It’s been 3 months since I quit my job.
And I can relate to a quote by Derek Sivers I read recently.
“Most people over-estimate what they can do in one year, and under-estimate what they can do in 10 years.”
To start with, I guess I had too many options to choose from and hence, had been facing a problem of plenty. Naturally, that meant dissipated attention.
Deciding what to do next is not easy and I have been behaving like a flip-flop. Here, here and here.. I have had different opinion. Initially, I thought I would do something related to my hobbies. Then, after some deliberation, decided against it and thought my interest in personal finance and analytics (my regular job) were worthier things to work on. If not my own startup on Analytics, perhaps a job in a startup, I felt.
Then, I began doubting my own thoughts about starting on my own and if I really wanted to do that.. given that I have multiple interests to be tied down by only one. I had always felt the need to have more passive income as it gives you more freedom and control in life. I thought I should perhaps work on that.
Amidst all this, out of the blue, I decided to simply experiment:
Started ETL Training so that I could take up short term consulting and training assignments and later, roll it into a company if I did well. I did get few responses for it as people started searching for “ETL training” and contacted me voluntarily without me doing anything at all. That was encouraging. But I knew I didn’t want to get into it right away and wanted to spend a few months doing something other than tech work. So, I told myself that I would focus on this after August. I did get quite a few training and consulting requests on my LinkedIn account after recruiters saw my ‘availability’. But I haven’t been very active on this front.
Well, I started this on a whim. I felt I had far too many hobbies and there should be a way to create a platform for bringing together serious hobbyists like me. More on it here. I didn’t take it further and dropped the idea almost immediately.
I had written about photography rentals in a blog post and that got good response. I had people asking me if they could rent my stuff. So, I just listed all my stuff in a post and started renting out selectively.
The response was better than I thought. The idea was to create a rental pool where everyone could contribute equipment and the needy could rent from the pool. So, Tapprs – short for Travellers and Photographers started as a platform for people to rent travel & photography gear to others.. though it was a stupidly simple wordpress implementation.
But soon, I realized that not many people were willing to rent out stuff. The few who were willing had obsolete stuff that had lost ‘value’ for them and wanted to squeeze out something out of it. Clearly, that wouldn’t work for me. And those who were willing to rent their expensive equipment wanted me to guarantee against damage or provide for insurance.. something I felt would not work out (and had to be decided between the renter and rentee themselves).
So, I ended up listing my own equipment and renting them out. The response had been decent. To give you an idea, the revenue is close to 5 figures in the 3 weeks gone by (I have been promoting it only in the last 3 weeks). Well, it can’t sustain a full blown venture… but as a hobby venture, its not bad. Yeah, its true that renting is like a rope walk. One bad rental of an expensive item and you could make a loss. But that is what I loved about it.. the need to assess risk, make a decision on risk-reward, etc.
Tapprs today is more of a renter… which I hate to say! A commodity rental business? And me? Yikes!!!!
And now, I have added a tour to Nilgiris under Tappr as well. But I know that I wouldn’t get deep into tours. Nilgiris is one place I love and conducting a tour will also help build my information to write a book later. I feel Nilgiris will be the only tour that Tapprs will handle. And I have no intentions of taking huge groups too.
Tapprs will remain as a hobby (I love the way it is helping me connect with other travellers and photographers)… or might close down in a few months from now. That is what I feel unless things work out exceedingly well and make me change mind. I would definitely reduce efforts on Tapprs front in a couple of weeks from now.
But I have thoroughly enjoyed setting Tapprs up. The marketing, customer interaction, discussing their needs, figuring out a good rental price for equipment, assessing risk in a rental and trying to price it ‘in’, etc have been extremely interesting. And I am feeling more confident now to handle my next experiment.
So, now.. that brings me to square one! I am back where I started. I don’t have a clue still as to what I would do with the rest of my life!
Probably, I will experiment and figure out each option.
The next experiments would be with BI, Analytics and the like. The demand for Business Intelligence, Analytics and Data warehousing is pretty good and will probably stay so for a few more years. ETL Training & consulting for the short term and perhaps a full blown Analytics venture if things take off well. Or I might even give a shot at Marketing / Pre-sales at any Analytics startup… after all, I have enjoyed it immensely for Tapprs.
However, I am not missing a regular job. And am not feeling the loss of an income.. yet.
At least for now!