What I’ve given up

If you want to start your own business, especially while working at a day job and keeping up your relationships with your family, you need to be prepared to give up some things.

For example:

  • Television. I hardly ever watch TV anymore. Of course, I already wasn’t watching much TV because we don’t have cable, but still. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when you’re not staring at a TV screen for 2 hours (or more) every weeknight.
  • Nintendo Wii. I used to play the Wii quite a lot – especially Tiger Woods Golf (which is entertaining for all the wrong reasons now that Tiger’s personal foibles have come to light). Now that I’m so busy with freelancing, I don’t have time for video games.
  • Books. I don’t do a lot of reading for pleasure right now. And I miss it – it’s hard. I used to be a big reader and I would read several books each month; I would always read before bed. Lately I’m up late working or corresponding with clients before bed, so that has cut in to my reading time.
  • Friends. I don’t socialize as much as I used to, prior to starting this journey toward self-employment. I’d like to see my friends more often, but it’s hard. Part of this is caused by the lack of spontaneity that goes with having children, I suppose.
  • Sleep. One of my goals for my freelancing is that I try to get the work done without giving up too much time with my wife and child. That means that I often don’t really start my freelance “work day” until 10 p.m. at night (or later). I suppose this isn’t entirely healthy, but it can be exhilarating. I love the feeling of hammering out a draft in an hour, and then hitting “Send” right before midnight. I love checking my e-mail first thing in the morning and getting client feedback from various other time zones.

It’s not always easy. There are times when I’d rather be watching TV or reading a book or having a cup of tea rather than be on my computer, bidding on new projects, working on current client work, or doing the various administrative tasks that go with being self-employed.

But ultimately, I don’t feel like I’ve sacrificed anything that is too important. My goal of being self-employed is far more important to me than any of the minor sacrifices along the way.

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