Counting down

The end is in sight! Yesterday was my last full day at the office. I have partial days today and tomorrow, but no more late nights. No more days like Monday, where I started working at 9am to meet a deadline, worked through till 1pm when I went to the office, got home around midnight, and put in another couple hours’ work on some straggler pieces of the same project. Then I did much the same thing on Tuesday.

When I was starting to get my business off the ground, I saw that long days like that were coming, and I so did not want them. I wanted to line things up but not actually have to fit projects in around an otherwise full work week. As time went on, though, it became clear to me that those long days were the only way to do it — at least if I wanted to keep momentum going into full-time freelancing, instead of drifting along and waiting for things to happen. I didn’t want to get into a routine of bumming around home and procrastinating and kinda maybe sorta doing things sometimes. I wanted that first day to be a productive workday. And the second day, too. And the third day, the fourth, the fifth, and on and on.

So I’m very excited about having a slate of projects now. However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t more excited to be finished at the office and ready to get on with my work.

In a whirlwind

I hope you had a wonderful holiday, readers! My Thanksgiving was lovely. I cooked entirely too much food but we did get to have pie for breakfast and turkey sandwiches for lunch afterward (but not too many days afterward). I spent a little time relaxing and a little time working and it was just what I  needed.

I have a million ideas and thoughts and plans.

With this house, nothing is turning out quite like I expected. Like, I had this whole setup in mind for my desk, and then my mother-in-law offered a rolltop desk that she’s not using (yes, please!), so now I’m rethinking how to arrange the furniture in my office and where to put my printer and maybe using a different color paint (no, most of the walls are still not painted). In a couple more months, either those details aren’t going to be particularly important or I’ll be able to change what bugs me, but right now it’s stressing me out.

I had lots of good ideas about scheduling my work time, but the implementation is not going so smoothly. I will more than likely have late nights and early mornings for the next couple of weeks. Sleep is very important to my own particular good health and I’m not happy about losing sleep. I’m counting the days until I won’t have to schedule my work around a different full-time job anymore.

There are classes and webinars I want to take, books and articles to read, things to think about and ponder and attempt and tweak…

But it’s not time for that right now. It’s time to dive in and do all that work. Which frustrates me, but them’s the breaks.

Officially official

Yesterday was the big day! Paperwork has been completed and filed and notarized, even. I am officially doing business as Last Syllable Communications, a sole proprietorship in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I’ve put in an enormous amount of effort to get to this point, long days and working naps and a whole lot of reading studying and learning, and I’ve just gotten to the starting line! There’s lots more work ahead, but I’m excited for it. Going freelance has been tremendously, well, freeing so far. I’m finding my voice, dreaming big, and just bubbling up with joy at all the future possibilities.

Doing what I love

As in, I must be doing what I love. I have had so little interest in business for most of my life (including a previous try at freelancing full-time), but in the past month, I have been so caught up in learning all the little details, it just astounds me when I step back for a moment and notice this.

Last night I was propped up in bed with my laptop, drafting my business plan. I was pretty tired so there wasn’t much quality writing happening, but that cover page looks sharp and all the sections have been divided up nicely. But still — 11 p.m. on a Sunday night, and there I am with my business plan.

I’m waiting until Mercury goes direct (it’s currently retrograde) to actually file the paperwork to create the business, and I am on PINS. AND. NEEDLES. I’m using the time between now and then to gather forms and other resources, write lists and remember what I’d forgotten to add to them, read advice columns and how-to books, and generally allow time for things to go wrong and need fixing before the big day. Kind of like packing the hospital bag before my daughter was born.

Next on the schedule: signed up for a “Fundamentals of Starting a Business” class on the 16th, going down to the county clerk to file papers on the 20th.[ This is a change; the stars align a little better on this date.]

Business owner, employing exactly one person

I’m doing a little professional development this weekend, reading blogs and articles to get in touch with the field again, and I came upon Louise Harnby’s post Why I Hate the Term “Freelance Proofreader” — A Letter to Newbies:

If I’d spent 15 years working as an electrician for an electrical installations company and then decided to go it alone, I’d never have described myself as a “freelance electrician”. I’d have told people that I was now running my own electrical business. Does “freelancer” really reflect the level of business acumen required to do my job? … I’m the owner of a business that employs exactly one person.

YES. This is exactly how I’m approaching Last Syllable Communications. I’d shied away from being a freelancer before because I didn’t know how to make an invoice, or I was concerned about being able to manage taxes, or whatever other detail. I thought I just hadn’t had an opportunity in my salaried jobs to learn those things, enough to make it on my own. Now that I’m looking at this as how do I expand a small business, employing exactly one person, I’m finding a ton of resources like tax guides for sole-proprietor businesses or sample invoices to adapt (and the ones I’d made before weren’t too shabby in comparison). There seems like less of an expectation that I’d know all this already.

Running a business also feels more like a job to me, rather than a haphazard to-do list with fingers crossed. Of course I’ll need to make financial forecasts and develop a marketing strategy. Of course I can evaluate potential new clients and tell some of them no. of course I’ll need to allocate some time in my day for administrative tasks to keep the business running smoothly.

I do think that I’ve matured in the past couple of years and that that’s had an effect on how I structure my work now. However, I’m much more confident that I’ll be successful because I have been thinking of this as starting a business rather than just “freelancing.”