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Quit my job—now a Product Maker full-time!

ilonacodes profile image Ilona Codes Originally published at ・4 min read

A while ago, I realized that working as a Software Engineer on the product that doesn’t belong to me, unfortunately, doesn’t drive and motivate me at all.

I may love the product, understand how it positively impacts people’s lives, and solve their problems, do my proper job so far, but not the best one as I can do.

The main reason why, because I don’t feel that the company product is “my baby.” I feel like a nanny who takes care of it only for a short while and in a few years, has to say “goodbye” to the child she raised. And raised not as a mother, who will not only take care of her baby but also love it sincerely and lifelong.

On the other hand, I know myself well enough to accept that I am not legally allowed and sufficiently driven to launch any product while still holding down a day job.

As a result, I left my job at the company to start my own entrepreneurial and exciting journey as a Product Maker 🛠

What made me take this step?

Last months every day I was coming to work, I asked myself:

“What am I doing here? Is it the place where I want to be? Do I want to work as a Software Engineer at any company? What do I want to do in life indeed?”

After months of thinking, concerns, and conflicting with myself:

  • I made it in the end, a hard decision.

  • I figured out what is empowering (and terrifies) me most at the same time and what I want to give a try.

  • I defined my purpose and longterm goals.

  • I created a plan for the upcoming journey in 2020.

Once I did that, I had to quit my job because if I keep them both running, I will be good at neither of them.

I quit my job, what’s next?

No, I hadn’t quit a job immediately.

It took time to save money, study neglected business niches, to prepare myself mentally for this step.

Once I found a suitable co-founder, we proved a few ideas and agreed to bring them to live as an online product/platform.

Action and the ability to make decisions are significant for aspiring entrepreneurs.

So we didn’t overthink, didn’t wait for that very right “moment.” We started working on our very first product as soon as we quit our jobs.

We were not afraid to start. There are lots of businesses today which began as small or side hustle:

  • Twitter. It was a tiny side project created by a company called Odeo during a hackathon.

  • Instagram. The founder taught himself coding after work and launched a photo check-in feature called Burbn, which later pivoted to Instagram.

  • Craiglist. Started as a simple email list to help the founder meet new people.

  • Khan Academy. Salman Khan has been making short YouTube videos from economics to art after his job as a Hedge Fund Analyst.

I believe you can absolutely understand the drive to get out of a job and live life on your terms. However, some people (including myself) become entrepreneurs because they have a deep desire to solve problems and to serve humankind.

And the first common problem that has been found out and took into an implementation that:

Often people feel certain anxiety when thinking about the salary and only guessing what their colleagues might be earning.

This issue is especially problematic in cultures and countries in which talking about wage numbers is an unspoken taboo among the employees.

That’s why my co-founder and I built 📊 FelloWage and are very happy to launch it today on ProductHunt! 🎉

This product is privacy-first. So that many more users feel comfortable sharing their wage information and keeping it up-to-date. Moreover, it allows the user to see all salary entries in the current company, search for other companies in preparation for negotiations.

Our mission is to help people to be more aware of, and informed about the current salaries at any company, and make it easier to enter negotiations for their next gig!

I know, it’s brave and crazy to quit a job and start working on an idea; hence, it’s always challenging to create a product that people would love.

We are really proud of our product. We would love you to try it out and see how it might be helpful for you to take a peek at other companies around the world and discover salaries.

Thank you for reading!

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Ilona Codes

Photo by Úrsula Madariaga from Pexels
Originally published on

Discussion (20)

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dividedbynil profile image
Kane Ong

I took the leap a few years ago, here is what I found:

  1. Having a negative revenue startup is more terrifying than a boring full-time job.
  2. When you are desperate to monetize your product, it will not be the "perfect" product anymore.
  3. Reaching a self-sustainable stage is more important than finding investors.

The points above do not apply if:

  1. You have a wealthy family.
  2. Your startup has backed by reputable investors.
  3. Your product has sustainable revenue already.

All the best.

sarneeh profile image
Jakub Sarnowski

Totally agree! I found the same conclusions after my startup leap.

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

Last months every day I was coming to work, I asked myself

I've been asking myself the same thing for years.

burmkiller profile image
ilonacodes profile image
Ilona Codes Author

So you need to change something! Try to find and understand what excites you the most, and then think and plan how you can make it a full-time thing 😉

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

That's not as simple as it sounds when you have bills to pay!

Thread Thread
ilonacodes profile image
Ilona Codes Author

I know. It's a good idea to save some money and eventually when you have six months of runaway, and then start your journey.

Thread Thread
moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

That's also not easy, I spend more than I earn just treading water.

nickyoung profile image
Nick Young

Congrats on having the bravery to take the leap! I just recently left an agency that I was working for to start up my own agency for a lot of the same reasons. Thank you for sharing it's nice to know there are others out there in the same boat.

I wish you all the best with your new adventure and hope it goes beyond what you dream!

ilonacodes profile image
Ilona Codes Author

Thanks a lot for your kind words! I wish you good luck and success as well in your upcoming journey! 🎉

realtoughcandy profile image
ilonacodes profile image
ben profile image
Ben Halpern


ilonacodes profile image
Ilona Codes Author

Thank you! 🙂

karan_shah89 profile image
Karan Shah

I hope your product achieves great heights! All the best

ilonacodes profile image
Ilona Codes Author

Thank you very much! 🙏

zenulabidin profile image
Ali Sherief

I was wondering why you didn't post here for so long. Glad that you're making something that you enjoy. (Yes this comment is coming 2 days later than I planned but don't mind that please.)

jawwad22 profile image

Best of Luck =)

andrewbrown profile image
Andrew Brown 🇨🇦

Signup for StartupSchool January 2020.
You'll be able to get lots of free Cloud Computing credits and other services.

sanidz profile image

What formal certification did you took if any? (Product Owner)
What experience with management roles did you have?

"Ilona Codes" should now be "Ilona Makes".