May is my 4th month working self-employed. When I set out in February I didn’t have many goals other than to escape London and enjoy things a lot more.
At the end of May I’m attempting the Edinburgh half marathon — 21 kilometres of pain! For whatever reason I was fed up last August and figured a jog would de-stress. I barely managed 500m but from that day forward running has changed my outlook for the better.
Being a freelancer has given me the flexibility for hour-long runs during the day. I was enjoying the late evening runs exploring East London but those nights weren’t the most social of activities. I was surprised at how difficult I found the transition to daytime. I suppose it was a lot easier to zone out under moonlight. That and the elevation in the Pennines is a killer.
I run so often now I suppose my career is shaping itself around this training. I’ll probably do an official marathon at some point to tick it of the bucket list. I’m not one for organised events though, I just enjoy the simplicity of stepping out into the fresh air.
Aside from general hacking around and blogging, I’ve already published a couple of projects. The first release for my personal to-do/list app Macaque is under regular use. I’ve also refined and shared my front-end starting point and the process behind it. Back in March I gave my first conference talk at Responsive Day Out.
I’m making a conscious effort to limit all work — client or self-initiated — to “working hours”. Anything from 6–8 hours per day. Between 9am and 6pm. I want to avoid the temptation of working irregular hours, early or late. That means a choice between paid client work or unpaid self-initiated work. However, I don’t quite see the latter that way. While income isn’t direct, I’d never have landed on my feet had it not been for my writing and projects outside of full-time employment over the last five years.
I see personal projects as my most valuable lead generation skill. To date I’ve had a pleasant array of clients. A few referrals but most have been enquiries.
I’m based in the UK but the web being the web my enquiries have been global. Initially I was skeptical of working with international clients but I’m already entering my 4th country — outside the British Isles — in as many months, figuratively of course.
I’m using FreeAgent to manage my business — watch out, referral link! It’s an excellent website for accounts, invoices, time tracking, tax returns, it even has a direct feed to my bank account. Like many of my peers I drafted a contract based on Andy Clarke’s Killer Contract.
Touch wood my income will remain steady. I like the idea of being transparent in regards to finance and I’ll do an “annual report” if I’m still afloat next year. I have several projects in mind to generate passive income and a few ambitious start-ups ideas I may bootstrap. Client work will be my bread and butter for a while yet but I want to explore other avenues from day one.
If you want to work with me get in touch and tell me about your project.
A Good Decision?
All in all I’m very happy with the decision I made last year to pack it all up and start a new life. Of course, I miss friends in London and the regular tech meet-ups.
Despite great moments, with the freedom I have now I can’t see myself ever going back to my old lifestyle. I’ll never regret moving to London and I would never have been able to go freelance without my experiences there.