When I was considering starting my own company, I had a friend who kept singing the glories of working on my own, starting my own company, setting my own hours, etc, etc. I knew that he had started a company or three so far and I had already started a company, so took it as relatively accurate and moved on.
For the last four months at my last job, I started lining up a stable base of clients. I took a variety of different types of work to prepare for the jump. I went from working 45-50 hours at my regular job to adding another 20 in my own things, so in no time at all, I was somewhere between 65-70 hours. It was a tiring slog, but I saw light at the end of the tunnel. By the time I finally went indepedent, I had a handful of major and minor clients' projects on track and went down to a calm 60 hours/week. As additional projects have required, I've steadily added more people and I have a sharp solid team working with me.
For quite a while, I was deluded by the idea that I was setting my own hours when I decided to work 8am-8pm on weekdays. I mistakenly thought that I was “my own boss” by doing this sort of thing. After months of doing it, I realized I had become a slave to myself just as badly as I was a slave to previous jobs. The only difference was that after hours, if the previous job called, I could ignore them… if I call, well, you see my point. And let me tell you, my current boss never lets up.
My wife the Fearless Knitting 101 blogger is currently working on an article for CodeSnipers describing what it's like being the wife of a mISV owner. Part of me dreads her sharing her perspective publicly for all the world to see and read. Part of me thinks that sharing this information and experience so far can only help others… either by pointing out where some landmines are or by giving hope to others. Stay tuned for more details.