Washtub

A holding company for side projects

May 18, 2018

by Colin Bartlett

For as long as I can remember, I have loved building businesses. Ideas have always come naturally to me, and over the years I have honed my skills at actually making those ideas a reality.  I recall one of my first businesses at about 12 or 13 years old, designing nicer looking versions of property data sheets for real estate agents to give out to prospective buyers. My most recent profitable business is StatusGator, a status page monitoring and alerting service.

In between, many ideas have come and gone, products have been built, ideas have been tried. None of these businesses have ever lead to the “Bill Gates” kind of success I dreamed about as a child. However, I’ve had success in other ways — trading my time for dollars as a consultant or as an employee. Over the course of my 20 year career, I’ve built countless web and mobile applications for others, helping them achieve (or attempt) their business goals.

Working on one’s own ideas is immeasurably more satisfying than working on someone else’s.
But it was after my most recent full time employment ended that I decided I did not want to trade time for dollars forever. Working on one’s own ideas is immeasurably more satisfying than working on someone else’s. The trick is how to make a living from it. As it turns out, my friend and frequent colleague, Andy Libby, has similar aspirations of working on his own ideas and products and so we began scheming a way to work together toward that common goal.

The product of that effort is Nimble Industries, a holding company for side projects. Starting from almost nothing, Andy and I hope to build Nimble Industries into a software company that can support ourselves and our families, and one that we will spend our full time hours on in exchange. It won’t be easy. In fact, we intend to put more money in than take out for quite some time. All the current revenue from our existing products, meager as it is, will be spent on growing Nimble Industries for the foreseeable future. That means, StatusGator now becomes a whole owned subsidiary of Nimble Industries, Inc. and we will be investing in it and growing it.

We are building Nimble with the principles of agility and transparency in mind. Because reflection and introspection can be so healthy, we are pledging to blog about and share openly our triumphs and failures, our fortunes and losses.  As much as feasible, we will publish our decision making process both to help ourselves learn and to help others wanting to grow side projects into full time jobs.

And Nimble Industries will be, above all else… well, nimble! That means being pragmatic and adjusting our products, our company, and ourselves on the fly. The goal of Nimble Industries is to build a company-building company. That is, we will not get stuck on a specific product or idea but we will try out many ideas and products. Most of these will fail. Maybe some will marginally succeed with a small income. Maybe several products with small revenue streams will add up to full time income. Or maybe one idea will be so successful, we’ll be able to focus on it and we will shut down or sell the rest. It’s been done before.

Ultimately, we have no idea how Nimble Industries will succeed or even if it will, but we are both excited to get started. We have a backlog of product and service ideas to build, and we have an overwhelming desire to make a lasting and sustainable business. I believe we can do it — if we stay nimble.

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