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Today, we are joined by Chris Rickard, who followed a journey from a full-time developer to building and scaling his own software development agency. After graduating university, Chris gained experience working for a development agency and a startup. These experiences helped him gain the skills to begin freelancing on the side.

Chris and a fellow co-founder were both freelancing, so they combined forces to start up their own agency. This provided a safety net of initial work as they continued to build a sales pipeline. They found their niche in the startup scene in Melbourne, Australia, where they specialized in helping founders bring their MVPs to life. Over a 4 year period, they grew to twelve employees, but it turned out not to be the direction he was looking for.

Chris brought up to his co-founder about working remote in Thailand, which prompted a conversation about what direction the company was going in and what they both wanted. It ended with Chris buying out his co-founder and Chris’ wife quitting her full-time job to join as a partner in the agency. It led to extremely difficult next steps, where they made serious changes to the business. They cut half of their staff, only kept a handful of core clients, and sold their brand new office. They wanted to focus on building the type of company that integrated with their life. They focused on building a culture of work-life balance, travel, and picking the types of clients that fit in with their new model.

These changes led Chris to building a valuable asset and he was able to sell the agency in 2020. Chris and his wife have been traveling in a RV across Australia for the past 10 months. This has given them both the space to think about what is next. Chris started a blog where he helps other developers start their own agencies based on his experiences. This time and spaces has also led to consulting opportunities and new potential product ideas.

If you are looking to learn from or connect with Chris, check out his blog here!

Check out the conversation as we dive into the following:

  • How he decided to go to university to become a software engineering instead of continuing with his punk band
  • How the conversation of moving to Thailand led to a difficult conversation with his co-founder
  • How his wife quit her full-time job to become a partner in the agency
  • How they cut both employees and clients to get more efficient as a business
  • How he thinks about work-life integration versus work-life balance

Listen to Chris share his story and get inspired with his amazing advice to people thinking about following a similar path. Check out the full conversation on YouTube or Spotify by clicking the links below.

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Know someone who should be on Why I Quit? We’re looking for all types of stories and people to feature at the top of the show. To nominate yourself or someone else, email and tell us your name, where you’re from and what you want to talk about.