The first six months

Today, I completed my 2nd client engagement (contracting) as my new business entity – aka kachihro.   That’s 2 x three month contracts – done and dusted.

I just realised I’ve only posted ONE blogpost – when I announced I was leaving OBS/Empired – it has been a whirlwind since then.

In a nutshell, the change to becoming a contractor has been great – I’ve learnt a lot, and had some wonderful conversations – as well as some soul searching & reflection.

So – in no particular order – here’s a recap of my first 1/2 year.

  • Finished at OBS/Empired just before Christmas, and had a great send-off lunch + drinks – with 3 other people who were also leaving !
  • So many great friends & colleagues, it was bittersweet, and felt a little strange for a week or two – luckily it was the Christmas period, which was with family/friends, and a great New Years Eve party.
  • Started my first contracting role at the start of January, when everyone else was going back to work.   It felt like going to a new customer/client – having to learn the faces, names, and roles.
  • Did some dev work with AngularJS, MVC, SQL – and supported another customer with SharePoint, and some older VB.NET apps – lots of bits & pieces.
  • Rolled into my second contract, after three months (had been offered an extension, but wanted to do smaller pieces).   K2+SQL – which was great to get deep into.   Hadn’t done any K2 for many years (not to that level) – was great to re-learn
  • Small project team, in a dynamic office with great technical dev’s – awesome office banter, and lunch room fun – it felt like the awesome hey-day of OBS
  • Part time SharePoint support and analysis work, with another contractor who has infra-strengths, but less app/dev skills.   We have a good working relationship, and similar viewpoints, with only minor overlap of skills
  • Some cycling to work – less this year – as expected.   But – awesome bike facilities under the building – the way it should be done !

And now, I’m ready to start some piecemeal work arrangements – with 2 days / 3 days for different customers.   This will be a challenge initially – but will be able to stay flexible and on-the-ball.

Some other learnings along the way – it’s not just “coding” !

  • Business expenses – registering for ABN, company name, GST
  • Accounting stuff like BAS statements, GST payments, super+salary (for me !) – thank goodness for QuickBooks Online (it’s awesome)
  • Purchased a new own laptop, and an iPad
  • Management level reading of books + articles – have enjoyed “The Introvert Entrepreneur” – and “The E-Myth : Why Most Small Business Fail”.
  • Managing my time+energy – and not say YES to everything (don’t get overwhelmed)
  • Have been spending more time “doing the work” than growing my business – which is fine, and I’m happy to not take on employees, or have a big team (not yet anyway)
  • Conversations – I’ve lost count of the wonderful coffee chats I’ve had – and being confident about my own abilities – out from the safety zone I was (happily) part of for 7 years
  • Contacts – have had a few ‘blind date’ meetups, and good conversations, with work forthcoming – has been good to discuss
  • Great advice to “back yourself” and be forthright in speaking my mind
  • Standard consulting stuff !   Wow the customer, over-communicate, give-a-damn, and get the job done – be dependable, and reliable.

Lots of other great ideas in the mix – I just need to work out which to focus on.

So – it’s going pretty well !

My first six months since ‘leaving the nest’ have been a success – only had my heart-in-mouth on a few occasions, and thinking “oh crap, I’m really on my own, eh !?!”

But – a good lunch chat with a friend – or a phone call – and it set me straight.

Let me know if YOU want to get together – lots to talk about.

(Hope things are good in your world – the IT world is booming…)

Smile

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Where the magic happens

If you’re reading this, you either know me through the Melbourne team at OBS / Empired – or we’re industry colleagues via LinkedIn – or the SharePoint community perhaps ?  

Or a past customer ?

Either way, thanks for taking the time to read this – I appreciate it !

You may or may not know, but I’ll be leaving the safe harbour of OBS/Empired – my last day will be December 18th, 2015.

This was a decision that I didn’t take lightly, after 6.5 years – almost 1/3 of my working career – it took me about 3-4 months actually, to finally take the plunge.

