About two months ago I wrote about the beginning of my freelance journey. I officially started consulting on August 1st so I have just a little over a month under my belt. Time for an update.


August filled up quickly with a variety of engagements: a technical project to design a move from Heroku to AWS for an exciting startup in San Francisco, a talk at Intuit on the topic of scaling with AWS, and product design, marketing, and architecture for a startup in the south bay. I was fully booked all month and it really didn’t take much effort.

But as I’ve been warned, the flood dried up quickly. In September I don’t have any projects in the pipeline yet, save for ongoing educational projects with Pearson. I’m trying not to twiddle my thumbs.

I’m not too nervous about this, actually. August was a busy month, and I didn’t get much time to think about what I really want to focus on in consulting. Part of the motivation was to have a little more freedom to spend time outside, cooking meals, enjoying a somewhat less structured life. Plus I still have part time work with Anki to fill up a few days a week and provide a base level of income.

Of course, too many months of this will become a problem.

Nooks and Crannies

In the last post I mentioned that I need to find an accountant and a lawyer. I, uh, did neither.

I ended up using FreshBooks for simple accounting. It’s not perfect, but it took less than 10 minutes to get create an account, set up clients, create projects, log time, and create an invoice. At $20/mo I’ll take it until it doesn’t suit my needs. Yay for SaaS.

Legal stuff I basically sidestepped by working as a 1099 contractor. Yes, I should set up an LLC. No, I probably won’t actually do it until I need to. I must have a high risk tolerance or something, but until I have an employee, I don’t really see the point of paying for legal services.

Setting goals

Short term:

  • Bill at least one new client in each of September and October
  • Attend 3 meetups around Berkeley & SF
  • Business cards
  • Go for a mtn bike ride at Joaquin Miller in the middle of the week

Mid term:

  • Continue to refine core competencies in to distinct, clear service offerings
  • Identify and evaluate ideas for a software project, probably open source, and probably released as a hosted pay-as-you-go service.

That doesn’t seem like too much. Very doable.