Running a one person software business: a 6 month look back

How things started

I jumped in head first and started coding to build some cool products. I missed coding frequently, learning new technologies, and creating hand-crafted, polished user experiences, with little trade offs. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, sometimes to a fault...

My initial goal for my business:

  1. Build a solid, good looking web app / tool
  2. Build a solid, good looking iOS app

SplitMyExpenses v1 launch

I released SplitMyExpenses v1 shortly after I quit and I launched it on Product Hunt! It did pretty meh lol. I got some new user signs ups, but not as much as I had hoped for. I jumped to work on a new product, since I didn't want to put all my eggs in one basket.

Working on my OWN iOS app for the first time

The bill splitting tool felt super niche, so I wanted to try working in a competitive area.

AI chat apps were hot at the time, and I had checked off my first goal of a polished website, so I decided it was time to work on my own iOS app, built with modern technologies like SwiftUI. I was coding in Objective-C and C at Facebook, so it wasn't really helping to keep up with modern iOS technologies and Swift language changes. Thankfully it was my own decisions and time to manage now, so I chose the latest and greatest and learned a ton!

As a software dev at large companies, you mostly work on a feature/page/section of the app and don't touch all aspects: app lifecycle, release process, and marketing. Those are other people's jobs! But now it was all on me... way more work than I thought. I had anticipated for a month or two to finish off Chatty Butler and release + market it. It took ~3 months which isn't too long, but felt painful to get to the finish.

New projects are always exciting and getting those finishing touches and that last 20% is sometimes HARD. I really felt that with Chatty but it was a great learning experience none the less.

SplitMyExpenses pivot to version 2.0

Chatty Butler was fun to build but in a way too crowded market. Competing with OpenAI is a tough challenge, you either have to niche down or get out.

I wasn't super thrilled with how things were panning out with Chatty, my only paying users were family members, so that's when you know it's time to move on or pivot massively.

SplitMyExpenses 2.0 was brewing in my head, after so many users were asking for "group" support. I didn't want to become Splitwise, but everyone hated Splitwise, so maybe it's time to challenge them. Off I went, on a multi month re-write from late Sept to December, gutting my code and prepping version 2.0.

I released in December 2023, and it had incredible feedback and growth!

SplitMyExpenses today

A crap ton of work went into it, a ton of great user feedback, and a TON of user requests. Not many paying users, but the journey has just begun. I have no clue how it will turn out and I'm learning every day, but it's a challenge and I'm very very interested to see how I can guide the product to become it's best version.

Looking forward

At the end of the day, being an entreprenur is living in the unknown, risk, and uncertainty. It's having 3000 things to do, but only having one work day at a time. I had planned to be very organized and execute in a laser focused manner, but in reality, there are so many tugs and pulls in different directions that you need to be swift at changing what you are working on, to capture the trends and momentum of the various waves that come your way. And trust me, there are plenty!