Today is officially the first anniversary of me being without a “day job” following my last “normal” day of work on June 30th, 2006. It is truly hard to believe that it has been that long already, but the calendar says that is indeed the case. It has been an interesting year to say the least and I’m excited to see what the next year has in store, especially in regards to my business. While there are positives and negatives to both being employed and self-employed, I am truly digging the freedom from a set schedule and the confines of a “cube”. That is something most people will never have a chance to experience and I am grateful that I have that opportunity.
No, I’m not talking basketball…but the best of luck to Butler in the Sweet Sixteen next weekend. I’m talking about business.
A heartfelt THANK YOU goes out to everyone who has given Watershed Studio their business, referred business to Watershed Studio and who has just plain supported me in this endeavour. Getting a business off the ground is a much harder task that one might think (especially on less than a shoe-string budget) and earning the referrals of others does take time.
So, with that said, I am quite ecstatic to say that business has escalated over the past few months and my mind is beginning to be set at ease *a little*. While entrepreneurship is in my blood, there are days when I begin to wonder if I’m insane to pursue something that is truly volatile no matter how much control I think that I have over it. I begin to fantasize that “life in the cube” is easier and more secure than what I’m attempting to pull off, and in some cases I may be right, but then I snap back into the reality that I’ve been laid off from three (yes three) different jobs by the time I was twenty-eight years old…and that the job market around here is much worse than the government would have you believe (regardless of the field). Then I quickly remember why it is that I’m pursing this crazy dream of mine.
While I’m still applying for jobs and going on interviews as opportunities present themselves, I’m going to continue to ride down this road to see where it leads. I would just hate to arrive at old age and to regret not exploring the possibilities when I was younger.
Looking back at 2006 I’d have to say that it was an excellent year, though as always, it went by way too fast.
I’m sure that a certain thought is running through people’s heads right now, so I’ll address the whole unemployment/self-employment situation first…
Getting “RIFed” (“Reduction in Force”, a.k.a. “Layoffs”) was a blessing and what I was praying for AND what I instinctively knew was coming. In relation to my former employer, it is becoming more apparent as I stay in touch with my former peers that if it hadn’t been last year, it would almost certainly have been this year. But I feel the timing was just right in my case.
By now everyone has heard me mention that the job market, especially in my specialty, in Indiana is horrible at best. And in order to land a decent “day job” it may come down to knowing someone who knows someone. But I’m at ease with that as I know that I’m not the one in control. Bottom line, I’ll do what I have to do to support my family. Times may get tough and sacrifices may have to be made, but we’ll make it through God willing.
With that said, my heart is sold on pursuing Watershed Studio as long as God keeps the green light on. While I had the idea in my head years ago, it had to die for some time as I became more knowledgeable in the field. Once it was resurrected close to two years ago with a slower and steadier course charted, things really began to fall into place. And during the past six months (once the layoff kicked in) the pace began to pick up and God has truly been blessing me with business opportunities from all over the world.
Also, I must mention that the unemployment checks have been a tremendous help, as you are allowed to make money being self-employed AND are still considered unemployed in weeks that you don’t have any revenue since you don’t have a formal full-time employer. That surprised me a bit since that does actually make sense in regards to allowing people to be productive and not penalizing them for it.
So in a nutshell, that is the whole “job” situation. Once my unemployment balance is drained in about a month or so, we’ll definitely be stepping out in faith that God will continue to provide what is needed. While that part of being self-employed is a little nerve wracking at times, it is a great reminder that we are not in control and that there will be peaks and valleys in life.
Beyond all of the job specific stuff (which truly is the main event of 2006), it has been amazing to be able to be at home with my children during the day. Ole’ dad can be a little boring at times, especially when he’s trying to answer work related e-mails and phone calls (as you can imagine it is a little hard to work while watching toddlers…so many late nights are spent actually working on the programming projects that I have going on), but I hope the kids enjoy the time spent together as well (and I think that they do). If I had to make a resolution this year (I hate resolutions since they’re really something you should be doing anyway) it would be to do more fun stuff with my children during the day. While I’m loving the fact that my snow shovel has sat in the garage all year, I’m really looking forward to a good snow storm to take the kids out in and then to come back inside and throw on some sweat pants and warm back up.
Other than that, the other item that might be of interest would be in the church realm. Our “house church” gets together quite frequently for various activities (and more than just on Sunday). The community aspect is great and it’s been nice being able to help others out in major ways (by our standards anyway). I would say that we still have plenty of room to grow as a group and as individuals (I’m no exception), but we’re slowly moving along and are seeking after God. My prayer is that 2007 will usher us father down the path in pursuit of Him.