On January 11 2021, in the middle of a pandemic, I quit my very fulfilling and stable Government job to run my own company. Six months on, how do I feel about this decision. What is it like doing this?
|InfoSect founders: Silvio & Kylie|
At the start of 2021 I was a Technical Director in the Australian Government. I had worked there since 2009. My job was energising and rewarding. I certainly hadn't plateaued and I had been given remit of some really exceptional work.
In 2017, my husband Silvio and I bought a warehouse in Fyshwick and started a hackerspace called InfoSect. We were inspired by groups like the L0pht in the USA. We just wanted a place to hangout with other hackers and do cool research.
|April 2017 - purchase of InfoSect warehouse|
Silvio hired two part-time staff for InfoSect to help him in 2020. At this point, almost all of my evenings and weekends were starting to be spent helping him run the business.
So I made the huge decision to give my notice and resign my full-time, rewarding career.
It was the start of 2021, I was on a new adventure. My expectations revolved mostly around freedom. I was going to be free to set my own hours, choose my own work and of course, present and publish how I wanted.
I bought myself a gym membership for 2021. I am most definitely not a morning person, but in my new job I thought I could go to the gym at 9 or 10am and then catch up hours at night. I was so used to working at night helping with the business at this point, I thought this would be easy.
I wanted to do research. So many projects waiting for me, so many things I wanted to explore.
And of course, I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to build something that filled a gap in cyber security. I wanted to leave a legacy.
Six months already?
|Before & After InfoSect Rennovation|
|InfoSect In-Person & Virtual Training 2021|
|IoT & OT Labs Built|
|InfoSect Staff: Jayden, Josh, Silvio, Kylie, Sam, Josie and Di|
- I have less time. I actually didn't think that was possible. When something needs doing for a customer, course or deadline - I'm doing it whether its Saturday, Sunday or midnight.
- The range of what I do has increased so much. I guess until we're bigger, we're all going to be pitching in to provide solutions for every component of the business.
- The buck stops with me (oh, and also Silvio I guess). It's always at the back of my mind that until we are bolstered and have gained momentum, the success and failure of InfoSect is heavily based on the commitment and work Silvio and I do in these early days. And luck - I feel like we have so much luck on our side every day.
- Working with Silvio is fantastic. He is so genuine and smart. He literally wants everyone around him to learn more and love what they're doing as much as he does. I was concerned working with my husband would have us spending too much time together, but we've fallen into an easy, fun, workable relationship.
- Do it - it's an amazing experience. Like most experiences in life, until you do it you can't really comprehend what it will be like.
- Prepare for highs and lows. Some days Silvio and I are literally dancing around celebrating a win for InfoSect, other days we are having sleepless nights worrying about something. It's more rollercoaster than any other job I've had, but definitely worth it.
- Pick your business partner well. This person is going to be sharing the best and worst times with you. You are going to be spending a lot of time together. The ability to work together, divide tasks and feel like you are both contributing equally is super important.
- Make sure you're doing something you love. I guess this is obvious. I imagine this is like when you pick your topic for your PhD. You're going to be spending a lot of time doing your business, so make sure you love it.
- Understand that you will need to be flexible in what you do. You may identify as a specialist, but the reality is - you are going to have to use all your knowledge to fill in the gaps that the business has. You will need to learn about business management, customer engagement, contracts, finance and of course, flat pack assembly. If you're open to learning new things, this can be fun.