It's hard to believe it's been more than half an year since I started my own company and became an independent machine learning consultant. It's been a very interesting ride.
There have been plenty of moments where the predominant feeling was "what now?". How am I going to find more clients? How to negotiate with this client? The Dip, as it's called by Seth Godin, is very real and very scary. When you draw the line and see how much you've earned over six months... you start getting serious doubts. Was it worth it? Wouldn't it have been better (and much easier) to just find a nice job?
But there are other moments: when I realize I have freedom to choose my clients and the projects that I work on; after working for a whole day on something that I love, ML, without any useless meetings; when deciding with almost complete freedom the tech stack which will be used to build the ML side of things; when I take a day off almost whenever I want, just because I don't feel like working on that particular project on that particular day. Or when I realize that I am a consultant, that my clients look to me for advice and that they actually take my advice seriously. If I say that the way they did things previously won't work and they should do things differently? They'll get to it right away.
And then there are moments when I realize I barely have time to read any state of the art machine learning papers and instead I have to learn the basics of marketing, branding, business development, communication, coaching, explaining, teaching - and to put all of this into practice. Most of my clients don't care if I'm using the latest state of the art Transformer architecture (and don't even know what on earth that is). They don't even know what machine learning is. But they need someone to explain it to them - to people who have built successful companies in their own fields - and to help them understand if it's something that they need or not.
I am thankful to God for guiding me on this new path, of which I have dreamed for a long time. Faith in his faithfulness is what has kept me steady when my knees wavered.
I am grateful to my dear wife who was willing to take this risk alongside me and has been very supportive all along the way.
I am very glad I have a good accountant who can help me with all the paperwork of the company.
I am grateful to the whole team from Oradea Tech Hub, who have helped me get my name out there, and especially to my friend David Achim with whom I did many rounds of business strategy discussions.
And I am thankful to many others who have cheered me on, who have encouraged me and who have put in a good word for me to potential clients.