Primoz Cigler on Business and Code

Retiring at 30 – a year later (or a year before?)

It’s this time of the year again. In last year’s announcement I wrote how I wanted to take sabbatical year when I turn 30.

Boy, one year’s around and I have no idea whether I’m closer to the goal and doing it already or on the totally different track.

For more than half a year, this blog didn’t get any attention because my focus shifted 180 degrees. In July 2018, we made a decision at ProteusThemes that we don’t pursue the same idea with WordPress themes the way we did so far. With Jaka, we started searching for a new business idea. Actually found a very interesting problem for solving: helping people write copy for websites. But defining it as a product we’d be able to build in a reasonable time was too tough challenge. In the following months, when when Jaka an I were solving the product-market fit, Gregor and Marko were developing pet projects and learning new technologies. But then we saw that it will take us much more time than we’ve anticipated to crack the product-market fit and our earnings from ProteusThemes were on the edge of our expenses. We decided to let our core development go.

I told the team about the inevitable facts just before I departed to 2 months Chicago exchange.

But there was another reason that lead events shifting so rapidly. Last year I wrote:

I want to spend a year doing the things most people wish they’d do in their lifetime but never find time to do them. Things like travelling around the world. Things like writing a book. Things like building my own tiny house with your bare hands. Things like opening the shop with Manca without the packaging and plastic waste.

In September, Manca and I tested the interest in Slovenia for the zero waste shop with the video we posted on Facebook. It went viral, in 2 days 600k people saw it (no adspend). We were covered in all major national media.

Well, what to do with such a market feedback?

My first promise to Manca was that I’ll help her with the store – with marketing and finances, especially. Help her for 2-3 hours a day, if needed. Well, soon after returning from US, I saw that there is no way I could handle building two startups at the same time and I’ll need to decide to put all my focus and energy in one.

It was a hard decision. I loved working on Rifuzl, but at times it was (*still is) very tiring and stressful. On the other hand, building a digital startup nowadays is not short of difficult and stressful as well. But at the end, after investing so much money and energy to Rifuzl, the decision was to put Rifuzl first and everything else second. Which essentially meant putting Rifuzl first and not even touching anything else for months. On December 24, 2018, we’ve opened the shop:

“How you’re doing?”, is what I hear every day. Well, I must say that pretty good. It’s a totally different business and many people recommended me to stay away from it and that I will regret it. There were many times I understood what they meant. But there are more moments, when I am so glad that I decided the way I did.

The timing for opening such shop is perfect. We are working on (and in) the business that has a deeper meaning and a huge impact. We’re seeing happy faces walking in the shop every day.

It’s just beautiful and rewarding! 🙂

I’ve probably given over dozen of speeches this year already about Rifuzl, including a TEDx talk.

The only thing that’s annoying me that we’re not profitable yet. Retail industry is tough. You make a ton of revenue, but margins are slim – that said, if you want to run an affordable shop, not luxury one. But after 5 months, we’re getting close to the break-even point and I’m looking forward to a month when we make a profit, which will be a confirmation for us that we can have a business that has enormous positive impact on people and environment and at the same time it is sustainable as well. Because only a profitable business is sustainable on a long run. Everything else doesn’t count.

To some extent, it feels like I’ve reached my “30 years old Primož” goals a year earlier. On the other hand, it seems like I’m all over at the beginning and I’ve postponed them for 10 years. But in any way, even though that there were days when I’ve been doing handyman stuff on Sunday evenings in Rifuzl, I know for certain that I am more happy now than I would be now in ProteusThemes if we were still struggling with the same problems we had for years.

That’s all there’s about: know your destination, but – more importantly – make sure you enjoy the ride there!

I walked the talk and I’ll walk it further.

1 existing year to go. Cannot wait to read these lines the next year!

Do you want to hear my opinion on women entrepreneurship?

Some of you are checking this blog daily because I’ve promised I’ll be blogging while on WorldChicago professional fellowship (in Chicago, duh). I’ll keep you waiting a little bit more, this also isn’t one of these “here’s how my day’s been going” reports (btw, Maja does that).

Rather, it’s the copy/paste answer to this email from Milana from our fellowship:

My answer is below (excuse me for brevity and grammar mistakes, I actually copy/pasted it):

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Getting retired at 30

I woke up today morning. My first thought was: what should I do today so when I go to the bed in the evening, I’m getting closer to my goal – getting retired at the age of 30. I had the same first thought yesterday when I woke up. And the day before. Actually, it’s this same thought that got me out of bed every morning for the past few months.

Today is my 28th birthday which makes my goal 2 years away.

But to understand where this crazy idea of retiring at 30 comes from, I first have to tell you a story.

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Application for the WorldChicago Tech Fellowship Program

As part of the CEED business program, I’ve been encouraged to apply for the 5-weeks long exchange program between the city of Chicago and European countries.

I’ve spent effectively 5h22m applying to the program (yes, I track my time and apply Eisenhower to determine which tasks I should be doing more and which I should eliminate or delegate) + paid for the professional proof-reading of the motivational letter. I firmly believe I stand good chances of being selected as one of 4 entrepreneurs from Slovenia who will travel to Chicago in autumn 2018 for 5 weeks. But then again, if I’m not selected, at least what I can do is that I share my motivational letter (the major part of the application) with dear readers of my blog. This way, I won’t have that bad feeling of wasting up my time in case I’m not selected.

So here it is 🙂

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My New Daily Routine

For the last 2 months, I started going to bed and waking up at the same time (10.20 pm / 6.20 am), always having consistent 8 hours of sleep (+/- 10 minutes). If you met me at this time, most probably I have already told you this (because I tell everyone).

This has an enormous positive impact on my life and allows me to start days like this:

What about you? What positive change in your life did you make recently that helped you?

Pushing Merlin WP Towards Stable Release

In the summer heat of the last year, Rich Tabor has spiced up the atmosphere with his project Merlin WP – the onboarding wizard for themes or, as he puts it:

Merlin WP is my stab at addressing the tedious and exhausting WordPress theme setup and onboarding process. It makes installing a new WordPress theme, its recommended WordPress plugins, Customizer settings, widgets, and demo content, an exciting and gratifying user experience.

– Rich Tabor (original post)

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