2014 was a tumultuous year for me. What I was doing at the end of the year was nothing like what I expected when the year began.
At the beginning of the year, I was working for a small start up that I loved. I anticipated coding-away on the product and with that fantastic team for the foreseeable future.
Just one month into the year, I found out it was not to be. The company announced its shutdown by the second month of the year. I cried. I got angry. I immediately began missing my team. Most of all, I was sad to be losing a product I truly loved using, and working on, every day.
The third month of the year, I decided to go freelance. I was lucky to work on great projects with fantastic clients right out of the gate, but I also had to figure out the business side of it too. What should I charge? Estimated taxes, whoa! What types of projects do I really like and want to go after? How do I find that work?
Through the middle of the year, I continued to be busy. I figured out a rate that works. I hired a great accountant and a lawyer to help with all the details that I don't really understand, like estimated taxes and contracts.
In May, I was asked to speak at a conference set for December. My first experience with speaking in front of such a large crowd. Nervously I wrote, made slides, practiced, asked trusted colleagues for advice and feedback, and generally made sure I knew my talk backwards and forwards. And it went great.
I tell you this simply to say that sometimes, life is going to change. Change in ways you don't expect, nor ways you may want.
2014 started with some incredibly difficult changes (right on the heels of a very difficult ending to 2013). I’ve learned that freelancing is just one big roller-coaster ride as well, with days of working on an awesome project and other days of wondering if work will come in or not.
In addition, I’ve found support in places I didn’t expect. Referrals for projects, people giving me a push to try something new, the odd email from a colleague letting me know they’ve enjoyed something I’ve written or said. I’m grateful for this support as it has made the low points on the coaster more bearable and it’s always more fun to celebrate with friends.
The lesson for me in 2014 was to get much better at rolling with the coaster. In 2015, I have no idea where this coaster is going to take me. If you had told me then where I would be today, I would have laughed. Hopefully the same holds true a year from now because I've found the ride to be a fairly interesting adventure.