Bruno Lauwers

On starting a business

It’s time for a celebration!

Exactly one year ago today my company Infinite8 was signed into existence. Considering everything that happened around the world in the past few years a very insignificant event.

To me however this has had such an enormous impact on my life. I’d like to reflect on this first year and look ahead at what’s next.

Let’s dig in!

The humble beginnings

What a weird sensation: It’s just been 12 months since I got a ton of pdfs in my mailbox noting that my company had been succesfully registered. And that was only the start of all the paperwork. Opening bank accounts, getting insurance, registering domain names, getting through the screening process of my first client before the assignment was due to start. What a busy week!

Looking back at this a year later, it really puts a smile on my face. It felt like a never ending story of administration at the time, but thankfully the rest of the year was way more focussed on doing the fun stuff - doing interesting stuff with great people!

Why now?

After a year where most people were locked up in their own homes for way longer than they’d like to be, I decided it was time for me to take the leap and start out on my own. The whole pandemic made me, like a lot of people globally, think about what I wanted to get out of this life. And although I was grateful I still had a job when so many people were affected, I felt like it was time for something different.

Because I’m lucky enough to know my way around a computer I had the freedom to start and see what happened. It was scary but I knew that in the worst case scenario I could probably get a job somewhere anyways.

Ever since I can remember the idea of starting my own company and other people paying you for what you do fascinates me. As a freelancer you basically sell your expertise to another company. It’s not the most exciting business model but it pays the bills and you have to start somewhere!

Although I’m not directly doing what I envisioned when starting a company (it’s nothing like building a fancy startup), I can see myself doing this for a couple more years. It would be great to re-invest the profits of my work now back into the company and see where it goes from here.

Not going back

I don’t see myself going back to working for an employer anytime soon. There’s a couple reasons for that.

Most of all I like the responsibility. All the work I do is directly for my future and for that of my family. I get to decide what I spend my time on. Except for my regular building software for clients, I get to think about what I want this business to be and what is going to be next. There’s no top-down planning on what to work on next quarter. It’s just me.

Another factor is the flexibility. As an employee you’re usually bound to the amount of days you take off in a year. As a freelancer I feel way more flexibility in this sense. If I want to take a break between assignments, I can. If I want to work a little less for a week because I have a lot going on in my private life, I can. Although these things are also possible working for some employers, the feeling of not having to ask for permission is liberating.

Finally the opportunities it gives me to work with amazing people and from amazing places is something I’m really grateful for. As I started out me and two of my closest friends (who both work as freelancers themselves) decided it would be a great idea to rent an office space together.

I can confidently say that this was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made concerning my mental health. As most offices here in the Netherlands were closed, creating a space outside of my home where we could safely go and do work with people I love being around and admire for what they do was such a luxury. And now that we have even more space, we could even welcome one more friend to join our space! I don’t think all this would have felt like an option if I had to finance this privately.

The next chapters

So one year in, what’s next? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself regularly these last couple months. I don’t think I’ll be doing freelancing for the rest of my life. I do however enjoy it for now and I can see myself doing this for a while! I look forward to working with interesting clients and smart people to help them improve their business. There’s still a lot to learn and I intend to work even harder on this the coming years.

In the meantime I intend to work on my own side projects more than I’ve done last year. I think it’s very important to keep this up, making sure I keep learning. Hopefully this also means I’ll actually start finishing some projects as well.

Another ambition is writing (and publishing) more regularly. It’s still a bit out of my comfort zone to put my writing out there for other people to read (I plan to write a post on this too), but everytime I post something I get more comfortable with other people forming opinions about it. I hope I can keep this habit going for a long time, since the benefits of writing out my thoughts far outway the anxiety of people reading it.

Finally I’d like to take some time this year to actually build out Infinite8 to be its own thing. Currently there’s still no logo, no website, no way to contact it. Funny to think you don’t really need these things to survive as a business apparently. If I want it to be running even if I’m not around though, I think it’s about time to put some effort into this!

Thanks for making it all the way here and for sticking around with me for the past years. On to many more!