R.I.P. Artefaqs Corporation • 2003-2022
Thursday, June 30th, 2022 Alive18,692days
Today was the last day of operation of the Artefaqs Corporation.
Unless you're a low-level paper pusher at a local, county, state, or federal licensing entity, you most likely didn't notice.
Artefaqs Corporation was my first business. I started it in 2003, and for 19 years it provided income for me and my family. At first, it did quite well, and I had many clients from big-name banks to construction companies to global real estate developers. But the world has changed over the last two decades, and it was time to officially close up shop.
When I left the world of journalism, Artefaqs was my sole source of income, and it did quite well. The first nail in the coffin was the Great Recession, which started in 2007, but didn't hit me until 2008. Most of my clients disappeared overnight, or no longer required my services.
So, I pivoted. Moved the company to a cheaper state, and soldiered on. Everything was moving along smoothly, until the next financial crisis hit a decade later. By this time, I still wasn't fully recovered from the last pivot, so I ended up taking part-time work coding for another company.
I wasn't entirely happy with the company, but it helped pay the bills, and allowed me to keep a measure of semi-autonomy in my life. Still, not being able to devote myself to Artefaqs full-time meant that it couldn't grow and thrive. But that eventually ended when my job was outsourced to India.
I sent a day wandering the waterfront of Laughlin, Nevada feeling sorry for myself. Then I realized that I had two choices in life: Go work for someone else full-time, or devote myself to Artefaqs and re-build it full-time. I chose the safer road, which was to go work for someone else.
I sometimes wonder what I could have made of Artefaqs, had I pursued a second pivot. But the greater concern I had at the time was providing healthcare for my family. Working for someone else allowed me to have health insurance far better than what I could have bought on my own. So, even though I wonder, I know it was the right thing to do.
Now that I had a full-time job, Artefaqs moved solidly to the back burner and over the next few years, where it cooled to the point where the cost of keeping the company alive (about $2,000 a year) was more than it was making in revenue.
Now that it's over, I can say it was a good experience. And I learned a lot, so I don't regret doing it. Most importantly:
- The more effort you put into a company, the more you will get out of it.
- Everyone should start a company at least once in their lives. It is an incredible learning experience.
- Ninety percent of what politicians say about business is wrong, either through willful ignorance, or being distanced from the actual day-to-day running of a real business.
If I ever get in a bind, or get bored, or my current employer disappears, at least I know that I have the skills to quickly start a new company, and at least try to put food on the table for my family. We'll see what happens.