Posted by: Paul | January 31, 2011

One Year On

Today is exactly one year since I embarked on my experiment in life change.

A year ago I was waking up for the first time without a week’s commuting to London ahead of me. I had ideas, plans, things I wanted to do, and things I definitely did NOT want to do. So how has it gone? An honest appraisal:

I decided I wanted to do something different for a while. Well, it has been and it hasn’t – my day to day circumstances are obviously different, alternately spending time in solitude and doing childcare, but in terms of work after a flirtation with writing I have defaulted to what I know best, and set myself up as an independent audio producer working from home. It’s going OK – I feel like I’m making progress but could certainly do with more work, and this is the crunch year in which I must prove myself and expand my client base. I’ve tapped up old friends who have very graciously helped me out, and also made some new contacts which should come to fruition this year, and as other people’s businesses grow who struck out at the same time as I did, I believe it will have a positive effect on my own business. Fingers crossed.

The real pluses of the year have been the flexibility me being at home has given us, and most importantly, time to spend with Adam which I would not have had otherwise. This has been precious and though as I say childcare is the hardest job in the world and one you don’t get paid for, it is also the most rewarding. He never ceases to amaze and delight me, and any momentary frustrations are soon forgotten on both our parts.

They say that you can either have money, or time. At the moment I have time, and right now it feels good. You can easily waste both commodities and my experiences this year have made me determined not to waste either. Working remotely as I do, you often have long periods spent waiting for things – waiting for someone to get back to you on a quote, or send you some files. I’m learning now that these periods are just as important as the periods of furious activity – during ‘down time’ there are many other demands on my attention. Domestic chores, business admin, planning for the future. It’s important to maintain discipline and not get dragged down into idleness – if I don’t have paid work to do, there will be plenty of work of other kinds.

But money is obviously also very important, as it allows me to carry on working like this, and avoid getting ‘a real job’, as I said to a friend the other day! My plan is to make enough in a year to finance the following year, so this year I will be living off the last year’s income, so I’m never living hand-to-mouth and drawing from untaxed income. It also gives me the incentive to keep pushing forward – if I don’t earn enough in a certain month, I have to catch up in the next one.

For all this I’m eternally grateful for the indulgence and forbearance of my wonderful wife. She keeps us going and keeps on my back, which is exactly what I need to keep the momentum up. Here’s hoping this year will be as much fun, and even more rewarding!

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