An experiment in personal development

Freelancing Update – One Month In

with 4 comments

It has been a little over a month since I quit my full-time job of 8 years, a comfortable but soul-sucking corporate monster of a career that went nowhere. People who know me have probably been waiting for updates from the front and wondering if I feel like I made the right decision.

While it’s still very early to tell with any kind of certainty, my gut feeling tells me yes. I have absolutely no regrets. Since leaving my job, I’ve felt rejuvenated and re-ignited in my passion for life and what it has to offer. I’m enthusiastic about the possibilities that the future can bring. This is not to say that there haven’t been challenges – there have, and I foresee many more in the coming months. However, I was prepared for them, and I have faith that in the end it will all be worth it.

So, how are things in Vadimonkey land? I think, this hilarious web comic strip explains it beautifully.

But, here are my own thoughts:

The Good

Since quitting my job, my life feels like an extended vacation. I’ve been sleeping in, watching a lot of movies, reading more; I’ve been spending more time with my family and my friends. I’ve been riding my bike, hanging out at parks, bookstores and coffee shops, and generally taking it easy and being mellow – my natural state of being. This is good, because a vacation is exactly what I needed.

I took the time to update my demo reel and I’m finally starting to network more, look for potential clients and market myself and my services. It’s a slow process that I’m sure will take some time and a lot of effort, but once again – I was prepared for that and knew what was coming.

The Bad

By quitting my job, I yanked myself loose of the rigid corporate chain and the mind-numbing work, but also from the nice benefits and the safety net it provided. No more free high-speed internet, affordable health insurance and a cushy retirement plan. I now have to pay for all these things out of my own pocket.

Despite caring very little for my job or the prison-cell-like work environment, I was lucky to work closely with some genuinely great people whom I’ve grown very fond of. We all had similar interests, and on slow days, work felt more like hanging out with friends and socializing than an actual job. I miss that aspect of it.

Being a freelancer and generally working from home also means very limited human interaction. I now understand why many people who work from home are so active on various social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and so on) – other than purely for marketing purposes, sadly, it becomes their main way of interaction with the outside world. I’m going to try my best not to fall into that extreme.

Also, now that I don’t have a steady source of income, I have to keep to a budget and be mindful of how I spend my money. I have usually been okay with that, but now I must be even more strict. Which means, even though I have a lot more free time to enjoy concerts, movies and various cultural and entertainment events, I also have to limit myself to the ones I can afford to go to. Whereas, before I would have been pissed for not being able to go see Muse at the Pepsi Center because I had to work that day/night/early next morning, I am now frustrated because I have the time to see them, but can’t afford to (or can, but really shouldn’t) spend $60+ on the ticket. C’est la Vie.

Finally, and I feel that this will be my greatest challenge, my laid-back and relatively quiet, shy personality can be detrimental to getting ahead in business. I hate to think of it this way, but it’s true: what I’m getting myself into is first and foremost – a business. As such, it requires an outgoing personality, rock-solid determination and thick skin. It demands great people skills and an ability to sell myself. This is something I constantly struggle with, but hopefully it will get better with time and practice.

So, what’s next?

Network, Network, Network

In the coming months, I will try my best to connect and network with people, community organizations, businesses and local establishments; to seek out collaborators, clients and even new friends. Forcing myself to get out of my shell and get the word out about my freelance business will be the most difficult part of this leg of my entrepreneurial (I can’t believe I just used that word) journey. It’s a big experiment in self-actualization, the outcome of which depends almost entirely on my own determination and the ability to bend and adapt to any given situation. It’s counter-intuitive to my personality, and I honestly don’t know how it will turn out, but I’m going to give it a good old try.

In addition, despite being somewhat of a loner for most of my life, I’ve always craved the company and interaction with like-minded, creative, and inspired/passionate people. I haven’t had much luck with it before due to my inherent shyness and awkwardness in approaching people, but I would really like to surround myself with a circle of acquaintances and friends who are kindred spirits and live and breathe art and beauty and all the things that fuel my own passions. I think it’s important to build a strong network of support and collaboration, a group of positive people to bounce ideas off.

Personal / Artistic Development

I will need to make it a point to regularly spend some time pursuing personal and creative projects; things that are important to me. Reading books, taking photos (for myself, not just for clients), watching good films and learning new skills. I also have a few other irons in the oven; ideas for projects that may or may not find fruition. I will write more about them in due time.

This is just the beginning, and the first steps of any journey are always the hardest. Time will tell how things will turn out, but I’m excited to see where this journey will take me. To sum it all up – no, I have no regrets in leaving my job, and I’m enthusiastically pushing forward. Of course, it’s still scary and uncertain, but that’s also what makes it feel so right.

I would love to hear your thoughts, comments or questions. Are there experiences or lessons in pursuing your dreams that you would like to share? Feel free to leave comments below!


Written by vadimonkey

September 28, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Posted in Life, Personal Development

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4 Responses

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  1. We miss you here in the cell, but we’re glad you’re enjoying your “vacation”.

    Bryan Hunter

    September 28, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    • I miss you guys too!


      September 28, 2010 at 2:51 pm

  2. You’re my hero… I feel like you’ve made that most important, most difficult, and life changing step already. I remember when it used to be just a dream. And look you now! You inspire me. And yet, I know it’s scary at the same time. I would say on the contrary, that your natural personality is not a hindrance to your future success. Instead, you are a very genuine, very sincere, very sweet, mature and “solid”, and somehow make people around you feel comfortable. I’d say that’s a gift. Remember once you said that your boss said you had leadership qualities? I agree. Ang Lee is quiet and shy too 🙂 See? It takes all types! I believe in you!


    September 30, 2010 at 5:29 pm

  3. Amy, that’s very kind of you. Thank you! I’ll definitely try my best and see how things pan out.


    September 30, 2010 at 7:16 pm

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