Name: Joshua Plicque
Business Name: Or Equals
Describe your business.
We are a web software development consultants who specialize in delivering massive cost reductions to business owners by eliminating time-intensive internal processes.
Tell us about your self-employment journey.
I resigned from my position as an Engineering Manager at a startup in October 2019. I was on an extended sabbatical and enjoying my break by doing some day trading in the stock market, playing video games and learning computer science concepts for fun.
In January of 2020, I received calls from three different companies asking me for software development services. I was in the middle of my sabbatical and I thought to myself, “I think I have a business on my hands!”
I jumped in head-first… and BAM! coronavirus hits the United States in March 2020. Company pocketbooks started closing up and I was out of work for almost two months.
As the country got used to life intra-pandemic, the economy started turning around, and I won some contracts. I went from broke as a joke to needing to hire another developer for my workload in about four months!
What area of your business are you most passionate about?
My favorite part about building custom software is how it transforms businesses. My first project at Or Equals was to build an inventory management application for a food bank in downtown Jacksonville, Florida.
After a year of running the new software, they told me that they threw out 90% of their paper document records saying, “All of it is in the software!”
I get so pumped when something virtual like software has a significant real-world impact.
What’s the most valuable thing you learned early in your career that has contributed to your success?
Learning how to code and build software is very difficult. The initial grind is synonymous with banging your head against a brick wall every day. There’s a world of information that you are fully aware that you know nothing about. Computers are fickle beasts. You have to tell them exactly, precisely, what to do or they will do the utterly wrong thing.
During this time, I developed tenacity and the ability to bathe in an environment of constant failure. Code just doesn’t work….until it works. You start with failure with everything you’re building. Eventually, you come up for air with each success! Your achievement is rewarded with a new brick wall to bang your head against.
You eventually learn to make that brick wall your best friend. You learn that failure leads you to the right answer.
How are you pivoting your business during the COVID-19 pandemic?
All businesses have to pivot and become remote-friendly. Businesses have to compete globally in the Information Age. That means sourcing talent from outside of your city and possibly outside of your country.
Or Equals has been focusing on building an internal infrastructure that has its office in the cloud. That allows us to hire anywhere, work from anywhere and deliver value from any location on the planet.
What’s a recent project that you’ve worked on that you’re really excited about?
The latest business transformation that I achieved via software was building the ZenCase legal practice management platform over the past few years. We doubled the profit-making ability of ZenCase’s first client. I’m very proud of that achievement. I love helping businesses get dollar multiples on their software investment. You can see this platform in action here and here.
What advice would you give other self-employed people?
The best advice I can give other businesses of one is to view failure and adversity as feedback. Bad things happening are ultimately good for you and your business.
When you were a kid learning to ride a bike, you weren’t concerned with falling off the bike. You kept your eye on the prize, always pedaling forward.
Being a business-of-one is just like that. Keep pedaling forward.
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