One Year of Freelancing

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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!

On Coworkers

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.

Nora Turns 2

Happy Birthday to my spunky, beautiful little Nora who turned 2 years old today. Dad can’t believe it’s already been 6 months since I made the last video. Time sure flies. God is good.

Nora 18 Months

Happy Mother’s Day Andrea, you’re an amazing Mom to our little Nora. She’s done a lot of growing up lately. Here’s my video from the last 6 months.

Nora 1 Year

I made this for Nora’s 1st Birthday, but it took a little while to post it. We love our fun little bundle of energy.

Twelve Months

This month Nora is eating 1 bottle at bedtime and having solid finger food at breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner (I feel like all I do all day is feed this child), pooping many times a day (I thought this was supposed to slow down?), and sleeping from 7:30 pm – 6:30 am (with NO wake ups…the day has come!!!). She weighs 21 lbs 10 oz (75%) and is 31.75 inches long (99%). Nora has gone from a few steps to easily walking all over. She almost never crawls. We have had many bumps and bruises this month but no major falls. Her favorite word is uh-oh. Our baby has turned into a toddler with a mind and opinion of her own. We enjoyed her first birthday party with many family and friends. This little girl is so loved! I think this will be my last monthly update. I hope to return to a little more regular blogging, but we will see.

Eleven Months

This month Nora is eating 4 bottles (eight teeth meant the end of breastfeeding for us) and having solid finger food at breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner, pooping a couple of times a day, and sleeping from 7:30 pm – 6:15 am. She weighs 20 lbs 3 oz and is 30 inches long. Nora got her eighth tooth and survived a multi-day road trip to Indiana to visit lots of extended family. She loved playing with her cousins and began standing by herself, sticking her tongue out, pointing at things, and dancing to music. We think her first word is doggy because every time she sees a dog, Nora points and says, “gee”. Right at the end of the month Nora stood up on her own, took her first steps, and slept through the night. What a month!

Ten Months

This month Nora is eating every 3 hours and having solid finger food at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, pooping at least once a day (or more if she eats corn!), and sleeping from 7 pm – 6:30 am. She weighs 19 lbs 6 oz. Nora is much more aware this month watching animals at the zoo and imitating things that we do. Jesse and I had our first night away to celebrate our anniversary while Grandpa and Grandma watched Nora. We started swimming lessons, and Nora even dunked her head under the water. With two trips Up North, we spent lots of time outside and in the lake. The saddest part of the month was having hand, foot, and mouth disease in addition to getting three new teeth. One of the most fun things is that Nora will now turn the pages when we are reading books.

Nine Months

This month Nora is eating every 3 hours and having solid finger foods at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, pooping once a day, and sleeping from 7 pm – 6:45 am (with one feeding around midnight and sometimes a second toward morning). She weighs 19 lbs 1 oz (64%) and is 29 3/4 inches long (98%). Nora went from crawling to pulling up to stand in less than two weeks. Two weeks later she was walking along the furniture, and one week later she was holding on with only one hand. She figured out how to stand in her crib the same week she got her fourth tooth. Night sleep is an even more distant memory for mom and dad, but we finally have a daytime schedule with two one and a half hour naps. Nora has started to wave and charms people everywhere we go with her cute curls, smiles, and waves.

Eight Months

This month Nora is eating every 2-3 hours and having finger food solids at breakfast and dinner, pooping once a day, and sleeping from 7 pm – 7 am (with 1 feeding between 2-4 am). She weighs 19 lbs 6 oz and is 28 inches long. She started the month up on all fours rocking and finished the month being able to crawl. She spent about two weeks army crawling in the middle. She has also started drinking water from a straw cup and is wearing summer clothes. For Father’s Day we celebrated by going to Nora’s first Twins Game. We only stayed for a couple of innings because she hated the loud cheering.   Another first was swimming in a swimming pool which she loved. She did get her first top tooth. The cutest thing is that she has started to clap. She does it every time she sits up on her own.

Seven Months

This month Nora is eating every 2-3 hours (growth spurt?), pooping once a day, and sleeping 12 hours at night (mostly with 2 wake ups). She weighs 19 lbs 6 oz (maybe my scale was wrong?) and is still 27 1/4 inches long. Food was the topic of the month. After beginning solid purees, Nora went on a food strike refusing to be spoon fed. We decided to take a complete break from solids and try again later. Nora can now sit up on her own, so we baby proofed the house (put up a baby gate and outlet covers) just in time for her to start scooting. She is getting up on all fours but not moving forward yet. It was also finally warm enough to visit the park, and Nora loves the swings.