I was looking back on the change that’s happened over that period (both personally and professionally) since March 2009 – and I’m kinda amazed actually :

> When I started at OBS in 2009, we had two kids – now three.   All three kids are now at school, and I coach their basketball team.

> When I began at OBS, I was working on SharePoint 2007 projects, and InfoPath/Nintex – and hadn’t done anything (yet) with SharePoint 2010

> The company was less than 100 people when I joined.     We have transitioned from a Nintex-owned SharePoint consulting services organisation, to a publically listed international corporation of ~1,000 people

> I was awarded as an MVP after the work I’d done with the local user group (MSPUG), and SharePoint Saturday’s, (and my blog/s) and attended the MVP at the Microsoft campus in Redmond (2011)

> I have presented sessions at TechEd on the Gold Coast, and SharePoint Conference/s in Australia and New Zealand.

> I attended a SharePoint 2013 training week in Kuala Lumpur

> I have become a cycling fanatic, and ride to work most days, rain or shine.    In 2009, I hadn’t ridden my bike in years – and was unfit & over 90-kgs.   I now cycle 120km a week, race in amateur MTB events, have ridden Mt Buller and Falls Creek (in the same day!), Lake Mountain, Mt Buffalo, Mt.Donna Buang – and ridden + camped on two touring rides.   And I’ve lost 12kgs.   

(This began in 2010 – thanks to a “workplace health check” at OBS.  I had a “scare” approaching the age of 40 – time to get fit & healthy !)

> In 2009, we had no Azure, or Office365 – or “the cloud” – or hadn’t even seen jQuery or AngularJS (they weren’t created !) – and not many people had even heard of FaceBook.

> In the last 6.5 years, I’ve met a LOT of great people – and made a lot of great friends, worked with some amazing colleagues – and worked for some great customers / projects.

So – why leave !??!

Is it simply “time for a change” ?   

That’s one consideration – 6.5 years is a a long time in IT, where the average employment is ~2 years.

But mainly, I’ve been looking at my career path, and what I do – and like to do.    

I’m not the sort of person to be a practice lead/manager – I’ve tried the ‘people management’ side of things, but still enjoy working in ‘delivery’ on technical projects, and problem solving, and creating solutions for customers.   

I not really keen to work in sales – or project management.

I really enjoy doing DEVELOPER work, and there’s a big need for people in the marketplace.   

Hence why, I’m heading off to do my own freelance consulting – with Azure, O365 and SharePoint, and related technologies.

I also have some ideas about a product that will assist my son’s basketball club, and might turn into a bigger offering (pie-in-the-sky at the moment – but ideas !)

Out of the Comfort Zone

I’m sure I’ll face some challenges and pitfalls, and success & (hopefully not many) failures along the way.   

But – I’ve always wondered about “contracting” – and have never done it.

I don’t want to close out my career in 20 years and think “I wish I’d tried that”.  

And so – that’s exactly what I’m doing.

kachihro

I’ll now be a one-man-show (as of Jan 2016) – under the name of ‘kachihro’.  

There is a reason behind the name – probably best discussed over a 1:1 chat.   

Thanks to EVERYONE who has provided me with great feedback and support, as I embark on this scary mission – your words of encouragement have been invaluable.

What’s next ?

From here – I’ll be flat-chat finishing out project work at Empired – and doing handover to peers – and then have some time with family over the Christmas break.

I will certainly miss the awesome “work family” that I’ve enjoyed over the time – TFBSFA !!

I’m certain I’ll keep in touch with some people – Empired has a great future, and lots of opportunity and growth – but I’ll be growing in a different direction.

Hopefully, I can catch up with you (YOU !) for a coffee, or lunch, or a beer – or all-of-the-above – when the calendar ticks over into January.

If I don’t see you – have a great Christmas – yes, I went there – it’s only 6 weeks away !!

Please email if you’d like to get in touch >   chris@kachihro.com