The journey towards independence

Several months ago I wrote about breaking the fear cycle. Today I bring you the results of what’s possible when you break through the negative thought cycle of fear.

Let me be clear, I am not free of fear and doubt. I am trudging through the muddy waters with the best boots I own. I am beginning the journey towards independence.

For the last ten years I have built my career in technology through hard work and continual learning. I have always held the belief that success was the byproduct of kindness, constant learning, and most of all hard work. Measuring by the job requirements, I was not nearly qualified for any job that I have ever taken. I was, however, qualified in my capability and desire to learn.

Constant learning is the key to growth. Over the last thirty days, I challenged myself to learn some new skills by launching my own web-based product. Over my career as a product manager, I have launched many products and features. The process of delivering a product is not new to me.

The Personal Challenge

This is different. It’s my own product. I designed, developed, tested, and funded the entire thing. My goal was to design, build, and launch my product in less than 30 days and for less than $500 investment. This required me to learn skills far outside my current qualifications.

Why did I want to do this? To start my journey towards independence. When I started working in venture-backed startup world, I saw a huge opportunity to use technology to change the world while banking on major financial equity events. I saw a path where my entrepreneurial mind could be both analytical and creative.

What I have learned in my short-ish time in these startups is that all of these things are possible. One can, in fact, change the world through innovation while working towards a major windfall. What I didn’t anticipate was the fact that this is rare. Often the focus is less on changing the world and more on the major windfall.

The problem I have with this line of thinking is that both the opportunity for windfalls and the windfall itself are fleeting. I am more interested in providing a meaningful service to the world, being deeply engaged with my family, and making a significant impact in my local community.

Venture backed startups generally start out with a huge vision and idealism. Somewhere along the way that vision and idealism becomes confused by conversions rates, revenue, and strategy.

I am starting this journey to explore building a small business by solving problems with small sustainable products. A small business that eventually supports my family by providing solutions to every day problems.

Launching Libdox

Over the last 30 days, I have been building a brand new product called Libdox. Libdox is a personal document storage service. I want to liberate your documents from the filing cabinet.

I have never enjoyed keeping paper documents. It always feels inefficient to store a document in a filing cabinet where I most likely won’t be able to find it when I need it. Usually I just throw them away, but in some cases I stored copies in Dropbox or Google Drive. Even when I put them in Dropbox or Google Drive, I could never find them.

I built Libdox to solve this problem. An incredibly simple service to scan or take a picture of your important documents and directly upload them to be indexed and stored securely and permanently. There is no sharing, no public access, just a secure repository for tax receipts, warranties, pay stubs, and any other important document you need to keep.

For this, I’ll be charging $9/month and your first 15 days are free. [button href=””]Try Libdox Now[/button]

Building Libdox

If you remember, my goal was to launch within 30 days and for less than $500. I’m happy to say that I launched the product with a few test users last week on day 27 of the project with a total investment of $419.

Along the way, I hired a developer to help me build parts of the application that I was unfamiliar with. This was my largest expense.

For those that are interested, Libdox is built using Ruby on Rails, deployed using Heroku, Amazon S3 for storage, and Stripe for payment processing.

Through the course of the project, I learned how to build a Ruby on Rails application from beginning to end. I started this journey by taking a course with One Month Rails.

I’ll continue to document this journey as I continue to improve, grow, and learn. For now, I’d love it if you gave Libdox a try!

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One thought on “The journey towards independence

  1. Congratulations on learning and deploying your business!

    Some feedback:
    The idea seems interesting, the landing page and copy could improve a ton. I wasn’t sure what the product did and even after I read some more it was 100% clear.

    Here’s what I understand: You store documents (.PDF’s, .DOC, etc)

    What files do you store? Can I save ALL my files? Do you store JPG, PNG, etc. How much storage does the $9 per month plan comes with?

    What real problem do you solve, and why is your product more convenient that say, Google Drive?

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