How to achieve progress

Leadership Dec 3, 2019

I don't understand why so many people are afraid of progress instead of striving for it. If I look at the world, I see people who don't like change–they don't want progress in their personal life, in politics, and in business.

Again, I have to quote Thomas Frey from his book Epiphany Z that I mentioned in other posts. It's my favorite quote of all time, and it's his first law of the future:

The future is one of nature's greatest forces. The future is a force so massive the entire universe is being pulled forward in time simultaneously. We have no choice in this matter. The future will happen whether or not we agree to participate.

If you let that sink in, you'll realize that there will be progress. There will be progress, and you better be prepared.

In my own life, I try to improve on something nearly every day. There are small fun things like my rediscovered passion for juggling but also big steps like leaving my old job and becoming self-employed.

All achievements that I've earned are the result of tiny steps that move me forward and that accumulate over time. Nobody starts with 10,000 and more Twitter followers or creates a PHP framework with millions of users. We all start with minimal resources and with a single task.

A few years ago, I started reading blog articles and books on leadership, sales, pricing, marketing, and many other topics. They all move me forward, and this is how my progress looks like. I don't read one book about running a business and copy all ideas as the unique truth. I read dozens and combine their knowledge with all other topics that I'm interested in, into a unique version on my own. The main point is that I'm not at a finish line and most likely never will be. I continuously read more and keep progressing.

For me, doing the same things for more than twelve months is unbelievably boring. I started my full-time career in professional web development in 2010 as a Flash developer ( ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ) and moved to iOS development about a year later. Objective-C wasn't something I enjoyed, so I started managing a remote team that did. After a while and because our company grew, I became a project manager and inofficial team lead. Project management turned into consulting because I always wanted to move the needle, and I don't like to manage other people's ideas. A bit later, my former employer offered me the option to create a new business within their company–we were close to signing contracts, but it didn't feel right and I had a minority stake at the company–so I decided to leave and become a freelancing consultant. All these things happened from 2010 to the end of 2016–many people don't change their jobs that often in their whole career.

In 2017, I partnered with my friend and former lead developer, Marcel, and we founded Beyond Code. The intention and goal of Beyond Code is to be a software company. At the moment, we still make more than 50% of our yearly revenue with client projects–but after only 10% of our annual income from stuff we made in 2018, this is up to more than 30% in 2018. I'm pretty sure that we can make 100% of our needed revenue from things we create in 2021.

In 2021, people will wonder how we came so far and what they need to do to have similar success. They will see all the small things we did year after year, but only a few will understand that it's quite simple: Keep making progress and do stuff you like. Experiment a lot and stop doing things that you don't enjoy. Success is just a matter of time and progress.


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Leadership, Growth

Sebastian Schlein

I’m Sebastian, Managing Partner, Developer and Consultant at Beyond Code. I write about entrepreneurial topics for freelancer, agency owners and people who want to become either of these.