Three Months In: The (Ad)Venture Continues

It’s three months since I gave up the day job and so many people have asked me how it’s going, that I thought I’d give a quick round up!

I am a statistics nut so it will surprise nobody that I track my time religiously (using harvest, which I’ll post about some day soon). From this I can tell you that I spend about 40% of my time working for other people, and the rest doing things like writing, preparing talks, accounts, meetings, or whatever. I’ve also taken 14 days off, which has been absolutely fabulous after a decidedly work-heavy first half of 2010. The biggest change is that I’ve only worked one weekend day. One.

So what am I actually working on? Well, I’m still technical editing for the mighty techPortal, which was possibly the most fun thing I did at Ibuildings, and I get to still work with those fantastic colleagues (hi people!), so I’m really happy to still be doing that. Some of you know that I write for and I’m able to do more of that (look out for some new articles coming out there from me soon). I’m also teaching, both in a bespoke sense where I go and teach a specific topic to a team, and also I am a regular trainer on the Zend courses at NTI Leeds which is great, so much going on there. These are public courses and since I live in Leeds anyway, it’s great to be able to work on something like this locally. I’m also doing a few one-off things – working with teams to run workshops on particular topics, doing a few days consultancy on various technical tools, PHP, server setup and so on. I said recently that I think of myself not as a consultant but as “the senior developer you can borrow for a day or two” and I’m really enjoying it when I get to go do that. I think I’ve been pretty lucky as well that all the teams I’ve worked with have been awesome (thanks all!).

People also ask how I’m doing financially, and actually I’m kind of impressed how this is working out for me. I am paying myself, less than I was earning but enough to pay the mortgage, bills and still have some left over to play with. Since I reckon I’m working about half as much as I was, this seems like a fair deal to me. While there is a dent in the savings, it’s only as big as my currently-outstanding invoices, so as long as it stays that way, I’m surpassing my own expectations, or fears. The day I started out someone tweeted to me something like “good luck, may all your clients pay on time” – the best charm anyone could wish a freelancer or small company, and so far it’s coming true, so again I am lucky there.

I’d like to thank everyone who has sent good wishes or tolerated having their brain picked, I’ve felt less isolated than I might have. Looking forward, I have more interesting bits and pieces coming up – in particular I’m excited about speaking at Day Camp 4 Developers which is a virtual conference (new experience for me but knowing the other speakers and a bunch of people attending, we’re going to have a blast). I have a few more speaking engagements coming up and of course I’ll be here, blogging as always. I’m always open to new projects so just mail me if you need me – there’s no charge for answering emails :)

2 thoughts on “Three Months In: The (Ad)Venture Continues

  1. Congratulations!

    I know it’s hard. I tried for several years to get things off the ground, but I’m simply not strong with networking or sales, which makes life as a freelancer much more difficult.

    I am looking forward to the Day Camp for Developers! Just submitted my registration, thanks for reminding me!

  2. Jacob: I luckily already had a profile in my chosen industry which has helped me to get started, and hopefully will keep on helping me move forward. Looking forward to “seeing” you at DC4D!

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