The hardest part of solopreneurship, or building a one-person business, is realizing it’s not what I want.

I wanted to learn to code, and so I made that happen. Worked during the day, studied on evenings and weekends. I wanted to get a job as a Software Developer, and I made that happen too. I worked for free to get experience, continued honing my skills, and applied to all the jobs I could.

But when it came to this, whatever this is called, I struggled for years, and I continue to struggle. There’s so much more internal friction, and at this point I don’t think it’s from a lack of capability. I’ve reached 10k MRR for what it’s worth, and it feels like I’ve just opened another door to an empty room. This isn’t what I was looking for.

What I thought I was looking for was passive income. I don’t know how exactly to put this, but as a message to my past self: it’s not worth it.

The amount of work required to build and position a product well enough that it consistently generates enough profit, month after month, to pay all your bills, and then some, passively, is astronomically high and ever-changing. The cost is not worth it. As a stepping stone, sure thing, but as an end goal? Forget it.

What do you even get out of it? Free time. And what are you going to do with all that free time? Probably something that you actually care about. All I’m saying is that just making money is too small of an end goal. Making something that will still matter to you even when all old and greyed, that is far more worthwhile. Otherwise, it’s basically a glorified job you’re giving yourself.

I was already making a living 8 years ago, before I decided to learn to code. If at the end of all that was just me learning to make a living again, with extra steps, I would be pissed. In fact, I kind of am.

But sometimes that’s just how it is. I convinced myself that building a profitable product I didn’t care about, alone, was necessary, that I wasn’t good enough until I could do at least that.

And now here I am with a few SaaS products that, combined, make more money than my last job paid me. I was wrong, it was never a question of possibility or whether I was good enough, it was just me being too afraid to pursue what I truly care about, to even explore what that could be. At least if I failed in this I could have said it’s because I didn’t really care. But I didn’t fail. I, for the most part, accomplished what I set out to do, and now all that’s left is a feeling of emptiness.

It’s all good though. Awareness precedes control, or so I’ve heard. I’ll continue working on my existing products until they are as good as I can feasibly make them, because I should at least follow through until one end or the other. It’s a good feeling knowing that what I build helps other people, that my work is appreciated, and I know this not just because they tell me but also because they pay me. It’s actually incredible.

And with this acceptance maybe I can finally afford myself some time to actually explore my curiosities and possibilities. To write, to learn, to dream and engage in things I know almost for certain won’t be profitable, but will ultimately fill my days with wonder, to give me a reason to get up early, to rest deeply, and live a bit fuller.