A Narrow Space

October 12, 2009

In August my full-time job was cut back to part-time, and I have to be honest. In spite of all of the writing I do on innovation and all of my trend-watching and market-watching, I was completely taken by surprise.

I’m over that now, and for the last two and a half-months, I’ve been working for myself. Basically. I am trying to treat my former “boss” as a client, manage my time effectively, and help my husband with his business, Chris Paul Design.

We’ve been very blessed in the last few months, and I love the clients I am working with (photos coming soon!). However, lately it seems like we’re living in a very narrow space.

  • … where we have to communicate about finances more. Not just weekly or monthly, but now everyday, and sometimes hourly.
  • … where we carefully weigh out the bills and when they’re due, paying them just in time, rather than scheduling them out by pay period.”
  • … where it seems as if we’re always carefully balancing (or tottering) on the financial edge.

Don’t get me wrong – we’re making it! Haven’t missed a payment or been late once so far, and we’ve only had to dip into our emergency fund once. I’d say, given that I took a 50% pay cut, that’s not bad, not bad at all. Chris and I are working hard to plan for these kinds of seasons, where you have lots of invoices out but few payments coming in. We have a new project management system in place, and we’re getting Quickbooks Pro soon to help us match project budgets to their corresponding invoices.

I have to consciously remind myself, we chose this path for ourselves. We may totter on the financial edge some days, but we have the freedom to take a few days off to go see U2, or to take advantage of a sunny afternoon and take the dogs to the park. I am working at our kitchen table today because it’s dreary and I want to be able to watch the birds out the window. Our schedules, working styles, and income are within our own control, rather than that of an employer.

The freelance lifestyle is not for the meek of heart. How do you manage the highs and lows? What do you miss about your old day job? What would you never trade back?

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