Nora’s 2nd Birthday marks an additional landmark for me, because I’ve been on my own as a freelancer for an entire year now. I really can’t believe that it’s been that long, it still feels so new sometimes. I decided I needed to commemorate this occasion by writing down some of my thoughts about this past year. I’m putting this into writing for my friends and family to understand as well as anyone who is considering freelancing as a career, maybe you can learn a few things that nobody tells you.
On Trusting God
While I was sure that I was making the right decision leaving Morsekode, I can’t say it wasn’t without some amount of trepidation. I am the sole provider for my family and apparently eating is important, so I didn’t want to be selfish in my decision and drive my family into the poorhouse. So far, I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to basically make what I was making at Morsekode, paying the bills and feeding my family. Praise God.
It’s funny how sometimes I would get a few big jobs or paychecks and it was easy to slip into overconfidence, my mind would start thinking about a big fatty business bank account where I wouldn’t ever have to worry about the future or could take a bunch extra out at the end of the year.
A few other times I lost out on what would have been some major projects for me and it affected me more than I thought it would. It’s hard to not take it personally. And sometimes the bank account was just enough to take out our monthly paycheck and that wore on me as well, my dreams of getting far ahead would fade.
I’m convinced that this isn’t an accident, I think God is teaching me how to deal with money as the leader of my family and as a business man. God will provide. God is good. Don’t get cocky. Trust Him.
On Getting Up and Running
As I left Andrea and I had talked about how many months I could realistically try freelancing if it didn’t work out before the job search would begin. And while I was pretty sure that that wouldn’t happen, I can’t say I understood what it would take to get my business up and running.
I already had a few freelance projects by the time I had left Morsekode and I knew of other opportunities out there. Even though I was already working on projects, I also needed to register my business, set up business accounts, meet with people, redesign my website, and a bunch of other organizational things.
Even when I did have a growing stream of clients, I wasn’t thinking about how billing works. It can seem like forever to get a paycheck! Projects take awhile to start, then you work on the project and finish it in a given timeline, but there are usually little changes that trickle on for a bit longer. Then finally you can bill the client, but the terms of payment tend to be 30 days. All said and done, funds always come in later than I originally thought they would.
On Deadlines & Clients
I can honestly say that my schedule is super flexible and Andrea and I love it that way. I can watch Nora, our daughter, when Andrea has to go to an appointment. I can work from just about anywhere. I can meet up with friends for lunch.
I think we might have had the idea that this flexibility would be all of the time. But I still work in a deadline-driven business. When I’ve promised my clients that I will get something done, I need to meet that deadline, even if it means working after Nora’s bedtime or on a weekend. Clients can still change their minds, so what was a comfortably full week can suddenly become nuts. It can be frustrating for us at times, and now I don’t have anyone to blame it on except myself!
Andrea warned me that I would miss my coworkers, and she couldn’t have been more right. While I don’t miss the workplace drama, I do miss being a part of a workplace, working together with a group of people to achieve shared goals. I like to schedule stuff a few times a week to get out of the house, meet up with people, talk about ideas and projects, and feel like a business professional. I’m very thankful for the gang at CoCo’s WordPress Wednesday who feel like my coworkers even though I only see them once a week. I’m also thankful for my freelancing buddies who are on instant messenger so we can share frustrations, victories, and questions.
On The Future
I can’t say I’ve quite figured out where my professional career is heading next. The question I get most often these days from friends and family is “so when are you going to hire people to work for you”? Right now I’m pretty happy being on my own, and I don’t think I’m ready to start worrying about feeding other people’s families as well. I have a feeling that the larger the projects get, the more stress is added to them, so I’m happy with the level that I’m at right now.
Sometimes I ask myself whether I will be able to go back to a 9-5 full time job. In some ways it would be hard to go back from the flexibility that I have right now, but at the same time, I keep pretty regular hours, so if the right opportunity cropped up it wouldn’t be out of the question. We’ll cross that bridge if I come to it.
I suppose the dream right now is to continue being more of an entrepreneur, growing my side businesses up to a level that I could work on them more full time. If that happens that would be really cool. If not, then I’m already enjoying my job as it is.