100 Days; a Review of Life as an Entrepreneur

Dinner cruise on Tampa Bay - 2006I’ve been doing my own thing with my WordPress consulting, designing, and training for 100 days now. I officially started operating on my own capacity on February 3rd with one month of severance pay, a MacBook, two ongoing jobs with clients that needed my attention, and a list of friends whom I hoped would suddenly need my services.

February was pretty much a living hell, frankly. I was a basket case for a solid week or so. I took one night off from my normal social calendar, but kept chugging away publicly. Privately, I wasn’t sleeping; staying up until 1:00, 2:00, even 4:00 in the morning. I definitely caught what my wife had been lingering with for a month or more and got on antibiotics and begged for some sleeping aids because I couldn’t shut my brain off at all, ever, and I didn’t want to get hooked on anything strong that I have around for pain. Thankfully Ambien gave me the rest I needed and I got better rather quickly as a result of both meds.

March was still a really good month because I wrapped up some long-term projects that had nagging issues with the hosting involved, but I ended up being successful and have a delighted client for life, as far as we can tell. He’s more than welcome to come stay with us if he’s ever Stateside. I had also completed a huge, higher profile site and was just waiting for the checks to roll in for all of that work. By the end of March, we had more than enough left to pay my April salary, so it took a lot of pressure off. I decided to take some of that capital and form an LLC so we could get a business checking account and keep the money out of PayPal.

April… yeah, taxes. I decided that I was completely clueless about the business side of the tax situation and sought out the CPA that services my wife’s employer. He set me up with quarterly estimated payments that were a good chunk of money, but somewhere around half to a third of what I thought it would be. Apparently there are some really nice perks, tax-wise, to being a business owner.

Then panic set in–no work for the first week of April. Not a call, not an inquiry, nothing. Great! I just forked over good money for the LLC and now I was thinking I’d have to close shop and get a “real” job again. On top of that, we had a boo-boo with getting some paperwork done to continue our COBRA health insurance and it expired on April 1st. We had an application for HIPAA coversion to an individual PPO policy going out in the mail by 3pm that day and got our new insurance cards on the 18th. It was a little too late for my health because I was 3 weeks overdue for an appointment for general maintenance and it was a rough visit. We are all squared away with that now with a non-expiring policy, which we’d need by next March anyway.

With May here now, I’m doing what I have to for getting healthy before we go on a weekend vacation to celebrate a graduation. It’s not fun, nor cheap, but it’s got to be done. I’m booked pretty solid until mid-June with a major project that is prompting a second LLC formation to delve into a new arena that I will be announcing shortly. I’ve also expanded my services to doing more design work, such as logo design and creating custom Twitter backgrounds. I’m getting immense satisfaction from that work, and time flies sooo fast doing it.

In short (or not), this is a huge “thank you!” to all of my clients, friends, and family (especially my wife for being my #1 cheerleader for chasing my dream) for supporting us through our transition into this exciting and scary new phase of life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Jerry

    Hey Jesse,
    Sure glad it’s working. It was neat to read it all laid out in one story. And it’s always ice to look back and see see the Lord’s provision in our lives. See you in a few weeks.

  • Jerry

    Hey Jesse,
    Sure glad it’s working. It was neat to read it all laid out in one story. And it’s always ice to look back and see see the Lord’s provision in our lives. See you in a few weeks.

  • http://stephenpsmith.com/blog @Stephen

    I became a solopreneur in Sept, when my seasonal job ended. I thought I would have some “cushion” to ramp up the biz over the winter, but my lovely bride was laid off a week later. It was time to “go big or go hungry”!
    One thing that we did have going for us was that our lease was up on the house we were renting, so we didn’t renew. Put our stuff in storage and hit the road. Web-based consulting and marketing is something that you can do from literally anywhere, and I did.

    Not having to pay rent, electric, phone and cable bills saved us a ton of money and enabled us to have a 4-month “vacation” while the lovely bride looked for a new job. Now we are in New Hampshire, she is working again, and life is good!

    • http://www.cffatboy.com/ Jesse Petersen

      That is such an awesome way to start out! Talk about real motivation, eh?

      It has crossed our mind to move to the cheapest po-dunk town with broadband Internet and keep up my current work, but that would probably put the nearest decent healthcare at least 2 hours away. 🙂 I also hear Italy is beautiful AND I’m a big fan of their food. j/k, no international moves planned, but a long road trip after I “bring home” my wife from her job isn’t going to be out of the question.

