One Year of Business – A Year in Review

One year ago seems like forever and yesterday at the same time. Last year, the Super Bowl was on January 31st. The next day started with work as normal until 10:45am. No longer with a job position and a backlog of freelance work, I opened the doors to Petersen Media Group on Feb 2nd, 2009 – Groundhog Day.

Within the first month, I had a major publishing house on my list of clients, ported a British non-profit’s 1,600 page website to WordPress, and reconnected with nearly every one of my SOBCon connections for work or referrals. It was quite a February, that is for sure. I was getting 2-4 hours of sleep per night and my health deteriorated. It was time for drastic measures. Sleeping pills and intravenous antibiotics got me back into health and I changed my work style.

I finally had my dream of dream jobs. First was to work from home, which I’d been doing for 5 months. Second was to work from home for MYSELF. What the heck was I thinking letting myself go down like that? It was time to act like an entrepreneur and take care of both my clients and myself, because if I didn’t take care of myself, my clients were going to get neglected.

So, in one year, Petersen Media Group, LLC has:

  • generated 219 invoices for 74 clients
  • taken 2 weeks of vacation to re-charge the creative batteries
  • earned (or is earning) 31 credit hours to finish a B.A. degree

The company site(s) are in re-design for some new focus and products, so stay tuned for that. With graduation on Mother’s Day weekend, expect some grand news in the first part of May. Thanks for your support for our first year and I look forward to serving you more and more each year.

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.