If you read blogs and forums and go to conferences you will soon pick up that there are a number of recommended ‘best practices’ for being a successful software entrepreneur. I don’t conform to many of them:
No. Both my products are desktop based.
Not really. Most of my customers are consumers.
No. I bootstrapped the business from my own savings.
No. My licences are a one-time fee.
Beautifully designed responsive website
No! www.perfecttableplan.com converts well, but it is certainly not beautiful or responsive (a new website is on the way though).
No. Just me.
No. I have delegated bookkeeping to my lovely and talented wife (who also proof reads this blog) but I don’t have any employees or virtual assistant and do the vast majority of things myself, including all the marketing, sales, programming, documentation and customer support.
Drip email campaign
No. One day perhaps.
Not really. I like variety. I have 2 products under active development and also do some consulting and training.
Social media campaign
No. I have long since given up on Twitter and Facebook as marketing channels.
No. I do talk with my peers in forums, at meetups and conferences, but not in any structured way.
No. I was pushing 40 when I started my entrepreneurial career.
No. I can’t really grow the business much more without taking on staff or becoming a workaholic. But I am happy just to maintain the current level of sales. 
No. I haven’t given it any real thought. I am quite happy doing what I’m doing.
My one-man software business has made me a nice living doing a job I enjoy for more than 10 years. So I guess I must be doing something right. There is no ‘one true way’ to be an entrepreneur. If you have a good product with good support and good marketing, most other things are optional.
 Added after suggestion by Tom Reader.
All of it sounds very familiar :)
Once you start having employees, rules change. Things were so much simpler prior to that.
I like simple!
That’s the essence of a real software engineer!
Also “Constant growth is essential”. Not really, if the income stream is already enough and you have no interest in taking over the world. Congratulations on the PC Pro article, by the way. I particularly liked the final sentence: “[his software will never] earn him enough to dock his yacht next to Larry Ellison’s in Monaco. If that bothers Brice, he’s doing a remarkable job of hiding it”. Hear hear…
>Also “Constant growth is essential”.
That is a really obvious one that I missed! I’m going to add it in. Thanks.
Good article thanks. This is basically me! Is the PC Pro article online or print only?
The PC Pro profile is on page 20 here:
Fads come and go. Delegation makes sense if you absolutely hate something and it’s simple. Endless growth and exit plan are just a “make money quick” scheme that doesn’t work in most cases.
I’m still waiting for the ugly flat design phase to pass so that we get nice gradients back and my website and application look modern again.
Flat designs do seem a step backward. But I’m sure gradients will come into fashion again! See also:
Bad, bad, bad, entrepreneur! You are grounded. No yacht trips for a week for you.
“best practices” often mean “Well, I think it’s a good idea.” and can have little connection with reality. Good of you to show it. In particular, endless growth is a silly one. That is the mentality of cancer. Or a stock market bubble.
Typo: “proof read” should be “proofread”.
>“best practices” often mean “Well, I think it’s a good idea.”
Most of them do make sense, but only for a certain range of goals and circumstances.
>Typo: “proof read” should be “proofread”.
On best practices, yes about range. The problem is that qualifiers tend to get left off, if they were even there in the first place. I have preferences, too, but I do not try to cram them down everyone’s throats. (I am more selective.)
The irony was delicious.
Why did Facebook and Twitter not work for you, Andy?
Because people aren’t on Facebook and Twitter to buy stuff?
Hey Andy, sounds like you spurn “conventional wisdom”. When they zig, you zag!
I am keen to learn from others. But I am also a bit skeptical when lots of people are telling me I have to do X. My goals might be quite different to theirs.
The focus thing… I also have two desktop products, but still cannot find a balance between them: constantly improving the first one, but almost abandoned the second. Can you please share your experience on how you do that? Do you dedicate a month (or two weeks) to one product (one split or iteration or release) and then switch to another? The question mostly relates to the development, because marketing can be made simultaneously. Thanks!
I’m not sure I have any great insights. Trying to keep 2 products moving forward is a struggle. I try to find time to work on Hyper Plan in between important stuff I have to do on PerfectTablePlan. I try to do a release of one before I switch focus back to the other. But of course I am having to do admin and support on both daily.
Alleluia finally someone else understanding that “I want my software in my computer even when I don’t have internet connections, no Saas…”
Thanks for sharing. I also match almost all the other points… Wevare not alone, what a relief.