You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter, don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store
— Sixteen Tons
Last week marked sixteen years as a freelancer. I was traveling and I don’t blog much when I am on the road. I focus on spending time with and talking to people. Home is where I reflect and write.
It’s been an eventful ride for 16 years. Now that I have turned 60, I doubt I will change careers and get a full-time job. There’s not much of a job market left for me. In any case, I like freelancing. The only downside has ever been the financial uncertainty. My latest trip covered three countries and I met a lot of new people. Traveling about 4 times a year helps break up my routine. If I was traveling all the time I am sure it would be less appealing. I learn on every trip and really enjoy getting to understand new organizations and cultures. Back home I try to put these experiences in perspective.
Some lessons I have learnt:
2005 — Jarche Consulting is now at the ripe old age of two years — good enough for some cheeses but still too young for most wines.
2006 — I had previously worked for an e-learning technology vendor and my conclusion on leaving was that selling software licenses and improving learning & performance were not really compatible.
2007 — The best part is the lifestyle and the flexibility while the worst aspect is constantly chasing after more work and managing cash-flow (that’s the part that people with regular pay cheques don’t understand).
2008 — One of my greatest pleasures is meeting people whom I’ve known through blogging. The conversations are always rich and interesting.
2010 — seven lessons (cash, diversification, expenses, etc.)
2011 — It’s been a roller coaster of a ride for the past eight years but I’m still here, freelancing, blogging and trying to figure out life in perpetual Beta.
2013 — It’s life in perpetual Beta, for people and for institutions, no matter how powerful they may be. In the network era, I don’t take anything for granted, and neither should the elites.
2016 — After 13 years, I continue to be directed by a vision of democratic workplaces for everyone. There is still a long way to go but the conversation is being advanced on many fronts.
2018 — Today I’m a very old chunk of cheese but a much better wine, I hope (see 2005 entry above).
2019 — It’s still a roller coaster ride but my networks and communities are helping me figure things out, one day and one year at a time.