Notes for/from my call-in to 5by5 on QUIT! #29 – 06/28/2013
Update: Here is the segment from the show where I got some air time to chat with Dan and company.
Note: I am so very grateful to Danielle for putting up with the massive amount of email, voicemail, and writing that I have sent along this journey. She has been very encouraging!
Nutshell: The trail as a lone gunman seems to be ending; for 3.5 years I have had very little local support or networking opportunities, and things are grinding to a halt. How can I buy more time (without capital) to make new mistakes?
I’m 27 years old, single, and have a few thousand dollars of debt. I live in Springfield, Missouri and have been self-employed for 3.5 years ever since my “day job” came to a halt the day I signed my first apartment lease. With 8+ years of WordPress experience and 10+ years in the audio/video field, I have been able to keep the lights on for a grueling 38 months (mostly by the grace of God).
It’s a classic startup or small business tale; I had to be less picky about my rate of pay to make things happen, took whatever projects I could find, and tried to learn whatever I could from those who have gone before me. I soon learned that Springfield isn’t the best place for a web developer due to the tiny tight-lipped local dev community.
Over the last 3.5 years, my savings and earnings have been dropping systematically. Something needs to change. I really want to branch into more podcasting and writing, using my web and media knowledge to compliment those pursuits, but I’m stuck. Is it time to quit?
To learn more about my journey, read:
- Infidel (3+ years of freelancing in a box)
- Gun For Hire: Unsustainable (the short version)
- Safety Noose (my reply to B2W #120)
- Searching For Home (raw, humble, unfiltered)
“I’m Calmer Than You Are”
Over the last 6 months, I have been working with a small dev shop here in Springfield. They have been great; I have a desk I can use any time I wish, which gives me an opportunity to get out without going to a coffee shop.
The kicker is that things are moving…slowly. They are the best local lead I have, and it would be tough to make things happen even if I started full-time…today.
Not one to waste an opportunity, I used my “free time” to write some simple web articles for a small website, which has made a tiny bit of dough here and there. I began working on a daily drip of musings to develop muscle memory for podcasting. I have been writing (at least) one long-form article each week. I would love to get into audiobooks, serious podcasting, and more demanding writing schedules, after I know rent is paid.
Gun For Hire
One thing I decided to do was turn some of this frustration into a resource for others. I have been careful not to be Mr. Get Off My Lawn, but I have seen some parts of the road less traveled, especially regarding the consideration of transitioning away from this line of work. I think that angle is largely untapped in this current age, which may be something more people need to hear as the work-from-anywhere culture grows and changes.
It’s like Dan said to Studio Kittie in QUIT! #27: You have to take a chance and work on the stuff you care about, even without support or formal training. The last several years has given me the “grit” to endure the road thus far, but I don’t know how to take it to the next level.
I want to learn more about running successful internet broadcasts; my dream would be to apprentice/intern with an established studio for a few months. There isn’t anything like that around here – aside from Shawn Blanc up in Kansas City – so where do I go from here?
(There are family reasons that prohibit me leaving Missouri for more than a few months at a time right now. I feel like I could branch out and go somewhere for a while, but permanent relocation isn’t an option right now, fiscally or otherwise.)