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The Adventure that is Self-Employment

July 10th, 2008 @ 10:17am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The first few days (okay who am I kidding) years of working for yourself are pretty scary. I say years as this blog has been four years in the making and it’s not slowing down any time soon.

Pink Miss604.com from 2005
Miss604.com circa 2005

John and I formed a partnership called sixty4media to consolidate our website works, podcasting, freelance writing and all out social media consulting gigs to which I have started contributing full time.

Now I’ve worked from home before as most of my professional career over the last eight years has been in the online realm, which leaves these options pretty open. However, many people who work from anywhere often have a hard time getting motivated or finding a good place to get out and be inspired to put their nose to that grindstone and crank out their work.

Having recently made our partnership announcement public, I’ve been getting some excellent advice from all over the blogosphere so here are some tips and tricks for those starting out on adventures like this, in this town.

Pete has a great round up of articles about time management available here, which includes Getting started with “Getting Things Done”:

Everything you keep has a clear reason for being in your life at any given moment—both now and well into the future. This gives you an amazing kind of confidence that a) nothing gets lost and b) you always understand what’s on or off your plate.

Organization is key, in most of the texts I have read and aside from the stack of papers, files, and business cards on the dining room table, everything that is online is in order right down to the shared Google Calendar to which John and I both contribute.

“I used to think those people who sat alone at Starbucks writing on their laptops were pretentious posers.” – Carrie, Sex and the City, The Good Fight

Monday was a little crazy, migrating from coffee shop to coffee shop around town for meetings, but it was actually quite easy to move around town, working on the go.

Raul reminded me of this post he wrote a few months ago:

I think that one of the reasons why we do this is that we feel accompanied but at the same time, we’re all doing our thing. I love doing this with friends… going to a coffee shop and working. Each one of us is doing his/her own thing but at the same time, we have a chance to chat and make small talk.

Earlier this week, a highlight was meeting up with Raul and doing just that – being in each others presence but also getting things done and being productive in our own way, on our own projects (much like the informal NerdCamps John and I have with Duane at our place or his).


John and Me – Photo credit: Raul on Flickr

Aside from getting motivated and having a place in which you can be productive, I think something else that keeps me pushing forward it simply my desire (not to rule the world… not yet anyway) to be good at what I do and help people along the way.

Our ultimate goal is to help others find their online presence because I think John and I can both supply ample advice, tips and tricks in that department. That being said, if you want to know what a blog is, know how to start a blog, have someone write for your blog, have me out to liveblog your event, podcast, or delve into the bulging world of social media, please feel free to drop me a line.

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12 comments

  1. […] Twitter, I find this post about the leap into self employment: Now I’ve worked from home before as most of my professional career over the last eight years has […]

  2. Chris says:

    Getting out of the house is key. Working from home has a way of turning you into the crazy old man yelling at kids to “keep off my lawn!” Early on, there were days that I realized I hadn’t even been outside for more than checking the mail in a couple of days- yeesh.

    That aside, tools that have helped me immensely:
    http://www.iwantsandy.com
    http://www.highrisehq.com
    and at your recommendation- http://www.freshbooks.com

  3. GusF says:

    Congrats on the move to self employment.

    I know it is not an easy thing to do, and I have to admire your determination as you venture into this new avenue.

    Best wishes and if you need any help, let me know, and I’ll do what I can do.

  4. Meg says:

    My best advice is: don’t take anything personally.

    Which sounds like a funny thing to say, but when you’re dealing with people who might flake when they need to provide content or feedback for you, or try and lowball you on an estimate, or push your buttons with their response to what you’ve done… well, you can end up feeling a bit like no one is on your side. Especially since you’re no longer part of a team, but running the show and doing all the ups and downs by yourself.

    But even if you’re dealing with people you like and consider friends, it’s key to keep business, business. Don’t let your personal feelings invade your business space or show up in your public space when they’re related to client conflicts.

    Have fun, be excited, be personal and enjoy your freedom — but when something hits the fan, protect yourself and your brand by letting anything negative or critical stay on a business level.

  5. Miss604 says:

    @Chris – I agree, getting out of the house does help a lot
    @Gus – thanks for the kind words, it means a lot
    @Meg – very wise advice, thank you

  6. John Biehler says:

    All I have to say is “You go girl!” (and John too)….

    I don’t think I would last long if I did that (work from home full time)…I have too many distractions which would be hard to dial down.

    I wish you (guys) all the best success!

  7. Carla says:

    Best advice I can offer after more than a dozen years as a work-at-homer — go for a walk. On those days when you have no outside meetings scheduled (and I agree, coffee shop meetings are great!), take a mid-morning and mid-afternoon break to go for a walk, even in the rain. It’ll refresh you and give you a chance to mull things over. Staring at a screen all day sometimes makes it hard to just think ideas through.

    Just my two cents.

    Carla

  8. Luc says:

    64 cheers for your new company!
    I also want to be popular and loved just like you!

  9. Pete Quily says:

    Being helpful to others is a great point of view to have in business that will pay off both in financial and karmic terms.

    You may already know about this blog but just in case you don’t
    http://freelanceswitch.com has some good content for those breaking free from the wage world to independence.

    Good luck to you and John, I’m sure you’ll do well. Get lots of advice, but remember to analyze it to see if it’s useful to you, sometime it is, sometimes it’s just useful for the person who gave it to you.

  10. Hez says:

    Great post – I Dugg it!

  11. Sharley says:

    wow! congratulations on your successful business.. i just started working at home and i’m also planning to expand my horizons..

  12. […] This morning I was pretty down as I was having one of those moments when I started to question where all this blogging is going to take me. I’ve been working 12 hour days with our social media consulting company, Miss604.com, our podcasts, and my freelance gigs and I suppose it all just hit me at once when I had the chance to reflect on all my work in the last 2 weeks (and the last two months). […]

next »
The East Van Podcast is Alive and Kicking
« previously
Thursday Morning Link Fest: Up in Smoke