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.