July 11, 2006
You know how I’ve been making excuses for not posting? There’s something else that’s been taking up my time, but of course I can’t post it publicly because I know some people from work read this and for now, I’m keeping my cards close to my vest.
If you’ve been reading along here for any length of time, you know that I’m about at the end of my rope as far as work goes. For 2 years, I’ve been working full time as well as doing freelance web development work in the evenings and weekends. Most of the time, it’s fantastic. I love the work, the extra money IS AWESOME, and usually the workload is manageable. But sometimes… sometimes.. I want to stab pencils in my eyes and tear my hair out.
When I first started doing the freelance thing, I was working in a totally different field, doing cancer research at the University of Pittsburgh. I was actually using that Biology degree I worked so hard to get. But I knew, deep down, that I could not work there forever. And not just there- but in that field. The pay was just okay, the future prospects for raises and/or promotions was CRAP, and other opportunities in the area were pretty much zilch. And to be honest, I just didn’t like it all that much. It was mildly interesting to me, playing with cells and chemicals all day and wearing a dorky lab coat, but I just didn’t have the deep love for the work that I needed to move up to a place where driving an hour into downtown was worth the paycheck. And once we had kids, forget it. I was not putting me or my family through that- I knew I would be miserable and the pro/con list was heavy on the cons. And the pay would hardly cover day care expenses, so what’s the point? (granted, I was looking ahead YEARS, but that’s what I do because I’m a Super Planner.)
So my plan was to eventually quit my full time job and work for myself, designing and developing websites for a living. It’s what I did in my spare time anyway, why not make money at it? So I started inksplash and was on my way. After almost a year, I was so desparate for SOMETHING other than my lab job, I posted my (very weak and leaving-much-to-be-desired) resume on Monster and miraculously got a call for a web developer position at a local company. HUZZAH! (Interestingly enough, 1 year ago today was my start date!)
But I knew that I wouldn’t work here forever. In fact, when I first started, I wasn’t even sure I’d make it to the 6 month mark. Dan would be finished with grad school soon and of course we had dollar signs floating in our eyes, imagining that they day he graduated, he would get a promotion and triple his salary and we’d sail off into the sunset wiping our butts with money. HA! Or not. Anyway, naturally best laid plans never actually happen, and the date for my big leap into self-employment kept getting pushed back. For various reasons: I’m a chicken-shit, Dan’s company was going through some changes so said promotion was put on hold, we decided to splurge on a trip to Italy, I’m a chicken-shit, oh, and did I mention I’m a chicken-shit?
I totally am. I am horribly paranoid about money. I always have been, probably due to growing up without much. And I’m anal and responsible and it’s just SO ANNOYING sometimes. Giving up my guaranteed, steady, quite plump paycheck is quite possibly the scariest thing I’ve ever been faced with. (yeah my life is JUST THAT BORING) Seriously though, I wasn’t scared at all about getting married, or buying a house, or graduating from college. Even switching careers was only a little freaky, for a few weeks. But this? Frightening. The Unknown. EEK! So much pressure!
So. I’ve spent the last month or so redesigning and reorganizing my business site. I am trying to get used to calling it a ‘business’ rather than just ‘freelance’ or ‘me screwing around and people paying me for it’, but really it’s strange. I’m trying to put myself into that mindset- I need to network, I need to make contacts, I need to advertise, I need to have a business plan. WTF?! I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, people! I never learned any of this in school! I learned about DNA splicing and culturing cancer cells and dissecting squid. I didn’t learn about advertising distribution and marketing plans and selling stuff. WHHAAA!
My site is launched. I started my Yahoo/Overture Pay-Per-Click campaign yesterday. I have some calls into a few local papers about ad prices (HOLY EXPENSIVE, BATMAN.) I even bought 2 more domains to point to my site (1 for legitimate search engine placement reasons, the other just because… DUDE!) I designed a flyer to be printed that I’m going to stick in neighbors mailboxes. I’ve compiled an email list of all past contacts (ones that became customers and ones that didn’t) and I’ll be sending an email blast advertising my new site, a free hosting promotion, etc. I might even look into direct mail (my sister does that for her job! Connections!)
We will see how these next few weeks go. Things have actually been kind of quiet on the new leads front, which of course makes me even MORE nervous. Just when I’m getting more serious about this, everything quiets down! Don’t people know I need a boost of confidence here!?!?! But if I can get a few more quotes out, some good solid leads… I’m going to be getting my resignation letter ready. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
I’m really doing this.