Friday, August 12

Almost One Year...

...since I embarked on being self-employed. And in the process, I have completely re-imagined who I am, how I do it, and why. I thought I was just going to be doing the same work but with an inconsistent flow of money and no benefits. The flow of money is inconsistent, that's certain. Some larger companies have Net 90 payment terms and it is no fun waiting that long to get paid. But it has forced me to get a little more grown-up about how I handle my money. And having an AR is kind-of like having savings. Kind of. But health insurance can be bought and right now, the retirement funds that have been matched for years by a company contribution are down the toilet (I am feeling a lot better about that 10% penalty I paid last year on my 401k withdrawal). But I was not prepared for was the level of satisfaction, confidence and pure joy I was going to get from this new arrangement. Oh yeah, and the money's better.

I am not tooting my horn. I was pushed, shoved really, into this arrangement. I doubted that I could do it or that the clients would come. But, as it happens when you are doing what you should be doing, the work kept coming, clients were happy, they told other people, key people noticed, gave me a shot, liked me, sent me more work; I had no time to look for a job. I already had one.

I have a mentor who has been invaluable to me this first year. After a brief in-person meeting he decided that "I got it". And he started sending me work, and offering criticism and encouragement. I realized that I had never received criticism that was helpful. I was inspired by his trust and confidence in me, I got better, I am still getting better. He's passionate about what he does, and while he is world-renowned for his proposal management skills, his best skill is inspiring others to do their best work. I am very lucky to have him in my corner.

I still have a lot to learn about how to be self-employed. I really need an accountant. But on August 23, 2011 I will be celebrating my first year as Routh Consulting and looking forward to many more.

Wednesday, February 16

On Sewing and Being Self-Employed

Next week marks six months to the day since I lost my job, had a minor panic attack and embarked into a new world of self-employment. I had fantasized about taking the leap and discussed it with friends who had already made the jump; but to be perfectly honest, if I hadn't been shoved out of the nest, I may have never done it. It became very clear within a week of looking for work that I would have plenty of it, just not how I thought. I have moved into a house that affords me a proper office and I hope to continue to be very busy in it. I could go on and on about this chapter of my life, and maybe I will in a future post. I am learning a lot about myself, what I do well and not-so-well, and how to achieve some balance because I may be working a little too much. Which leads me to the next part...

Oh sewing, who knew I loved you so? Why did I ever leave you? After a 1o year split my sewing machine and I are happily re-united thanks to my brilliant sewing teacher Alexia Abegg at Stitch Sewing School. We are in our final weeks of Sewing 101 and I can't say enough about her skill and patience as a teacher. I was a quite a prolific sewer at one point in my life but never learned proper finishing and pattern following skills. I have thoroughly enjoyed the process, the projects and my fellow classmates. Here's an apron we made a couple of weeks ago. I whipped up curtains with my Grandmother last weekend and am working on a sewing circle at my house in March. And I have a little idea brewing to build some sewing community in my neighborhood.