For the past year, I've been employed by 352 Media Group, based first in Gainesville, FL and then in Atlanta, GA.
Recently, I decided that the time had come for me to try to make it as a freelancer. I'm not the kind of person who thinks everyone should follow the path of self-employment. On the other hand, there comes a point in some of our lives where the idea of working for someone else is so distasteful that the inevitable pain and isolation that comes from going it alone is actually attractive.
In other words, it isn't all roses. I'm extremely optimistic about what the future holds. I know that my skills are valuable once they get in the right hands. But for the past year, I've had people above and around me figuring out how to distribute my skills, and now that's all on me. Project management, IT, business development, marketing, public relations, HR... they all just collapsed into the singular incomprehensible mass that now rests before me.
Back in August of 2007, I had this to say about my expected trajectory. I'm reposting it here, unedited, because I think it's important to remember that I was as clueless then as I feel now, and things have gone pretty well so far.
One of the most striking patterns that has shaped my life is the exponential feedback of intentionality. What I mean is, I seem to be eerily good at making things happen that I set my mind to. Before I ever spoke to Microsoft at the Fall 2006 job fair at UF, I wrote a Post-It note and stuck it to my mirror: "I will work for Microsoft."
Several months later, I was. Before that, I had opportunities in tech support, web application development, and game development that were greatly aided by just thinking hard about what I wanted.
The key to manifesting intentions is to let your subconscious mind discover opportunities for you, because you could easily burn 25 hours a day looking actively for them. As long as you keep your goals (which should take no more than about 20 words to state) in your mind at all times, following your "heart" (really your mind giving you hints about the correct choice of action) will cause you to converge on your goals.
What happens when you don't keep specific goals in mind? You will consistently converge on whatever occupies your mind for the moment, or on nothing at all. One way or another, you'll notice that you spend a lot of energy just getting by.
I can't conceive how many of my peers accept the reality that shortly (in about 10 months for some of us), they will be sitting at desks in whatever big company pities them with an entry-level position and 3 days of vacation doing menial coding tasks that amount to a piss-take in the ocean of personality-free software.
This is not the corporate America of your father. $30 a hour is not enough for me. $200 an hour isn't enough either. Not if I give up control. Not if I'm beholden to someone whose seniority will always dictate their position (above me) in the org chart.
These are the reasons I will not accept a safety net once I graduate. It's all or nothing, because failure is never final. Failure is just one more motivation to try harder. The alternative to trying again after failure is death.
So, come what may. King me or kill me.
Truer words. But words without commitment or substance. So, the fresh realization is that there is no substitute for cutting the cord for real. For shipping. For taking clients and failing or succeeding on my own merits and not within someone else's support structure. It took awhile to get here, but here goes...