I celebrated my birthday yesterday. Another one in the books. It was different somehow. Working as a freelancer, from a home office, gives me plenty of opportunity for quiet reflection, especially at this time of year when business activity seems to slow.
The development projects were all caught up, support issues had been dealt with for the moment, so I had time to read a few of the blogs I follow. There were a number of year-end wrap ups, and a few really good how-to posts. The year-end wraps caught most of my attention. You see, I am coming to the end of my first year as a full-time WordPress developer and small business owner.
In previous years I was able to look back and see how things went as a part-time freelancer. Those two years are marked with an asterisk (*), you know, the indicator to check the footnotes. They had some other form of income, either from a part-time job, or most recently, from another full-time gig that ended abruptly with the Friday-end-of-day-can-you-stop-in-my-office-before-you-leave-im. “We’ve decided to go in a different direction….”. Oh, please, spare me the BS!
While the income as a freelance business owner has no-way come close to the income I earned in corporate America, the intangible benefits have far exceeded my expectations.
Visited my doctor this past week for my 6-month check-in. Blood pressure and that bad cholesterol stuff are both way down. First time in more than 7 years. Now THAT’s an accomplishment to be proud of. I think I can count that as some sort of money in the bank, right?
I categorize that as a symbol of one of the soft benefits of my new chapter. I’m more relaxed, I think, and I have slowed down. I like to think that decisions I make are more thought out and less knee-jerk. I’ve learned to step back from potentially tense situations (aka questionable communications with clients, friends, family) to add space for thinking.
I can’t control how things will turn out. I can’t change things that have occurred. I CAN affect how I react to things right now. I can live in this moment and be present to what I am experiencing and how I react to it.
After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Being present to the situation we find ourselves in, engaging with it, and making the next right decision on how to proceed with it.
I’m going through the process of looking back on my business year. I think that I have positively impacted a number of small businesses by building new business websites for them, or helping them to maintain their existing small business website. Revenue has definitely increased from the previous year; albeit a little short of where I had projected. Time to re-think marketing and prospecting activities.
I have met a number of awesome people this past year. Some I have been able to teach something to, but many more I have been able to learn from. I attended 5 WordCamps and 12 WordPress meetups. I made presentations three times at meetups and volunteered at the Philly WordCamp. Being the’local guy’ I even helped coordinate a multi-national gathering of #genesiswp folks at the inaugural WordCamp US in Philadelphia earlier this month. Now THAT was cool.
So, as long as I’m willing and able to learn something new, I think I’m in the right place. This place, this moment, right now.
Onward and upward.