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Starting My Own Software Agency

Jan 16th, 2024

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My last day working for Amazon was early December of last year. I chose the specific day to leave not because my on call rotation was scheduled during Christmas (it was), it was because that was the day I opened Byte Bot, LLC, my own software agency that I'm doing software contracting work through. I spent most of December doing light work on setting up the business, and after a month of work I was able to book my first client. I'd like to share the story so far, what I've learned, what I'm working on now, and where I plan on going. At the end, as a bonus, I'll reveal the story behind Byte Bot's name and reveal it's mascot 😉.

Making the leap of faith

I've been mulling over software contracting for a bit. I've always had an entrepreneurial itch. I loved the idea of owning my own business and building something I can call totally my own, while having the total freedom to work however I want, and creating a culture tailored toward myself. I, however, neither thought I had the connections nor clear vision to let go of my cushy Amazon job. I even had a normal W2 job lined up after I left Amazon! I thought contracting was for software wizards that can do everything, or agencies with 200 people and there wasn't any room for me.

My mind was changed after talking with actual freelancers, both in my family and those I've met online. They eased the fear I had of not being able to find work. They showed me the human side of the business - people want to work with others they trust and there are plenty of ways to establish that. They shared with me platforms, advice, programs, and even offered to refer me. Dumbfounded with kindness, I had to consider this further.

My original fear being alleviated, the next biggest concern I needed to address was I had runway available. My wife and I are frugal, not penny pinching, yet we try to save as much as we can. We looked at our finances and realized we have plenty to see this through. My wife, being the supportive angel she is, encouraged me in this dream.

I didn't have all the answers, and the path was unclear, but I had enough to get started. On December 12th, I made the leap of faith and filed Byte Bot, LLC with the Florida Division of Corporations.

Finding my niche

In the first month, I worked on so many fundamentals. I created profiles on freelancing platforms, setup business banking, bought, setup by business email, ordered business cards, found groups, and even attained business coaching. Each one of those items was important and could be elaborated in their on blog post, but there was one key thing I wished I solved for earlier - what work I actually did.

I knew I wanted to do cloud based software, but when the platforms and people in my network asked me what type of software I would do through Byte Bot, I was too scared to say anything concrete in fear of losing potential clients. I would say something general like "custom software" or "application development", but that's not helpful for earning business.

People don't want to hire generalists for their problems, they want to hire experts; consequently, you won't get any work until you choose what kind of work you will, and more importantly, won't take on. You have to be ok losing work.

In a way I had to force myself to grapple with this. Perhaps all that other work was a way for me to avoid the hard question. Seriously reflecting on my previous experience and what I loved doing, I drafted the first iteration of my target niche. If you want to see it, you'll have to visit 😉.

Being in community

I enjoyed working for my past companies, but I realized in founding my own, I get to decide how to run it, and there are a few things I want to make a habit for mine, one of which is more community engagement.

I searched for networking events, conferences, and meetups local to where I lived. I figured I can't be the only one in the Tampa area looking for professional community. Lone behold, there are tons of communities technical and non-technical brimming with activity. I had no idea this existed, but I was elated to find them. I attended a few events and started meeting people.

I thought the world of business was a sea of just sharks, but I couldn't justify that imagery any more after how warmly I was welcomed into these communities. Don't worry, thar be dragons, trolls, and goblins plenty in the world, but don't let that distract you from the well meaning people out there too.

In just a month, I've been to three networking events and because I attended them with the sincerity of being part of the community, not just taking, two of them already want to book me for speaking. I've even gotten a couple of referrals already.


I'm still new to owning a business, but I already know that no one will do work for you without 💰💰💰. You have to wear all of the hats early on. I'm definitely up for the challenge, but I wanted help on the skill sets commonly hidden from engineers: marketing, sales, taxes, etc.

I had existing connections, but no one particularly strong in teaching these skill sets. I knew if I moved fast I could fail early, but I'd rather avoid making mistakes if I can. I was convinced mentorship only existed inside corporate walls and no help existed for people like me.

Luckily, I found out that my local dev community, Tampa Devs, has its own free mentorship program. On top of that, there were other business development groups near me ready and willing to lend advice.

