Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Journey Begins

Today I made the plunge, and I ended my last day under normal employment, to pursue my career as an independant contractor and eventually to form a startup. My journey from here will hopefully be a good one, though I am sure it will not be without its hiccups. I'll post how things are going, and write about what I learn for anyone else who is thinking of going this route. I need to look into things like taxes and incorporation and all of that, and I'm sure there are other people out there, reading this, who will one day need to know the same things. I'll let you know. Give you a little walkthrough on how things go. Maybe you'll find my journey to be a nice map for yours.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll be reading about your journey with great interest. I gave notice on Monday to begin a similar journey myself (although I won't be leaving for another month). I wish you the best of luck. --David

Anonymous said...

Get a great bookeeper whom you can send receipts to on a weekly basis. Keep up on the paperwork, or it will kill you. And don't forget about Self Employment Tax - adds another 7.5% tax on top of everything.

Be copious about this stuff. Figure out a system. Pretend like you're writing a manual for a chain of franchises - how does the work get done, how often do you bill, who does the billing, how do the records get kept...etc, et al, ie...

And finally (I should write a book), don't ever EVER EVERRRRR get more than $5000 behind in billing with a client. You can still take him to Small Claims court for $5K.

Good luck, but it's only 1% luck. It's more about staying fastidious and aware. People work for themselves because they think they'll be able to do MORE of what they love, but the opposite happens because you're busy running a business.

1) Build your system
a) Income - Outgo
b) Receipt and record storage
c) Quarterly tax $$$ awareness
d) Figure out insurance, etc.
e) Open a business bank acct

2) Meet with a few bookeepers. Try and avoid getting "Quickbooked". That program will break your spirit. Just find a bookeeper who will do it ALL for you. You'll be happier. I promise.

3) Realize that the new career path might destroy your marriage and/or relationships. It's scary trusting clients to pay you in a timely manner, when you have a family who relies on you to bring in the dough, it gets to be hard on the psyche.

I write here about programming, how to program better, things I think are neat and are related to programming. I might write other things at my personal website.

I am happily employed by the excellent Caktus Group, located in beautiful and friendly Carrboro, NC, where I work with Python, Django, and Javascript.

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