  • http://stephenpsmith.com/blog @Stephen

    I became a solopreneur in Sept, when my seasonal job ended. I thought I would have some “cushion” to ramp up the biz over the winter, but my lovely bride was laid off a week later. It was time to “go big or go hungry”!
    One thing that we did have going for us was that our lease was up on the house we were renting, so we didn’t renew. Put our stuff in storage and hit the road. Web-based consulting and marketing is something that you can do from literally anywhere, and I did.

    Not having to pay rent, electric, phone and cable bills saved us a ton of money and enabled us to have a 4-month “vacation” while the lovely bride looked for a new job. Now we are in New Hampshire, she is working again, and life is good!

    • http://www.perfectlypetersen.com Jesse Petersen

      That is such an awesome way to start out! Talk about real motivation, eh?

      It has crossed our mind to move to the cheapest po-dunk town with broadband Internet and keep up my current work, but that would probably put the nearest decent healthcare at least 2 hours away. 🙂 I also hear Italy is beautiful AND I’m a big fan of their food. j/k, no international moves planned, but a long road trip after I “bring home” my wife from her job isn’t going to be out of the question.

  • http://www.jonathanwold.com Jonathan Wold

    Found your post on Twitter and it caught my eye. I’m an entrepreneur myself, married for a year next month, and feeling the joys and fears of being in business. It is exciting, though! I do a lot of WordPress consulting on the side and that’s been going very well – I enjoy it a lot and have learned even more from it.

    I enjoyed your post and your experience echoed strongly with my own. Keep up the great work : )!

    Jonathan Wold

    • http://www.cffatboy.com/ Jesse Petersen

      Congratz on the business and upcoming anniversary.

  • http://www.jonathanwold.com Jonathan Wold

    Found your post on Twitter and it caught my eye. I’m an entrepreneur myself, married for a year next month, and feeling the joys and fears of being in business. It is exciting, though! I do a lot of WordPress consulting on the side and that’s been going very well – I enjoy it a lot and have learned even more from it.

    I enjoyed your post and your experience echoed strongly with my own. Keep up the great work : )!

    Jonathan Wold

    • http://www.perfectlypetersen.com Jesse Petersen

      Congratz on the business and upcoming anniversary.

  • http://twitter.com/jpetersen/statuses/1783649084 jpetersen (Jesse Petersen)

    My first 100 days as a small business owner: behind the scenes – http://is.gd/zsD3

  • http://twitter.com/hdbbstephen/statuses/1783748579 hdbbstephen (Stephen Smith)

    RT @jpetersen: My first 100 days as a small business owner: behind the scenes – http://is.gd/zsD3

  • http://www.yolospat.com Jen

    I’m extremely proud of you. You are doing what I hope to be doing someday, which means you are one of my inspirations. I’m sure you had someone you looked up to which made you start your venture and that’s what I’m doing. I’ll see you have bumps in the road and I’ll see you soaring high the next minute which makes it even more definite in my mind that I can do this too. Someday. Anyway, proud of you.

  • http://www.yolospat.com Jen

    I’m extremely proud of you. You are doing what I hope to be doing someday, which means you are one of my inspirations. I’m sure you had someone you looked up to which made you start your venture and that’s what I’m doing. I’ll see you have bumps in the road and I’ll see you soaring high the next minute which makes it even more definite in my mind that I can do this too. Someday. Anyway, proud of you.

  • http://www.cffatboy.com/ Jesse Petersen

    @Jen:
    Aww, shucks. Thanks. Yes, I had someone I had inspire me to do this three years ago. He is a stay at home dad who preached about being an expert rather than just a freelancer. It just took this long to get my skills to the point where I could confidently (and without fear of legal issues) use that term. 🙂 I’ll be here as a resource if you ever need tips or advice when you’re ready to take action toward taking the plunge.

  • http://www.perfectlypetersen.com Jesse Petersen

    @Jen:

    Aww, shucks. Thanks. Yes, I had someone I had inspire me to do this three years ago. He is a stay at home dad who preached about being an expert rather than just a freelancer. It just took this long to get my skills to the point where I could confidently (and without fear of legal issues) use that term. 🙂 I’ll be here as a resource if you ever need tips or advice when you’re ready to take action toward taking the plunge.