Today marks fifteen years of self-employment. After two years I had noted that my business was good enough for some cheeses but still too young for most wines. Today I’m a very old chunk of cheese but a much better wine, I hope.
By the four-year mark I had experienced clients not paying me and one going bankrupt before paying me. I had many slow periods which I attributed to my location and the lack of face to face meetings. I would say this is still the case. On marking my fifth anniversary I noted that I now had a great international community of bloggers, from whom I keep learning, though the comments on our blog posts are much less frequent today.
At the seven-year point I took a full-time job but kept the business open, with some blogging and a web conference or two. I also gave some freelancing advice. That job lasted six months and then it was back to the financial roller coaster of ups & downs which continues to this day. Once I hit 10 years, in 2013, I decided to write a compilation of my thoughts here. Seeking Perpetual Beta was the first of the perpetual beta series which now counts five volumes. I followed this with a quick summary of 10 thoughts in 10 years.
On my 13th anniversary I reiterated my commitment to democratic workplaces in democratic societies. I wrote that interconnected and engaged citizens are our hope for a better future. We need to learn how to navigate the emerging network era. People have to take control of their learning: being connected, mobile, and global while conversely contractual, part-time, and local.
Today, on my fifteenth anniversary, I would like to thank all the people who make up my professional networks and communities of practice. Without you I would not have been able to see the world with new eyes. Many of my online connections have become friends and almost all of my business has been through referrals from people I originally met here. This is one of the best gifts I have ever received: a referral for work, based on the impact my words have made. Therefore I will continue to write, and hopefully improve, as I travel along the path of the freelancer, all from little Sackville, New Brunswick, population 5,000.