Kryzysztof Janiszewski has never shied away from a learning opportunity – in fact, it’s been a cornerstone of his career. And that passion for developing skills and facing new challenges is what led him to his role as Technical Team Lead at The Portfolio Collective.
As a vital member of our team, Krzysztof works busily behind the scenes ensuring our platform is running smoothly as he works on exciting new improvements.
We sat down with him to find out more about how he found his way to The Portfolio Collective.
To start off, we’d love to hear a little about your background. What inspired you to want to work in development?
I don’t remember if there was a particular point of inspiration. I’ve been obsessed with computers since I was seven. Like most children, I mostly wanted to play games, but my dad limited the amount of time I could play on the computer. So I started exploring other things. I began reading computer journals, learning about different programming languages and deep diving into this area. I actually wrote my first computer game on Atari 800XL when I was 10 years old.
I was hungry to learn more, so I taught myself everything. I never attended a development course and I didn’t study at a technical university. Instead, I set myself objectives and laid out a plan for how I’d achieve them. Through doing this, I learned so much about computers, programming languages, operating systems and, more generally, different life topics.
I wanted to go to a technical university in Poznań in Poland, but I failed to get in. I wasn’t good at physics, which was a requirement for the course. But not getting in turned out to be a big turning point in my life.
It sounds like you really carved out your own path. How did you find your way from learning a whole new coding language to working with TPC?
I knew I needed to start earning money. So I pivoted and started at a small IT firm. I only worked there for six months before realising that I didn’t want to work full time for a company where I felt I couldn’t progress or make real change. So I left, borrowed some money from my mum and bought my first commercial licence for a C++ compiler.
At this point in my life I was very lucky, particularly as a 21-year-old. I was good at recognising business opportunities and wrote some market-required software that sold like crazy.
The next opportunity came when I was looking for places to host my website. I researched web hosting companies and quickly realised that I could do it myself and start offering it as a service to others. This was the foundation of my business for several years before I started offering software solutions too. It was a huge learning period for me – every customer and system we needed to write was different, which meant I picked up so many new skills, overcame countless challenges and built a broad knowledge base.
Then it got to the point where I wanted to slow down a little. I was getting older and by then I had a large family. So I sold my company and started looking for a full-time job that would allow me to have a good work-life balance, which is how I found The Portfolio Collective – almost two years ago now would you believe!
That’s such a great story. Could you explain a little to those that don’t know, what is your role at TPC? How do you spend your time?
I’m responsible for almost all technical aspects of the business, including website, infrastructure and all our integrations with third-party services and databases.
Most of my time is spent improving our platform, making changes to existing features and implementing new ones. A lot of my role is based around analysis and problem solving. I write a lot of code, as most developers do, but I also work quite closely with the team to brainstorm new features and plan out our strategy.
You’re based in Poland which means you work quite separately from the rest of the TPC team. How do you find working remotely - do you have any tips for someone who does the same?
I really enjoy it because I’m an introvert. I like being alone and working without any external disruptions. I find I focus so much more and that I really get to tackle lots of deep work.
One thing that is super important for me is setting boundaries between work and family life. I recently got my own office away from home, after working from home for 8-9 years. In the last year of working from home, I noticed that I was often getting distracted – my children are older now, so were at home more whilst I was working, which isn’t always the most productive!
I now have an office all of my own, which is about 10 minutes from my house. It’s been such a good decision for me because I find myself more focused and can set clear boundaries. When I’m in my office I’m at work and my home time is my free-time.
You have a portfolio career yourself as a co-owner of a psychiatric centre in Poland. Could you talk a little about that?
Of course, it’s something that actually happened quite organically. After selling my web hosting business my wife started thinking about establishing a psychiatric centre with one of her colleagues. They didn’t have any business experience, so I offered to get involved. With no experience running medical entities, I’ve now learnt a lot about law and business requirements. As I said earlier, I love learning and I also don’t like saying that something isn’t possible, so it’s been a great experience so far.
Today our psychiatric centre is one of the biggest in the city. We have over 35 psychiatrists and psychotherapists working with us, several thousand appointments per year and are about to open our second centre, so it’s been really successful.
That’s amazing! It’s so inspiring to see one of your side hustles going so well. For someone who’s thinking about starting a portfolio career, what advice would you give?
I truly believe that in order to have a successful portfolio career you need to love what you do. Especially in Poland, there were so many obstacles to overcome in the beginning, so being passionate and not giving up was important.
Think this sounds like the right path for you? Come along to our monthly Get started event for new members to find out what a portfolio career could look like and how The Portfolio Collective can help you take those first steps towards professional success – and don’t forget to connect with our community!