Sole Proprietorship

Posted in Design, Development, Web

I swear I’m never going to feel like an adult. I don’t think adulthood exists outside others’ perceptions of you.

Come September 1 I’ll be unemployed. Or, rather, self‐employed. The grant that pays my salary here at the Dana Center has not been renewed. I’ve known for about a month, but I haven’t written about it because I didn’t really know what I ought to say about it.

In a way I’m relieved; though the news was surprising to my conscious mind, deep down I could see that once a couple of our big redesign projects are done there won’t be enough work left to fill a 40‐hour week. I really didn’t know if I would stay at this job for that long; I thought I’d step back after a year or so, ask myself where I was going with my life, and figure out whether I wanted to work somewhere else. Now the decision’s made for me.

I still want a full‐time job. In theory it’s probably easier to get one now that I’ve got work experience, but it’s hard to say. I’m very, very selective when it comes to applying for jobs, eschewing everything that looks too corporate, too boring, too demanding, too unprofessional. (I saw an ad on Craigslist that described a job for designing a very simple website… “only three colors.” As if that had any correlation to the complexity of the job.) If your job listing is typed entirely in capital letters, you’re out of the game. If I see the phrase “search engine optimization,” you’re going on my blacklist. If I have to read a sentence more than once because it’s too infested with corporate‐speak to have clear meaning, I’m hitting the back button and moving on. I want to work for people that “get it,” but “getting it” is a nebulous concept that, like pornography, I know when I see.

In the meantime, in order to earn the luxury of being selective I’m trying to pick up as much freelance web design/development work as I can. I’m currently confirmed for two jobs, one of which I’ve received a down payment for, and that’s exciting. With a little more effort and some luck, I could make more money freelancing than I do here at the Dana Center, even taking into account the added costs of self‐employment (taxes, health insurance, taxes, health insurance, and taxes). But luck would certainly have to be involved.

Yesterday I registered an “Assumed Business Name” with the county clerk’s office (for doing business under a name other than your own) and opened a business checking account. (The name of my business I shall not yet disclose, because I’m all weird like that. Also because the web site is not yet done.) I am no longer simply a man; I am a sole proprietorship, and I demand to be given all the rights and privileges thereto appertaining.

I really wish I’d done all this sooner. If I’d been freelancing since I started my full‐time job I’d likely have enough saved up to give me some flexibility in this transitional period of my career. Assuming I don’t find another full‐time job, though, I’ll be able to devote all my energy to freelancing, and maybe I’ll figure out if it’s actually what I want to do with my life.