~/diary/6 Months Freelancing
Updated Jul 7, 2022
🖊 6 Months Freelancing Thursday, Jul 7, 2022
Six months have passed since I went all-in on working as a freelance. The plan is to give it a shot for at least one year, and see how it goes. This halfway point seems like a good time to look back and reflect.
Mood-wise, I have been feeling content and satisfied. I’ve been feeling fortunate and grateful for the situation I’m in. I choose my hours, employer, and schedule. Despite me being choosy, there’s still more work than I can ever take on. It feels nice to be wanted, professionally.
Going back to a (mostly) regular schedule, had a positive effect on my mood. Last year I had no structure; every moment was a decision on how to spend the next chunk of time. Now I’m busy, and I had to give up some things I liked, but I’m happier overall. While the schedule is predictable, work and projects are not. Almost every day I am doing something new and different. And learning a lot, which gives me the greatest sense of accomplishment.
Working hourly was an adjustment, and the first few months were stressful. I would count the minutes spent grocery shopping or washing dishes, and convert them into dollars lost. Going to the store is costing me $x, walking the dogs is costing me $y, and don’t get me started on vacations! This naggy voice gradually disappeared. I’ve stopped counting the minutes. Everything is fine. At the end of the month, I’ll still put in my hours and make enough money.
Speaking of money, the self-employment tax is a b***c! Most of what I have made this year, I will have to turn over in taxes. But it’s ok. I’m learning and growing. I knew leaving Big Tech would be a would be a significant income setback. I’ll make more money next year. And even a junior-like salary as Software Engineer is nothing to complain about!
Over these six months, I have been working primarily with one company, on a series of related projects. I like this kind of long-term engagement. Altough sometimes I wonder if I should just join said company. I like them a lot, and love their product. But then I remember I much I love spending 100% of my work time doing… work! No meetings, no email discussions, no chat notifications, no late-night sprints. I have a specific task, and when the clock is on, I feel the duty to be all-in. That makes it easier to be laser-focused and productive, which makes time fly.
In addition to the long-term (part-time) engagement, I have been involved in two more projects. They were interesting and rewarding. However, going forward, I will think twice about taking on multiple contracts at the same time. The context switch was tough, and I felt I was cheating on both projects by temporarily ignoring one to work on the other.
Ideally, I would like one contract that pays the bills, probably selling my more marketable skills. And then, in addition, a different amusing project. Eeither something of my invention OR learning a skill I find very useful and/or gripping. My objective for the reminder of this year, is to keep making progress toward this ideal situation.
I read somewhere “you can’t research and build at the same time”. It always sounded true. 2021 was all about research and exploration, and I was having a hard time producing anything of substance. Exploring was so enjoyable I was worried I would miss it after going back to work. But after six months with my head down working, it turns out I don’t. I still have time to chase the occasional rabbit down a hole. But most of the time I’m either building or learning or both. And it feels great.
Overall: no regrets, full steam ahead. Slightly preoccupied, but that’s my natural state.