When I was driving to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport today from Abilene, I saw an old building with a large realtor's sign on it that read "Residential - Commercial - Ranch". That got me thinking - how different is a ranch from a residence or a commercial property? It's really both. A ranch is where you live and work, with pastures for cattle and fields running with horses or other animals. I live where I work, since I work from home. On further thought, I thought, "I'm a rancher - a rancher of startups."
I live where I work, at my home, and my startups are my cattle. I keep a stable of them, add new ones to the stable when I can, and work to feed them to get them strong enough to take to market. Some are weak little runts, and no matter how much I may try to feed them or exercise them, they'll never be worth the effort because their competition will always be better. On a ranch, a rancher might use them for meat, and in my case the weak performers are killed and used for their code. I tend to reuse code in other things, and each startup is an opportunity to improve my coding and create solutions to new problems, and eventually those problems may become routine. So with each startup, even the weak ones, I learn something new and useful.
It's not a perfect analogy, because I may never sell any of my startups, but they'll generate income. A rancher may not sell any cattle, but he can get the milk as long as he needs. More startups, more milk.
Next post: how to get a cheap, professional logo