Thomas Ardal

Freelance software consultant and entrepreneur building SaaS applications like elmah.io

2016 Retrospect

2016 is getting near its end and it’s time for the yearly retrospective (like I’ve done in the previous years). I have been working as a freelancer and entrepreneur for more than 2 years now. I still love the shift from a corporate employee to being my own boss and recommend for everyone I talk to, to do the same.

During the first half of the year, I continued my work at DONG Energy, a large player in the energy market in Denmark. My contract expired back in May and while I miss the team there, it also gave me a chance to re-think my professional life. I had been working at DONG Energy for almost 2 years and I was definitely ready to try something else. I almost felt like one of the permanent staff, which wasn’t really the point when going freelance.

After working on a daily basis for a few customers and arranging two training sessions, I decided to jump full time into elmah.io. elmah.io is my error management SaaS app that I have been working on during the last 3 years. While the product was doing great and growing every month, it was time to speed up the process by putting in the extra hours. I even sold my NuGet Server product, so I could focus 110% percent on elmah.io.

From the beginning of August, elmah.io has gotten my full attention, which shows a positive trend on pretty much all KPIs (yeah, I’m that corporate!). Having the chance to dedicate myself full time on what started as a hobby project really is a dream come true. I love working on elmah.io so much, that I’m no longer taking in larger freelance projects. I’m still open for training and a few days consulting, mainly because I love doing it and since it’s nice to get out of the home office from time to time 🙂

While working for DONG Energy and elmah.io, which have been the two major things to mention this year, I also attended some conferences. Back in April, I attended the MVP days in Rome. It was a great trip, with a combination of networking with other MVPs and sightseeing in Rome. I decided early on not to stay at the conference hotel, but found an Airbnb nearby. The host were fantastic and took me around the neighbourhood, explained everything about public transportation and even invited me for coffee. After 2 years of sleeping in hotels every second week, I cannot recommend staying at peoples’ private homes enough. Sadly, I wasn’t renewed as an MVP, mainly because my interests aren’t focused around a single area, which for some reason doesn’t play well with the way Microsoft calculates the “MVP points.” I’m in no way disappointed though and really appreciate the experiences I have gained while being an MVP.

During the Fall, I’ve attended GOTO Copenhagen, Umbraco DK Festival and Elastic{ON} London. I want to highlight GOTO Copenhagen, which besides being nearby where I live, really is a great conference. I wrote a blog post about my experiences at GOTO Copenhagen 2016 if you want the details.

On the personal plan, I traveled a lot again this year. Besides my business trips to Rome and London, I spent 2 weeks in Spain with my wife and kids, a couple of days in Milan, Italy with my wife and 4 days in a holiday resort with the family not long ago. Being able to bring a laptop and work from everywhere, makes it possible to squeeze more working hours into the year for sure.

Just before going to Rome in the spring, I mostly stopped eating carbohydrates. I have a couple of buddies that have experienced good weight loss results doing so and since I had become a bit overweight, I decided to try it out. While it has been hard eating no carbs on holidays and when visiting friends and family, I pretty much don’t eat anything with more than 5 grams of carbs per 100 grams. The result has been very overwhelming and I’ve lost 10 Kg (22 pounds) so far.

I’m very much looking forward to 2017 and wish all of you a merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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