The struggle is real, but so are the rewards.
In my book, Entreprenerd: Building a Multi-Million-Dollar Business with Open Source Software, I share my personal story as an open source developer, technical founder, and entrepreneur.
In 2000, I released the open source PDF library iText. Initially iText was free as in free beer, but my no money, no worries philosophy turned out to be very naïve. As the library grew more popular, it was more difficult to keep on supporting and maintaining the code.
Creating a company for iText was easy; building a business wasn't. How do you generate revenue with a resource that is perceived as free? I tried different business models until I found one that generated sufficient money to ensure the survival of the open source offering.
In 2012, it was time to start thinking about an exit. We did an M&A project to discover what was needed to make our company attractive for potential buyers. A couple of years later, we started a second M&A project that resulted in a partial exit in December 2015. In March 2020, I sold my last package of shares and I was finally free to start writing a book about the whole experience.
That book is now available on Amazon, Kobo, Apple Books, and many other channels.