The Geek Bin

Why I’m becoming a consultant.

As I’ve grown in life and my career as a whole, the ecosystem around working for an employer was off-putting. I felt stranded at many times because there was limited to no flexibility, and no room for discussions. As time went on, this began to become a burden. As a way out, I’ve done freelancing and now I’m headed to start full-time consultancy services on Cyber Security, Software Engineering and System Administration.

Before I made this decision, a lot of factors had to be weighed in to place. If we excuse the financial side of the equation, there’s more challenges to working for yourself than for an employer. First and foremost is discipline, you need to have the discipline to work independently with no supervision and deliver on time. Many individuals can struggle with this and I know that struggle very well, in the early part of my freelancing career I was finding myself getting distracted easily for the first few weeks until I found a good routine.

A good routine from day to night helps balance your life and align your priorities, but that’s not all that can help. On top of a good routine, I also leverage tons of tools in my day to day routine in order to stay focused and keep notes. Here’s my normal morning schedule:

5:00 AM: Wake up
5:00 - 5:30 AM: Read local news, see what's happening in the world
5:30 - 6:00 AM: Check, update social media
6:00 - 7:00 AM: Eat breakfast, prepare notes for the day
7:00 AM - 11:00 AM: Work on today's tasks, update Jira & tickets with progress, update live demonstrations and communicate with customers
11:00 AM - Noon: Lunch, prepare notes for remainder of the day
Noon - 2:00 PM: Continue working on today's tasks, communicate with clients and gather feedback
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM: Marketing, sales-pitches to potential customers, summarize activities completed today and log them in Confluence for future reference
3:00 PM - 7:00 PM: Dedicated family time, disconnected from technology entirely and only answer my phone if it's an emergency
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM: Catch up on any emails I've missed and respond accordingly, investigate and build my service offering, send out billing as necessary

As you can already tell from that brief schedule, my day is pretty routinely planned to my liking. I’ve designed it this way to keep the stress-level minimal and allow flexibility in my time. Flexibility is an important factor me, as I want to be able to move things around if necessary.

On top of my schedule, you’ll notice I use tools such as Jira, Confluence throughout the day regularly. I love Jira and Confluence, and self-host them on my infrastructure, they’re simple yet powerful tools that are affordable ($10/year for each to self-host). Here’s my full list of software I’m actively using throughout the day:

  1. Jira ($10/year)
  2. Confluence ($10/year)
  3. Crisp (Live Chat / Sales Inquiries – free)
  4. Blesta and Stripe (ticket support, invoicing customers and collecting payments – $300 one-time fee for Blesta)
  5. Bear (note taking – free)
  6. PHPStorm (IDE for PHP – $89.00)
  7. Visual Studio Code (free)
  8. mosh (ssh over udp, good for mobile – free)
  9. HubSpot (marketing – free)
  10. Gitlab and Bitbucket (git repository – free)

While my toolkit doesn’t contain hundreds of items, it keeps me focused and allows me to have a clear mindset. The tools I need are always at my fingertips when I need them. I’m still working on my outbound sales channels and where I’m picking up freelance work. I’ve had varying success rates on Reddit’s for hire section so I’ll continue to pursue this and will post updates based on my results.

While I continue this journey of full-time freelance / consulting, I’ll continue to post updates based on my results I’ve had so far. I know this will be an up-hill battle to get full-time stable income from this, however, I’m not one to turn down a challenge.

The bottom line for me is, I’m becoming a consultant because I want to work with clients, create experiences memorable for them that fit their needs and maintain a good working relationship providing excellent services to them. I take pride in my work, and I’ll continue to take pride in every line of code and service I produce for clients.

Long term, my infrastructure goal is to make my shared hosting PCI compliant by 2021! Let’s see how that goes!

Got a tip? Suggestion? Feedback? Leave a comment down below, I’d love to hear from you!

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