July 8, 2020

I sold my B2B business and achieved my dreamed... meaningless life?

Leo Nagano

My lessons learned?

  • Look for a meaningful life, always
  • but health first
  • Time is precious
  • Challenges make me alive
  • Be happy
  • Have savings
  • Money is temporary, spend wisely
  • B2B business is hard. Relationships help a lot

Intro

2007 - I’d been working for 10 years in Brazil, mainly as a software engineer and tech lead for a few different software development agencies.

Hectic environment was the norm. 250+ hours/month for 4 months, no weekends, no exercises. I was like: “I’m young, I can do all of it”.

Problem

Then, all of the sudden, I felt an irregular heart rate. I felt my heart beating faster for 2 days. This situation led me to a hospital visit. Burnt out detected. I was told to reduce workload. At least, my heart and everything else was completely fine.

This problem would change my mindset forever.

Solution

Worrying about my life, I left the company and planned to spend 1 year taking care of myself, no work at all. (At the time I was living at home, no kids, 2 years of savings, which facilitated my decision)

My new mindset

  • I will never work as many hours as before
  • I will not worry about work as much as I will about my health

What did I do next?

2 months into my “forced sabbatical”. Got a call from a former colleague: a job proposal. “NO, I’ll stay 1 year off work”. “How about doing a contract, working from home, at your own time?” I sent my proposal, considering 8hrs/day, higher rates and extended delivery dates. “Ok, agreed”.

Fast forwarding some years, I co-created a B2B product (similar to QlikView and GeckoBoard) at my own pace (10 months), without pressures (working normal hours). Took us 10 months to strike the first sale!

Company of One

I ran the company for 9 years:

  • 3 co-founders, I was the only one - working full time
  • 4 clients only
  • 4 employees
  • All projects had realistic deadlines. We wouldn't allow pressure from clients to deliver earlier
  • No extra hours
  • Flexible time, we mostly could work whenever and wherever we wanted to, following the deliverables

All of it also allowed me to work less hours and enjoy the chased freedom. We were thriving.

Finally, the dreamed life

Everything was running accordingly. No long hours. Holidays abroad. Time to exercise. Low 7 figures revenue. Great profit. Highly efficient employees. The dreamed life had arrived! To make it even better, I received an offer and sold my company for something in the north of 7 times my yearly earnings.

Moving abroad

With money on hand was time for us (my wife and I) to take the biggest decision of our lives: to move abroad, from the hot and sunny Brazil to London (I’ll write another post with the reasons we decided to move).

I’m on top of the world

Now, I have all the time I wished for. I can travel a lot. I don’t need to work. I’m successful, anything I launch will be profitable. I know how to make money.

Then I travelled. I didn’t look for a new job at all. I invested my time in side-projects as diverse as a list of transport options from airports to city centres. List of UK beers. List of videogame’s musics.

Is everything going according to the plan?

Well, my new lifestyle was not bringing me real happiness. Having anything I dreamed of without any clear purpose was meaningless.

Adding to this, my side-projects were not helping anyone. This made me realise I wasn't as invincible as I arrogantly had thought.

The meaning of my life

One of the purposes of our moving abroad, was to raise kids in a safer country, with less problematic politics. Then, sticking to the original plan, it was time to have a baby. He was born 2 years after I started my dreamed, empty life.

Since then, I'm one of the most important people in the world, at least for him. My life now has the most clear objectives, most difficult challenges and the best rewards ever:

  • to make him as happy as possible. If he’s happy, I’m more than happy

  • to raise him without any preconceived views

  • and many, many more

Now, I’m on top of the world.

My today’s world

Since 2018 I'm working as a Project Manager/Product Owner after 12 years as an employer.

Why? My mind needs to be active (empty mind sucks). It makes me feel alive. I need the income.

There are loads of positive points now, like 25 days of holidays, clear direction, having a boss to learn from, working in an industry I’m passionate about (sports), career progression, etc.

My future

I’m chasing the dream, once again, of launching something that helps people. Why?

to see the real joy of helping people solve their problems to spend quality time with my family. This time will never come back to have the freedom to work whenever and wherever I’m the most productive To feel the rush when a new client buys my product Now, I’m 100% sure I’m using my time and money way more wisely than before.

I want to write more articles about product creation, pricing, monetisation, resources management, struggles, sales process (~90 potential clients to 4 sales). Please, let me know if this article helped you somehow.

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