Douglas Knight of New Canaan is a software engineer who specializes in developing proprietary software. He works with a wide variety of clients, including healthcare, manufacturing, and retail firms. His expert coding skills and innate business sense make him a valuable asset to the world of programming.
Knight became involved in computer science at a young age. He was an avid video gamer as a teen and was fascinated with the process of programming. He taught himself the basics of coding and created a few simple computer games while he was still in high school. He honed his skills in college and during his Master’s Degree program.
He enjoys living in a town with such a vibrant community. He contributes to the community by teaching young people to code. He strongly believes in the creativity and innovation that teenagers and young adults bring to the world of coding. He works to encourage them to create their software and to go into business for themselves. He has mentored several up-and-coming entry-level coders by mentoring them before and after college. He develops mobile games on the side.
When Douglas is not at work, he has some enriching hobbies. His primary hobby is woodworking. He has become an expert furniture builder and has completed many pieces for his friends and family. He also runs half-marathons and plays the trombone. He believes that a strong work-life balance is important to a well-rounded experience.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
I’ve always been fascinated with coding. When I was a teenager, I started writing games and other types of programs for my home computer. When I first got into the workforce, I worked in web development. My second job was as a coder for a large technology company. I continued to develop my ideas on the side, and I decided to go into business for myself.
How do you make money?
I make money from client billings. My clients and I have a good relationship. I feel that I am paid fairly. I also make a little money from mobile games. I have been so busy with my consulting business; I haven’t had time to work on games lately.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
It took about a year to become profitable. I received some excellent advice from an older colleague before I started out, so I had about a year’s worth of personal savings before I struck out on my own. While you’re waiting for your business to turn a profit, you still need to eat and pay the rent.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Everyone has doubts when they start out in a new line of work. I had grown accustomed to having a job with good benefits and job security. Going out on my own was intimidating.
How did you get your first customer?
I worked for a friend of a friend, developing a piece of software that he could use to track inventory in his manufacturing business. Personal networking has been very important in my job.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works well to generate new business?
LinkedIn has been a huge help in spreading the word about my business. It’s nice that previous clients can recommend my work as well. I also spend time on Twitter, which increases my name recognition.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
I had to decide whether to work with a new client. Their line of business is quite different from any other company I’ve worked with. I did decide to take the job, and I’ve been learning all about their sector.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
My determination makes me successful. I’m not easily discouraged, and I bounce back from adversity quickly. I’ve always been an optimist, and I try hard to see the good in any situation.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
My most satisfying moment so far was when I received my first payment from my first customer. It was such a relief to see my business grow. I didn’t want to end up in an industry job again with a failed company behind me.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
I would like to hire a few good people and transform my consultant shop into a full-fledged business. This is a long-term dream, and I know it will take a lot of time and money to achieve.
What business books have inspired you?
The Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson has been a huge inspiration both personally and in my business dealings. Steve Jobs’ vision and the way he ran his company have made a giant impact on the world.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
I bought a new stand-up desk. Sitting for too long each day is associated with greater mortality rates. I like to be active in my daily life.
What is one piece of business advice you can share with our readers?
Never give up on your dreams. When we stop dreaming, we stop living. Set personal goals for yourself and work toward them each day.