Reflecting on my first two months of self-employment

I’m taking a break from the intense work mode I’ve been in the past couple of days to post for an update of goings on in my life.

It is a BEAUTIFUL day on the East Coast day with temperatures in the low 60′s. You know its warm because I just went outside in only two, very thin layers. Come on spring! I am always amazed however, by how little warm weather it takes for people to start springing out tank tops and shorts. It ain’t that warm yet people!

At any rate I had to go outside for fresh air even though I’ve been intently preparing for meeting with one of my new clients tomorrow!  I’m very excited but a tad bit nervous.

As y’all know I am now self-employed as a technology strategist/social media evangelist.  Hmm, still working on exactly how to describe what I do, but those two titles come close.  I get to help non-profits and progressive businesses – people who want to make the world better – use technology to make that happen.  I love PEOPLE, and I get to spend time talking to them, helping them figure things out. Its a little like being a counselor :) At any rate I’m thrilled because tons of AMAZING projects with some really great organizations are coming my way.

I’m in a really steep learning curve at the moment, trying to figure out all the systems aspects of my practice. Writing proposals, invoicing… all that good stuff. It’s taking me a long time now to do things that I’m sure pretty soon will become quick and easy, but I get to use lots of great technology to do this. Almost all of my work is done using cool/efficient online tools. Yes, I practice what I preach (at least technologically speaking).

A few reflections and lessons learned during my first few months as a freelancer/self-employed/ job-free person:

  • I have to force myself to take a shower first thing in the morning. It’s very tempting to think “I’ll just check email” then take a shower”. Next thing you know its 4pm and you’re still in your pj’s at which point you think – “I might as well wait till tomorrow”.  NOT GOOD. Particularly when someone calls you at 5pm inviting you out for coffee or dinner and you’re still unwashed. What I’ve learned: I must take a shower and get dressed in real clothes first thing every morning without fail.
  • When you work at home its really easy for the lines to blur.  I’m having to develop a lot of discipline about when I work and when I don’t. For example, if I’m heavily involved in a project, I cannot stop to watch Oprah – no matter how intriguing the topic. By the same token, I must not check work email during non-work hours because then I end up working for hours in the middle of the night. What I’ve learned: In order to prevent both procrastination and burnout I must give myself a workday structure – and stick to it!myoffice
  • Since I now live in an apartment, my office is a corner of my living room. (Yes, that’s it in the picture). I know some people were worried about my not having a separate office since I spend a good deal of my time at home now. What I’ve learned: When I’m really engaged my location “disappears”. I could be sitting in the middle of the street for all I know.  What I’ve learned: You don’t need a corner office with a big desk to do good work!
  • I’m astounded how quickly the time flies and I already have that feeling of there not being enough hours in a day. Granted some of this is because of the learning mode I’m in. Everything is new so it takes longer. What I’ve learned: Its true what they say. – when you’re doing something you love, time flies! Hooray.  I must be doing something I love!

While I’m still a little nervous about my ability to “making a living”, I don’t regret my decision one bit. There’s something so freeing about being the mistress of my own destiny. Some days, if I don’t have anything major going on I take an afternoon nap. Granted, I usually end up feeling guilty but I’m starting to get over that. It reminds me of when I left home for the first time and I would go out at all hours of the  night. I’d keep having this feeling that I was doing something really bad and any minute my mother would be calling to tell me to get my butt back home.  I’m (almost) over that feeling so I’m sure I’ll get over this :)

So there you have it news from the land of the job-free!  Now I should get back to work before the boss catches me on the internet…

  • lisa

    That is a GREAT entry–love how you describe everything-such a beautiful writer! Good luck to you tomorrow and always… It sounds like you are doing well. And I am glad you are doing what you love!

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