It's funny how your perceptions of little things change over time, particularly when you're self employed. I write this to you from my iMac, which is completely offline. Once completed I will copy and paste this text into a calendar entry, sync calendars with my iPhone, copy and paste the text out of the calendar into the WordPress app, then finally hit the publish button. So quite frankly if you're reading this right now then it's through sheer determination on my part more than anything else.
When you're at school or work, snow days are fun. They're more than fun, they're one of the most hotly anticipated events of the year. For most people it means an unexpected day of tomfoolery, whilst still being paid as if you were at the office. The joy which you feel when taking in the view of the gentle white blanket outside your bedroom window for the first time in the morning is unsurpassed.
As an employer or someone who is self-employed, it isn't quite the same. If working from a home office then you have no reason not to go to work and your deadlines aren't going anywhere either. Better than that, if you have staff on your payroll then you're losing money hand over fist while nothing is getting done. Better still, if you work from home and your internet goes offline during a snow day then the tech support staff aren't at work. So you're really screwed. That's what happened to me today.
Now, instead of the joy and elation that comes with the prospect of a day off whilst still being paid, I'm filled with fear and anxiety as a result of all the projects I'm responsible for that just got screwed.
Maybe once you're better established in business and have a large contingency to fall back on these worries diminish somewhat and some of the fun comes back. I'll have to let you know when that happens.
I think the mindset that comes with self-employment is something that I hadn't fully considered or appreciated before I made the jump. When you're at school, your only real responsibility is homework. Then you leave school and maybe you go to university, where you get a new set of responsibilities - things which are expected of you and things which you have to do. When you leave university and get a job, possibly living in a non-shared house for the first time, you get a new set of responsibilities yet again - lots of bills, lots of work, lots of schedules to manage. Self employment is yet another new set, but it's the biggest jump of all. Suddenly you don't just have your own bills, schedules and finances to worry about. You have all those things to worry about for the business too. Then you have clients who are depending on you, HMRC breathing down your neck for taxes (constantly), and all of it is completely and utterly down to you.
Trust me when I say there aren't enough hours in the day. It's no wonder I feel like an 80 year old in a 23 year old's body.
In The Mean Time
It's not all doom and gloom. I'm working on more exciting projects at the moment than ever before - and that makes me happy. Today (and possibly tomorrow and the next day) I'm just going to have to do as much of that offline as I can. Over at @radiiate we've just launched http://onepercentproject.org - an extremely worthy charity which we created to fund computers in classrooms for children in South Africa. I'd absolutely love it if you'd take a couple of minutes to check out the site and consider making a small donation.
Of course @adii and I are also writing our book, which I'm pleased (and slightly nervous?) to say is almost finished. We successfully met our 75% manuscript submission deadline last week, and the 100% mark is coming up in exactly two weeks time. After that it goes through a (seriously scary) number of editors and then it comes back to us for review. We have a month to make final changes and then in mid-January we submit the final draft to the publisher. A few final checks take place, then it finally goes to print.
For anyone interested, co-authoring a non-fiction book is a fairly surreal experience. At first it feels like you're just writing a whole bunch of really long blog posts... Only in the last few days have Adii and I realised the the bulk of the chapters are complete now and they're already flowing together very nicely. We've been doing a few behind the scenes author diary videos along the way covering this sort of stuff in more detail which we'll put online at some point. Oh, and luckily for you, despite not being online I've memorised the Amazon pre-order link to the book! http://amzn.to/DesigningEmotion (yeah ok, wasn't that hard to remember).
Don't forget that if you pre-order now, you don't pay anything until it's delivered in May next year - and it massively helps us out too.
And so I bid you farewell, enjoy your snow day. To my fellow freelancers and business owners who share my troubles: I feel your pain.