Self-employment: One month later

It has been a month almost to the day that I declared my independence from The Man. So far, this is how it's going.

The primary focus has always been to concentrate on writing my ASP.NET book. I've got about five chapters done (by “done” I mean ready for editorial review by the publisher) plus the intro. Those are key chapters, and I'm waiting for some friends to get back to me to see how well received they are. The book is about a third done, and I have two months and a week left to finish it. No problem.

To learn the new ASP.NET v2 features, naturally it's helpful to apply them to a real project. To do that I've been working on the next version of POP Forums from time to time. I have a very long list of features and things that I'd like to add to it, to really “compete“ (if that's the word, since I offer it for free) with other products. I think as a programmer tool it's already among the best, if for no other reason than it provides a good tool for manipulating user information and roles (until Whidbey comes out). It's not perfect (requiring you to have global.asax to inherit my class instead of using an HttpModule wasn't a good idea), but it's at the core of all of my sites. Thousands of users at any given time and my CPU still doesn't break a sweat. I know it can be better though, and while I get nothing for all of the work, it's satisfying to know it's all me.

I had grand intentions of eating better and exercising, but the first part of June generally sucks because of my allergies so I haven't been motivated in those areas. It's the only time of year I have a problem, but they kicked my ass. Claritin helps, but in some ways just makes me uncomfortable in other ways. It dries me out.

The good news is that while I never felt “fat,” I always knew I was a little overweight. I dropped some pounds last December and I managed to keep them off while at my last contract job. Since going solo, I've dropped two more. I've had fast food perhaps four times this year. So while I'm still not eating my vegetables, at least I'm eating less crap. I'm feeling energized enough to start playing DDR again and bought a cool bike rack for the car.

The money thing is a little scary, but nothing to get really freaked out by, as I knew that cash flow would be somewhat negative for awhile. The good news is that online advertising has seen a slight rebound, as traditional branding campaigns (i.e., not cost-per-click) are starting to take hold. I'm planning to launch another site in the next couple of weeks, a port of an existing site for a new topic. If it can add even $500 in revenue a month quickly, life will be grand.

Consulting and freelance work doesn't interest me at the moment. It's something I'll want to get back into in the fall, but right now I'm enjoying getting up when I feel like it, working when I feel like it and enjoying the summer sun. I'm working hard, and it's hard to see the tangible results in the short-term, but it's all on my terms, and that's a great feeling.

So that's where I'm at today. I'm not pulling in the bling, but I am ridiculously happier and less stressed. I get into my grumpy fits of course (just ask Stephanie), but I'm trying to get to a place in my life where I fit into the general scheme of things. I think I'm finally getting closer to that place.