A Year of Alan Meridian LLC

I hadn’t even noticed, but I got an email that yesterday (May 25) was the one year anniversary of beginning the process of incorporating for myself. Let’s take a look at the annual report.

When I last checked on this, I was almost done with the incorporation process in July so I guess May 25 was the day I started the process and not the actual date of incorporation. In point of fact, I’d been already running and gunning jobs for myself since February 2009, but I wasn’t quite official yet.

I’m still mostly with the same core business: IT consultation services for hire. I’m currently averaging about half-time workwise. 20 hours per week may not sound great since it’s not full time, but in fact, it’s pretty good. Many clients are small businesses and only need a few hours a month, so I have to have multiple clients to get the number of hours and income I want. Have multiple clients diversifies my income which is good. The other good part is that a per hour or per project rate is often much higher than the equivalent amount of time of a salaried employee. Just look at how much plumbing or car mechanic work is! I try not to gouge my customers, and I definitely know how to wear a belt to keep my pants up, so the comparison isn’t quite fair. Still, I make a reasonable amount, and my goal for one year of working was actually only 10 hours/week, so I think it’s doing plenty fine.

Aside from the rate stuff, the quality of work is very fulfilling. Because it’s mostly small businesses that I work at, the impact of my fixes is very apparent. It’s definitely an boost to know what I’m doing is directly impacting a company, maybe even positively affecting their bottom line.

Another interesting thing that’s come up is at one client I am maintaining a lab rather than doing more traditional break-fix kind of support. This means that the people I’m working with start with a different relationship: instead of coming from a position of disadvantage and being grumpy, it’s much more of a partnership where we’re building an environment for the lab. The mood shift is very cool. I’m not sure how to gauge this yet, but first blush is that it’s positive.

Working part time rather than full time I do have a lot more time to myself, and I love this. It’s given me a lot of time to reflect on how I work and what I enjoy about it. It was too easy to just run to the point of exhaustion at previous jobs and by the time I have relaxed enough to think back on the day it’s back to work. This has helped tremendously in figuring things out. Also, I have plenty of time to do other things: housework, cleaning, cooking, beermaking, breadmaking, working out, and generally improving quality of life for me and Julie.

The IT work I’m doing is still in my sweet spot, so I’d like to keep doing it. I’m not really hot to find a full time job yet, necessarily. I need to do some more thinking to figure out what my criteria really are for what I’d like to hold onto. My priorities and preferences are definitely in flux, but in the meantime the part-time work is helping pay the bills and helping me decide.

The big project that fell by the wayside in recent months was the voiceover work. I had a couple leads for work but nothing really panned out. It’s also pretty time consuming to do the recordings and the cleanup and submittal. I still get the offer opportunities, but I’ve never been shortlisted for an audition let alone landed a gig, so I’m not sure how to approach it yet. There might be some avenues to try or it may just require more trying on the ones I have, but it’s hard to get motivated.

The other income project I had, the stock market stuff, has actually been pretty good. I’ve had some wins and some losses, but the math bears out as a gain! I’m sure Mr. IRS will have some words regarding how much that gain really is after he’s through with it, but it’s more than I get from bank interest and given the last few down days in the market, I’m outperforming it by double digits. What I have to do, then, is do some math in terms of how much homework time I did to make that cash to figure out a reasonable rate. For right now, it’s enough for some fun money.

Overall, the year has been very positive. I turned the pretty crummy situation of being out of work into a very good situation: part time work, clients I like, disposable income, a better outlook on the kind of work I want and need, and generally good feelings instead of bitterness and negativity. How cool is that?

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