Blog > Working in Change

I started my professional career eight years ago. My first decision was the selection of the CMS we would use. This ended up being the foundation for dozens of client websites. At the time, Drupal seemed overly complicated and Wordpress didn’t have the flexibility we were looking for. Joomla! ended up splitting the difference nicely. This decision lasted for about three years and about 40-50 websites. As we evaluated Joomla! 2, we realized that it wasn’t really scratching the itch that we had identified: allowing users to easily work with customized content entry pages and giving us the tools to manipulate and display that content. Drupal’s amazing custom content types won me over. A simple demonstration website later, and we were racing up the Drupal learning curve.

Drupal Learning Curve

Three years ago I made my next big change. I quit my job and started freelancing. Work started slow, but built up over time. I still did a lot of Drupal but I also started working with Rails and Node.js. This work was always interesting. I used to have a stack of Word files and a PSD handed to me and I needed to make it come alive. Now I got to interact with clients to figure out what they needed and what their customers needed. For them to be successful they needed me to innovate and solve their problems. Before this I was being paid to do work; now I’m being paid to create! Once you get in the habit of creating, it’s hard to do anything else. It’s also hard to look at the world and not see a million things that needed to be better.

Measuring your business’s finances is hard. Where am I at for income and expenses? How much of my savings are mine, and how much is the government’s? What am I on track to make this year? Am I saving enough? Have I hit my goals? I built Bottom Line for the iPhone to answer these questions. I use this app everyday to get a fast answer to the questions above. Does it do double entry book keeping? Absolutely not, you are welcome! As my first product, I am so excited by the prospect of what this looks like in the future. Expanding the types of work I can do to include iOS apps really completes the circle. If someone is looking to create a website, have a public or private API, and a native iOS application I can do the work they need but also, give them advice that considers every step and every piece of the entire picture.

My wife and sons were at a friends house and Zackary asked where the husband was. Zackary was told that he was out at work, which was confusing for him. Zackary asked “why does he have to go out to work, he has a basement”. I’m constantly reminded how fortunate I am to work from home in my basement office. There are so many moments that I’ve been able to catch of the boys’ lives that would have been impossible any other way. I cannot imagine what it would take for me to desire going back to a non-remote job.

After freelancing for three years, I can tell you what I miss: I miss the comradery of co-workers; I miss the fresh eye balls and the new perspectives; I occasionally miss the dedicate space, with no children running and screaming; I miss the shared experiences and skills. It’s days like today, where I am looking at the schedule for the coming months and realize it’s time to start hustling, that I especially miss someone who loves sales. I am working on these skills, but I don’t expect to grow love.

Fortunately, I might not need to. Toptal helps good businesses get the contract or full-time help they need. They help contractors like me connect with these high value, motivated businesses. I’ve begun the application process and look forward to seeing how we can work together to do awesome work.

To work in technology is to work in change. I love seeing the new and interesting and am so motivated by the impact we can have on this world, as a single person working from their basement, but especially as a network of professionals.

I’m excited for what comes next. I’m excited for where my business is going and what that is going to mean for my family. I cannot wait to see what big problems I am going to help solve and the impact that is going to make in people’s lives.