I still haven’t gotten around to writing my “I quit my job” post and I just passed the 1 year mark. I am not sure why I’m dragging my feet.
I am extremely happy with my decision, but leaving a full-time permanent gig to test the freelance, consulting waters was a big risk. It is a risk that has worked out well for me for so far. At least it looks that way when you look from the outside in. Let’s be honest for a minute, shall we? I had debt when I quit my job and while I was working really hard to eliminate that, I had also set up a emergency fund for when I made my exit.
You see, I wanted to travel and live in Argentina for 4 months. Learn the language a bit better, and just take in the sights and sounds of a different country. Having lived in quite a few different countries before the age of 12, I was going stir crazy living in the same city for the last 16 years. Yes, I backpacked around Asia and Europe for a total of 1o months, but being a tourist is something completely different that being a foreigner in a city. The entire experience is different. I wanted to be a foreigner. One of fondest of my most recent backpacking trip is from Santorini. We stayed on the coast for 2 weeks and it was as close to living there as we could get.
But I digress. This post is about the ups and downs of working for yourself. And while I can write a list post like the best of them, I’m just going to focus on 1 of each.
I get to work for myself, and as such I get to pick and chose how much work I put in and who I want to work with (NOW). This wasn’t the case when I first the plunge a year ago. This time last year, I was working 70-80 hour weeks because I was afraid that I had made mistake and I needed to squirrel away as much as I could. What I learned from my experience so far is how important picking your projects and clients are.
Yes, our clients pay us, but we’re providing something very valuable in return. Compatibility is SO important. Not only does it make any project pleasant, but almost all of my clients are referrals. We get along well, and the work is completed on time, and either on or under budget. And once you make a enough of a name for yourself, clients start trusting your judgement.
Eventually everything snowballs into me being to work from home instead of the office. Best gig ever, right?
Working for yourself, or as a consultant, is isolating. Part of what I do involves making staffing recommendations, so I do my best to stay away from the office culture as much as possible. This works out because I like working from home, but where it sucks is the fact that I have zero sense of a normal work day anymore. I wake at 7:00am everyday, and get to bed around 2:00am. The sad reality is that most of the freelancers I know do the same thing. Just ask Andrea, for example. You can find online at 2 am with me on any given night.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the work very very much, but I’m also an extremely social person. Going from a work environment of 500 people to being by myself every day is a strange feeling.
Is it worth it?
Yes. I love what I do. I wake up everyday with a plan. I know what needs to be done and how to get there. I have coffee dates with friends where I try to talk them into quitting there jobs, and utilizing their skills in a different way. Working from home also makes it really easy to save money. I can make sounds decisions on things like glasses or contacts. I research to see which ones are cheaper, or if I should pull the plug and just get laser eye surgery ( click here ). I get to online shop and price compare with the best of them. I get to take a 3 hour lunch break and make up for it by working till 3:00am.
My point here wasn’t to complain or to show off, but to present the facts. Working for yourself is a gamble, sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t but its new deck of cards everyday.