March 25, 2014 Jason

A Day in the Life of a Software Business Owner

I’m really enjoying the perspectives shared by fellow freelancers – and today’s glimpse into Red Maple Media’s owner, Julian Barabas, provides a very detailed look at a day in his life. Love the links to all of the different tools he’s using – quite an assortment of productivity tools I didn’t know existed. Apparently the rest of my day is going to be spent looking at different tools – holler if you have a recommendation.

Julian Barabas, Founder of Red Maple Media Inc.

Julian Barabas - Red Maple Media

Our company is 100% remote, and 100% distributed. As a senior team of telecommuting professionals with branch offices both inside and outside of Canada, we communicate with Skype, store our code in GitHub, and host all our applications on the Amazon Cloud. We enjoy tackling technology and business projects that are big, scary, and complex.

My Typical Day as a Software Business Owner

5am – 7am 
  • Day starts with my four year old son asking “Daddy! Daddy!! DADDY!!!
  • Are you awake yet?”  I am now.
  • Zombie walks to the coffee machine and turns it on.
  • Drinks coffee with the wife and kids while making plans for what the family can do after work.
  • Cooks and serves breakfast.
  • Enters home office and shuts door.
7am – 8am 
  • Reviews online “Scrum” boards (Trello) and tackles what I consider the hardest and most complex task. Often a programming task or writing a business document.
  • Checks and responds to new emails (GMail).
  • Reviews client’s Facebook ad campaign (Power Editor) and makes adjustments.
  • Reviews team’s submitted timesheets and latest accounting numbers (Freshbooks).
  • Checks company CRM (SugarCRM) and schedules phone calls for later in the day.
  • Signs up for “Internet Marketing” webinar (Hubspot) for later in the week.
  • Checks social networks (Hootsuite) for any realtime “buying signals” from my professional network.
  • Schedules business development phone calls or emails (Google Calendar), based on any “buying signals”.
  • Closes Email and sets Skype status to “Busy”.
8am –  11am 
  • Completes as many “Sprint” tasks as possible in the next 3 hours, where possible selecting the hardest tasks first. Today’s tasks include business development, business analysis, project management, human resources, client management, network administration and accounting.
  • Monitors code checkins (GitHub) as our remote development teams complete programming tasks, and conduct quality assurance.
  • Bids on 3 new PHP projects (Freelancer)
  • Phones client to update them on project progress and also confirm some business requirements.
  • Drinks a fruit smoothie.
11am – noon 
  • With team, reorganizes priority of online “Scrum” boards for a productive afternoon. Online Scrum boards are shared and visible to everyone on team. We have one for each project. Columns are “Product Backlog”, “Current Sprint”, “In Progress”, and “Completed”.
  • Hosts a daily conference call for our team’s online “Scrum” meeting. It’s 9am PST for most of the team. Each team member states what tasks they are working on, and what is blocking them from being successful. Meeting ends when everyone knows what they are working on and how they can unblock another team member.
  • Checks emails
    • Receives and pays team member invoice.
    • Creates and sends next client invoice.
    • Confirms latest autotransfer from Stripe to business account.
Noon – 1pm
  • Lunch with my family.
  • Quick 15 min speed walk.
1pm –  3pm 
  • Checks for any new emails that came in during lunch.
  • Sends out a broadcast message (Hootsuite), to our social network, about our latest project release.
  • Launches a new Ec2 Linux server instance (AWS Management Console) for our latest web project, and configures the server (via SSH Terminal). This server instance will be optimized for an Mp3 digital download store we are building.
  • Helps team member solve programming issue they are having difficulty with. We chat on Skype, while sharing our screens with
  • Automatic Github email reminds me to conduct a code review and merge changes into main branch.
  • Developer notifies me that next “Release Candidate” is ready for deployment.
  • Deploys latest code “build” to Staging area (Filezilla), and notifies client that they can start “User Acceptance Testing”.
  • Pays vendor invoice online (Stripe), and checks business bank balances.
  • Reviews latest “Change Requests” (via client shared Google Spreadsheet). Labels client change requests as “Fixes”, “Clarifications” or “Enhancements” each are billed at different rates.
  • Triages work items to remote team members.
  • Completes business development phone call. Call goal is to find another business referral partner with noncompeting services, where we can trade client referrals.


3pm – 5pm 
  • Reviews “Scrum” board for any remaining “Sprint” tasks that need to be completed today.
  • Completes additional tasks including,
    • (a) Posts a new IT Staffing “Business Development” job ( )
    • (b) Reviews a job applicant’s resume and saves to Google Drive with notes.
    • (c ) Documents business requirements for an upcoming project (Google Docs) and shares with client.
    • (d) Starting from template, creates “Statement of Work” and “Letter of Agreement” for upcoming project (Google Docs)
    • (e) Troubleshoots a MySQL database issue on the Amazon Cloud (via MySQL Workbench).
    • (f) Starts upcoming team “Newsletter” (MailChimp), adjusts template and segments list based on team role.
    • Reviews Facebook “Power Editor” and Google Adwords for any ad campaigns currently underway. Makes required adjustments.
    • Checks email.
    • Exits home office.
    • Only uses iPad for rest of day.
5pm – 7pm 
  • Joins family for visit to the swimming pool.
  • Completes grocery shopping and cooks dinner.
  • Reads the kids a book, and puts them to bed.
8pm – 10pm 
  • Watches the “The Shark Tank”, “The Profit”, or CNBC. This motivates me for the business challenges I will face the next day.
  • While watching business shows, I reorganize the team’s online “Scrum” board, via my iPad, and confirm prioritized team goals for next day. Also, start organizing next weeks “Sprint” by pushing items from “Product Backlog” into upcoming “Sprint”.
  • Checks email (via iPad) for the last time.
  • Turns off all electrical devices before 9:30pm.

Julian Barabas is the founder, director and principal consultant at Red Maple Media Inc. Red Maple Media is a software development and internet marketing agency based in Victoria, Canada. They provide business and technology consulting, internet marketing, software development and remote IT staffing services to a growing list of global clients. You can learn more about their company on their website at, or connect with them in social media, on LinkedIn or Facebook. If you’d like to be added to the Red Maple Media mailing list, just click here.

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