In parallel to this, almost immediately after filing for Byte Bot, my Instagram ad algorithm switched real hard toward "business owner". Behold! Paid coaching programs galore! While I wrote off many as a scam, I figured I'd give some a look. If I would hire a personal trainer to help me with my fitness, why wouldn't I hire a coach for my business? After all, if coaching works, shouldn't I make my money back?

After extensive research, I settled on Ugurus. They specialize in digital agencies, but they're close enough to what I do and had all the expertise in what I was weakest in. They also had a heavily discounted, new program specific towards new agencies.

I've only gone through their introductory content so far, but my gosh they really set you straight. They were actually the ones who pointed out I had a niching problem. They even guided me on how to solve it!

I know I'm in a privileged position to be able to afford the down payment of coaching, but it's nice knowing I have someone to help fill in the gaps of what I can't query from my network.

Open source

One of the cool things I realized I get to do when building my own company is I can set the rules to be whatever the hell I want them to be. One thing that I wished I could do working for my previous employers was contribute more to open source, so darn it that's what I'm going to do!

So far I'm able to donate 1 hour per day on average to contributions and I've already done some work on the Tampa Devs website and started some more for Deno. My goal is to do a full day per week. I'd even love one month a year, but I'll work toward that.

If you'd like to collaborate on some projects, let me know! You can also sponsor my open source work.

Getting the first dollar

I'm happy to say that I've booked my first client and another to very likely be made official this week! Looking back at this 1 month turn around to my first gigs, I have to say that I could have done nothing this whole month and still landed that work. This is because those clients came from connections I had built up over the course of my career.

My last post, the one explaining why I left Amazon, accidentally got thousands of views on LinkedIn. Soon after, I made a post announcing how I'm doing freelancing work.

I got a flood of people from previous jobs, clubs I joined in college, and friends I made offering help and advice. Of course not everyone was able to hook me up with work, but two of them did, and others were able to make warm introductions.

I can't rest on this for long. Long term stability will come from the grind of establishing expertise and trust. Yet, it's a start, and one I'm grateful for at that.

There is something to be said though about networking. Please. Don't burn bridges. Be kind. Help others out. Lastly, be open with where you're at; you'd be surprised at what your network will do for you if you put yourself out there.

Where I am now

I've established coaching, taxes, finances, begun networking, and landed two clients. Pretty good for one month. I plan on leaning hard into productive daily habits. I'm iterating on what those habits will be, but the topics I know I'll need to focus on are sculpting branding, freaking kill it for my current clients, and never stop learning. I'm iterating on what exactly that looks like day to day, but this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Right now, apart from the client work, coaching homework, and some of the community fun, I'm tackling lead generation head on. I'm still iterating on what this looks like exactly. This is a new skill for me.

Where I want to be

Here are my goals for 2024:

  1. Reach break even with my family's expenses then profitability to allow for savings
  2. Attend a networking event twice a month
  3. Attend a large conference (e.g. React Miami)
  4. Take on a mentee
  5. Write a blog post twice a month
  6. Work no more than 40h/w so I can be home for my family

These are a bit bullish, but I like a challenge. I don't want to plan any further than that, because I want to stay focused on getting stable first.

As promised…

I chose the name Byte Bot because I wanted my name to:

  1. Have alliteration for "ring"
  2. Be tech themed
  3. Easily translate into a mascot/logo
  4. Have an available, affordable domain name
  5. Be easy to SEO

I took inspiration from Thought Bot, another software agency I follow, and considered names with "Bot" in them. I originally played with the name "Bit Bot", but Googling it came up with lots of cryptocurrency links and I didn't want to compete with that SEO. I figured Byte Bot was a good alternative and Google searches for it didn't turn up anything substantial.

Also Byte Bot was almost too easy to make a mascot and logo for. Meet Nibble!


My wife leaped at the opportunity to design the mascot given her creative side. I chose the name Nibble, because half a byte is a nibble……get it?…….Byte Bot…….Byte……Nibble….?


If you want to work with me, let's chat! Put some time on my calendar or email me at Also, you can reach me on LinkedIn, Github, Twitter, and Mastadon.

I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes.

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