On Your value
Where I reflect on my value as an entrepreneur. You know that a freelancer is an entrepreneur, right?
A few weeks ago Matt Gemmell touched my heart. He is not a cardiologist, so I mean it figuratively. He was the keynote speaker at mdevcon. Before his presentation I was already very happy because the conference has been great: my presentation was a success, the room was packed and many people approached me offline. Thanks everybody for attending! Maybe it’s because Auto Layout is an interesting topic but somebody says I am good at presenting.
So I sat in the first row with no need of popcorns (though I am sure all the other attendees appreciated them), ready to listen to the keynote. I felt like I already knew everything he said, but the fact that he stated those things made me feel “right”. Much like when you come up with an idea, you inspect the field and you see many others having implemented a similar idea: that’s a good sign, because it means there is a need and a market. Likewise, the idea that others are (or have been) discovering the value of time and talents is a great sign to me. What Matt said resonated with me.
Before the conference I was already tempted to fire a few clients to have more time for me, my family and to go indie. I was like a fire ready to burn, I was just waiting for a spark. Matt could have told me the same things in private, while drinking a beer at the pub (though he probably would have gone for a whiskey). I was simply ready to listen to those things, as a confirmation that my reflections (and also my guts) were right.
So a few days after the conference, when the big (and problematic) client called, I was ready to say: “I propose to interrupt our collaboration”. I didn’t know a few and simple words can set you free so quickly. I’ll leave the details on why the client was problematic for another post. I already knew that time has value, but now I am aware that time has a huge value. I am still working with the big client to close the project (due in a few weeks) but I am already savouring the time I’ll have when I am done, and this helps me a lot to get through these last few days on the project that, as you can imagine, are pretty hellish (listening to blues also helps a lot).
There are two perspectives I adopt know to approach my time: the negative, don’t waste it, and the positive, use it wisely. With this double view I feel now my time is safe. How do I know? Here is some evidence:
- I write more
- I do more
- I have more time to spend with my family
- I am more relaxed
This does not mean I won’t take on any new client projects, but I will evaluate them very carefully and I will prefer short ones.
While a was drafting this post I also stumbled upon a post from Kyle Bragger titled Stop working (so hard) which has a great and concise way to sum up the message
pick some number under 35 and try working that many hours per week, and no more.
That’s a quantitative perspective, I prefer qualitative views but the essence is the same, like in two sides of the same coin. This new way of
I won’t say like Jerry McGuire “fewer clients, less money”: that contains two negative statements. I’ll just positively say: “more time for me and my family”. Why? Well, an image is worth a thousand words …