After 15 or so years I’m finally closing down my own company (it was a small one-person vehicle, in Austrian Einzelpersonenunternehmen or EPU). How so?
I’ve been self-employed since I’ve started to study at university. Mostly I did software engineering for various research projects at AIT. There was a short side-project (a failed startup that I created with friends of mine), after that more web development with other friends of mine. Slowly some changes happened, I’ve got down towards security/penetration-testing six or seven years ago. Five years ago I got an part-time employment at the research center, mostly for two EU research projects. my work time got more and more split between pen-testing and research stuff.
Two years ago, I split from AIT, at the same time I finally accepted a part-time employment as professional penetration tester at CoreTec. Good choice, but only attacking and breaking software on a project-by-project base is fun but not really fulfilling. Then I got the offer to teach at the FH/Technikum Wien, initially a course on Web Application Security. Now my balance between disruptive/destructive work has been restored. It feels good to teach security to sixty-or-so people a year, hopefully this makes a difference. Surprisingly, while being an external lecturer, I am employed by the FH. So I am down to two employments and some small side-projects. Money-wise I make more money than I can sensibly spend (people that know me, might add that I sometimes am not the most sensible with my expenses though). There have also been some well-going stock-market investments, so my retirement/old-age funds should be okay-ish.
Some non-profit side-work has appeared (OWASP-leadership for the Vienna chapter, authoring some free lecture notes/books for students) so there’s not so much time for side-projects left. Austria imposes a lot of mental/time overhead on the self-employed, it’s separate social security system for entrepreneurs works well albeit slow and a bit erratic. So I decided to close down my company for now and safe that time/mental effort.
What will I spent my newly free time on? Don’t know yet, currently I’m supervising some master theses. Maybe I will finally have a bit more time for the non-profit work. Or maybe just do more reading, bouldering and research. That stuff seemed to work out well for me in the past and I do like the “Gentleman Researcher”-idea.