. 1 would certainly be useful to me (I own one property in Poland so probably not your market). I made notes about things I’d like to automate. I can post them here if you like.

Out of curiosity, how did you come up with your second idea? I’m also working on my consulting business (I help to scale Heroku-hosted Rails apps). My initial idea was somewhat related to yours (I wanted to help to make Rails apps more reliable by improving test suites). However, market research showed that companies wouldn’t consider hiring external help for that. If they use Rails then it becomes their core competency and expect their team to be able to handle that. They did hire consultants for data science or PostgreSQL tuning. Were you able to confirm that idea 2 will work?


#3

Hey Greg

Well I mean have dreams of been everywhere in the world but start small and all that. If you could I would really appreciate that!

As with the second idea, Maybe still in the process of confirming that will work. Its something we have on boarded at work and I have made a set of PHP libraries to enable. I had made some screencasts and have had people email me with questions and decided I should push a bit harder at it. Its still early stages but I have seem a couple of companies go the CQRS and Event sourcing roots so hoping I am established before the trend hits. Or not as the case might be.


#4

Hey Greg - Just wanted to chime in since I was probably your target market at one point. Well not specifically with Rails, but was working for a company that was having a hard time scaling. Our process of getting to scale involved posting questions to stack overflow (ie, ‘how can I optimize this query further?’), following blogs like http://highscalability.com/, reading books like High Perf MySQL, and searching the web for experts that might be able to help. When we found a consultant that we thought could help us, we’d have them sign an NDA, then book a 1 hour call with them, which included a few follow up emails, usually for around $500. Not sure if that helps you or not, but just wanted to share with you that we also didn’t hire external help, just booked a call with them.


#5

@mrsimonbennett, the things that I was thinking about are:

  • sending invoices for the rent (important to meet all the legal requirements to make payments VAT-exempt)
  • collecting the rent (cash, direct debits and e-payments; however, charge backs are a huge downside of DDs for you)
  • sending reminders for overdue payments via email and SMS
  • taxes :scream:(calculating, filling out and filing forms)
  • recouping payments for utilities (I think it’s pretty common in Poland that the utilities are invoiced to the landlord who needs to recoup the payments from the tenants; I’m not sure about other countries)
  • automatic late payment fees for both rent and utilities payments
  • the landlord should be able to extend the due dates
  • additional payments or refunds after the end of the heating season (especially after the tenant has moved out; and especially additional payments :wink:)

I hope you’ll find them useful. Is your app available online?


#6

Hey @shanelabs! Thanks a lot, this is extremely useful. I’m wondering, what did you Google when you were searching for them? Did you use anything else than Google?


#7

Hello @gregnavis Thanks for your reply put post of that stuff on the todo list.

The issue I am having is slow development time. I don’t get much time to code on it with family and Full time job. The landing side it online but does not really do much at the moment fullrent.co.uk I do have a new version of the site half ready to deploy.


#8

I’m wondering, what did you Google when you were searching for them? Did you use anything else than Google?

We had identified that most of our scale had to do with db issues. I remember googling a few times based on mysql settings, or best db architectures. Whenever we had a specific query that was driving us nuts, I’d skip google and go directly to stackoverflow (or actually it may have been http://dba.stackexchange.com/ instead).

I wish I could give you exact terms, as it was probably 1-2 years ago, but I do recall a lot of my searches for mysql settings (specifically innodb engine) lead me to this page, which helped: https://www.percona.com/blog/2007/11/01/innodb-performance-optimization-basics/

If you’re looking for SEO keywords, perhaps try some common settings that people use to tweak for performance?


#9

@shanelabs, thank you so much! That was extremely helpful! :beer:


#10

Hi Simon,

Always good to see another UK based bootstrapper! Your Rent management software sounds interesting, as most of the places I’ve rented have required me to set up a standing order. Have you had much feedback from landlords?

I’m guessing you did Red Ring of Death repairs on 360s? I can see how that would have been so lucrative, considering pretty much every early 360 seemed to suffer it. I was lucky enough that my 360 died literally a couple of weeks before the 3 year warrantee expired.

Best of luck with your projects!


#11

Wow sorry for the late reply @mattbearman.

I have had a bit of feedback from landlords about that. To best honest It was not the best feedback I got. And I think i need to retarget towards agents as marketing to independent landlords seems a total nightmare. We did ask some landlords on reddit as well and got massively shoot down for trying to ‘steal’ there ideas and rip them off :S.

Yeah thats all I did RROD and yeah it was stupidly lucrative. To bad they business had to end.

I am going to build a new product in a much more populated market first and then I might go back to the rent idea.

How are you getting on as a bootstrapper?