I tell my kids that once you find something to be passionate about, you'll experience joy in what you do. It may be your career, your mate, your spiritual life, an outreach program, or, hopefully, all of the above. No matter what you do, when you're passionate about it, then you'll find the energy and drive to do it better and it won't feel like work.
I've been blessed with an amazing wife who allows me to follow my passions despite the years of living with the insecurity of being self-employed. It would have been so much easier on her if I would have taken a more conventional path and had a steady paycheck and pension to rely on, but she married me and has been stuck with my ways.
There have been times in my life when I had the money and time to start my own company, but I just couldn't. Even after I had done it four times, I struggled at one point to do it again and I couldn't figure out why. The reason was simple: I wasn't passionate about anything at the time. For me, owning my own business is not about the money. I like earning money and I really, really, really like to spend it, but that's not the driving force for me. There needs to be a higher purpose.
With No Thirst Software, I feel a purpose. Debt Quencher is a simple solution to a very common problem of dealing with credit card debt. MoneyWell is a companion product that empowers people to control their spending. I have no medical degree, but in some small way, I am helping cure people of problems they are experiencing. Being in debt or having financial troubles can cause serious health issues and enormous pain, and helping to relieve that suffering in any way fills a need in me.
There's also a geekier side to my passion: I love when technology works well. I'm not a gadget freak, in fact, I'm very selective about my technology. That's probably why I'm such a fan of Apple products—Apple has a history of producing products that have elegant designs, are well-crafted, and are comfortable to use without training—even though they are high-tech products.
I recently added several features to version 1.2 of MoneyWell that I feel have elegant designs and are comfortable to use immediately. That version is now in beta testing so I'll find out soon if my beta testers feel the same way. It's hard for many people to control their spending. For some of us—like me—we just don't want to even know how much we spend because we'd have to change our behavior and that sounds like a drag. But with the latest version of MoneyWell, I'm excited about recording even my cash expenses. With MoneyWell, it's finally simple enough to do that I can get my lazy butt to do it.
It's been years since I've been this passionate about software development. It's a combination of being able to solve a pain in my life, being able to positively affect others' lives, and having the right tools and operating system. I lost my passion for writing Windows software when I had to spend most of my time coding to work around bugs and quirks in that operating system. Now with Mac OS X, I'm coding for a system that was developed by people with a passion for excellence.
It's a lot of work to design and write software, create websites, documentation, marketing materials, and the rest that goes with being a micro-ISV, but it doesn't feel like work to me. I wish that everyone could find a passion in their lives and experience this type of joy. Passion is an amazing blessing.