Today is my first official day of being self-employed. Like the awesome boss that I am, I gave myself last Thursday and Friday off to get organized and prepare to work harder than I’ve ever worked in my life.
Other than my parents, very few people know that I’ve made the jump to working for myself. I didn’t want to stress out the rest of my family right before Christmas, and since they expected me to have two weeks off at Christmas anyway, I see no need to tell them just yet. I’d much rather wait until I know how things are going to go and what I’m doing.
I did tell one friend, who had a complete meltdown. He is very much entrenched in an employee mindset, and he just can’t fathom the idea of taking a risk. “I could get you a job where I work!” he said. “You’ll have benefits and guaranteed income, and you can continue writing on the side.” Um, dude, that’s exactly what I DON’T want to do. Because I’ve learned that working for someone else is no guarantee of income OR stability.
So how is this going to work?
A lot of you have asked me what I plan to do and how I’ll survive without a paycheck. (Not that my paychecks were helping me much, anyway.) So here’s the plan as of right now:
Making money: I have started another site, not finance-related, that should bring in quite a bit of income from search traffic. I’m not quite ready to reveal details yet, but you guys will be the first to know once it officially launches. I’ll also be writing some slightly more serious posts here that should please the Google gods and bring more traffic. (Never fear – I promise to balance the boring stuff with interesting posts!)
This site already brings in anywhere from $600-$800 a month with little effort, so if I can double that between both sites by April, I’ll be in pretty good shape. I’ll also be doing some freelance/staff writing to bring in extra money. I haven’t ruled out the possibility of a part-time job, depending on how the first few months of the year go.
My budget: Now that I don’t have commuting and other work-related expenses, my budget is a lot more flexible than it was before. I also deferred my student loans for another year to give me time to get a routine going. These are the expenses I have now without cutting anything:
- Fixed expenses (car payment, car insurance, phone, internet, utilities): $650
- Gas: $75 (I’m assuming 2 tanks a month since I get over 40mpg and won’t be going anywhere most of the time)
- Food: $300 (guesstimate)
- Cigarettes: $110 (I know, I know)
- TOTAL: $1135
That’s as barebones as it gets – obviously I’ll have other expenses, but I’m trying to figure out the minimum I’ll need to survive. I honestly don’t think it will be too difficult to meet that number every month, but I also need to keep in mind that I’ll be withholding my own taxes. Probably not during the first month or two, because I need some time to figure things out, but then I’ll have to make up for it later.
What will I be doing all day?
I know myself well enough to know that I need a schedule. Otherwise it’ll be noon and I’ll be on Twitter talking about movies or boobs or something.
My days will start at 7 AM with email and random online stuff before I get Jay up for school. After I drop him off, I’ll be writing from around 8:30 to 3 (with more email and such sprinkled in). From 3-7, I’ll be picking Jay up from school, making dinner (I have a goal to actually eat real food now that I’m home), cleaning, helping with homework, etc. Then I’ll hit the interwebs again from 7 to around midnight while Jay is playing the Xbox and going to bed.
This actually isn’t all that different from what I’ve been doing, except I don’t have to
waste spend time going to work when I could be writing. I probably won’t have as much to do at night because I’ll get it done during the day. And I have enough discipline to actually do this stuff – it’s different when I have to do it to pay my bills.
Some Random Inspiration
I’m a huge fan of quotes – not those sappy “dance in the rain” quotes, but ones that actually inspire me to keep the faith and stay motivated. I’m in the process of making an infographic of sorts from some of my favorites, which I’ll frame and hang up in my home office. Here is one I know I’ll be using:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt