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The Free(lance) Life, First Six Months

Since my last post earlier this summer, I’d gotten busy. Real busy. So busy that I actually had to say ‘no’ a couple times. And if you know me at all, you know I don’t ever like doing that. It’s just not in my DNA, or if it is, it refuses to play nice with the other strands. So if I do say ‘no’ to a request, know I’m simply not physically able to do it, I haven’t the slightest idea how to do it, or that my wife says I’m not allowed to do it.

The past three months were incredibly productive, possibly placing a dangerous sheen of overconfidence over my vision. The majority of my projects came via four local agencies as well as four direct clients – most of the work was fast and furious, right in my wheelhouse. I was brought on to tackle projects for great big brands and exciting startups. It felt really good to be needed, trusted and appreciated. Oh, and being rewarded for my efforts – that felt really good, too. In fact, beyond saving for the many rainy days sure to come, my wife and I recently put in that new fence she’d been wanting since we first moved into our home three years ago. I finally purchased a MacBook of my own, as I’d been perfectly content using an agency computer the past twenty years. And we just took a quick jaunt to New England over the Labor Day break to see the whales and eat the lobster.

Then, just before the flight home from Logan International, I peeked at my calendar for the upcoming week. Empty.

Yes, I’ve been learning about and bracing for the ups and downs of the freelance life, but no matter how much I prepare, I’m just not good at empty. So rather than wait around for someone to call or email with a unicorn project, I’ve been back on the couch, on my laptop, doing outreach, reminding people that I’m still here, ready to not say ‘no’.

On the brightside, the downtime has given me a chance to catch up on other important (albeit non-billable) things. Like meeting with a new accountant who’ll help me actually make this self-employment thing more official. Like setting up my LLC, a new business account and applying for a business credit card so I can keep on earning all those glorious SkyMiles my wife cherishes so. And even though I failed to earn a dime this week, there’s been great value in having time to clean up around the house, mow the lawn, visit my folks, and of course, to finally get around to writing this.

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