One year of rural bootstrapping

17 Oct 2014

It's now been over a year since elsten software's move from Islington to Melton Mowbray. Back in the summer of 2013 we moved out of our house in Mildmay and a few months later moved into our new house in Chadwell.

Whenever we meet people in Melton and say where we live now and where we moved from we're greeted with a raised eyebrow.

We went from this:

Islington, satellite view

To this:

Chadwell, satellite view

"It must be so different", "that must be a shock to the system" and so on. The truth is we were ready for it.

Sure, it's harder to buy a bottle of milk here. The nearest shop selling essentials is a mile or two away. No problem: you just freeze milk. We can't just walk down to the pub, but then we never did anyway. There's a solution to pretty much every problem.

If anything, the biggest problem that seems to be developing is that as I get so used to settling in and working hard at home, the ten minute journey to Melton Mowbray actually seems like a real burden. To think I used to commute an hour and a half each day (before I moved to Islington, that is)!

Getting down to business

But what are the realities of running a software business from a rural location?

In most cases, it's no different to running the business in London. I had few physical dependencies in London; no cheques to cash (all payments taken online), no deliveries to make, few physical meetings to have and so on. None of these things really matter here in Leicestershire either.

I think this is generally the nature of a software product business.

Probably the biggest day to day drawback, which affects all business, is broadband speed. It's not that bad, but it is worse than in London, even though we never took the step of upgrading to fibre whilst in the capital. When setting up here in the Midlands we also took the opportunity to move to Andrews & Arnold who have been an excellent ISP, smoothing a few migration issues (which are a separate story, but nothing to do with living in the countryside).

Out and about

There's also the danger I alluded to above; getting cosy at home, establishing routines (admittedly hard with a nine month old in the house) and working hard, sometimes it's difficult to remember I need to get out and see some other human faces.

What year is it?

So I've made more effort to get involved with the local tech scenes. Sure, there isn't much of a tech scene in Chadwell (I think I'm it; I'm beginning to help with some of the Internet requirements of the local group to keep the church standing), but there is is Leicester and, particularly, Nottingham. I've been using to get in touch with other developers such as the NottsProgs group.

Perversely, I've also been attending more meetups and events in London since moving out. I particularly enjoy the Music tech meetups. It helps that access to London is pretty good being a short train journey from Grantham.

Thanks to TumblingRun for the image above.
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