Defining success, questioning support

3 Dec 2010 · by David DeSandro

I should clarify what's going on here.

This business of Metafizzy is a side-project, something I'll be working on in my off-hours. My career and first professional priority remains with nclud where I am very much happy to be. Martin and Alex support my little endeavor. I'm very lucky to be working at a place I believe in with people who get it. In no way do I plan on taking hours away from nclud to devote to this little business.

Since Metafizzy is a lower priority, how I define its success is a bit unconventional.

Metafizzy should be profitable, but not at a cost of sacrificing loads of personal time.

From what I've gained regarding running your own business, this goal may be fantastical. But I feel its achievable as I should be able to manage my time as I see fit. If I do end up pouring hour after endless hour of my free-time to this project, I can always pull the plug, brush off my hands, walk away, and chalk it up as a loss.

The initial revenue stream — selling licenses for the super-Masonry plugin — fits in with this definition of success. After I complete development on the plugin, and get the payment system up and running, my workload is pretty much complete on that front.

But the real question I've been wrestling with is how to handle support.

Currently with Masonry, I get an average of 3 support requests a week. After Isotope is released, I imagine I can expect to receive even more. Isotope has more features, and consequently will generate more questions. Now the good-guy/open-source dude in me wants to help these people. But the business manager knows that isn't feasible to put hours into resolving others' issues unless I can turn it into revenue. Of course there are ways to do that, but I'm not sure if it will fit into my measure for success.

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