We promised we’d share more on what prompted our move back west (other than being closer to family), and the time has finally come for us to spill the beans. As of June of this year, we dove headfirst into the wide, wild, and unchartered world of self-employment. To be clear, this wasn’t a quick, rash, sudden, or spontaneous decision. We’ve been talking about this almost daily for years, ever since Sally was just a few months old, actually. But we hit a crossroads while living in New York that helped us make the leap. Johnny chose to stop the work he was doing out there, which gave us two decisions: find a new, full-time gig with a new company or finally give full-time self-employment a go. It really wasn’t much of a decision since we’d been waiting for this opportunity for so long, so self-employment it was.
We took a look at the money we’d saved up for a someday downpayment on a home and turned it into our “self-employment runway” fund. We budgeted out two scenarios: one where we broke our contract in NYC and moved back west and another where we stayed in NYC until November and then moved west. Luckily, the first scenario worked out, which saved us several thousand dollars.
I’m not gonna lie, we had some stressful weeks after making our big decision to call it quits on working for the man. Johnny immediately ramped up his freelance work and left our tiny apartment each day to go work at a nearby Whole Foods, which had free wi-fi and a makeshift workspace in its dining area. It wasn’t ideal, but he did it, day in and day out. Meanwhile, I took care of our newborn and two-year-old and hounded the realtor in charge of selling our contract. This meant showing the apartment to interested renters when she was unavailable, keeping our space clean every.single.day., and leaving with the girls and walking around our neighborhood anytime someone came to look at our place.
It was a hassle, but a very necessary one in order to maximize the chances of selling our contract. When we found out someone had started the process of signing a lease on our place, we were overjoyed. But that meant planning our own move west — finding a house to rent in Utah, packing up all of our belongings, and moving ourselves over 2,000 miles. In short, it was a super stressful couple of months. And none of that takes into account the stress of becoming self-employed, which invokes a whole other roller coaster of emotions. So let’s dive into some of the dirty details of that…
“Self-employment” is such a vague term that can mean any number of things. And for us, it means a few different things. To keep it simple, I’ve told family and friends that Johnny’s taking a year off to try his own thing. And that’s true. We’ve given ourselves a year to make this work (and in just a moment I’ll define what “making it work” means to us). But first, here’s what “trying our own thing” actually looks like on paper.
Currently, the bulk of our self-employment income is coming in the form of Johnny consulting with both old and new clients. He’s able to do it on a part-time basis and still have time for our other side gigs.
We make a steady side-income from OFB in the form of freelance writing and money generated from our site. We have plans to do more to expand the business aspect of OFB, but most of those ideas are still waiting in the wings until we have a bit more capacity than we have now.
We also have a side business that’s been in the works for the past few months and that we’ll be starting in the coming weeks. It’s completely unrelated to anything we’ve tried in the past, but we’re excited to give it a go and share more soon.
Moving forward these next few months, we hope to find what works and what doesn’t and focus all our energy on what does. As I mentioned, we’ve given ourselves a year to figure it out. By that point, we’d like to have a reliable revenue stream that we can depend on to cover all of our expenses. So far, we’ve been able to do that already, but not in a way that’s as stable as we’d like.
We’re under no impression that this will be an easy or quick process. We’ve both had stress-filled moments when we’ve wanted to throw in the towel and go back to a more traditional way of making money. And a year from now, we may decide a traditional job is what we’d prefer Johnny to go back to doing. But self-employment is something we’ve wanted to try for a while, and we’d be kicking ourselves if we didn’t give it all we’ve got at least once.
So if you’re ever wondering what we’re up to when we’re not writing new posts, this is it. The next year is going to be filled with long hours and other sacrifices of our time (and sanity), but we hope it will all be worth it. It’s already proving to be challenging with two kids in tow, so we’re weighing our options on getting some help with them during the day, at least for the next few months. We’ll keep you updated on how it’s going as soon as we know how it’s going :). Wish us luck. If you have any thoughts, questions, or high fives, send ’em our way via the comments below!