Year Five

Well, hey look what we have here! It’s the Fourth of July — a day we Americans celebrate our independence from imperial rule and revel in our continued journey towards the aspirational goals of liberty and justice for all.

I find it more than convenient that this day also marks my fifth anniversary working as an independent contractor. The significance of July 4th is great enough on its own, but it feels oh so much sweeter to me because of the freedom I’ve been so lucky to have running my own business. Seriously, it’s the best gig I’ve ever had and now the longest one at that.

Patting my own back is not something I like to do. I don’t say that to feign humbleness. It’s literally something I’m incapable of doing. At the same time, I’m trying to give myself a silent internal high five. Five years of finding and keeping clients, working on projects that push and challenge me to be my best, and finding consistency and sustainability as a sole proprietor feels like something to be proud of and I’m doing my gosh darned best to bask in it.

I remember my first day on the job really well. There’s a room in our building called the clubhouse. I pulled out a chair and sat nervously behind my laptop before typing my first lines of code for a client project. I also proceeded to build this very website — something that admittedly has not been updated since that first year but that I continue to love for all it’s warts and imperfections. This site still feels like me though it does deserve some love after sitting this long.

A lot has happened since that first day on the job. I’m still trying to get along with the boss, but here are some interesting numbers I dug up:

  • 8,081: The number of hours I’ve clocked. That’s an average of 31 hours per week. That’s not taking vacation, sick time or other administrative things into account, so I consider that to be not only good, but maybe even on the higher side of where it should be. By the way, thanks to Harvest for helping me keep a record of this since the beginning. I signed up for it on that first day and I’ve been tracking time ever since.
  • 228: The number of blog posts I’ve written between here and CSS-Tricks. I would love to commit more time writing for this site but I honestly find it very hard to decide whether to post something here or to CSS-Tricks when an idea comes up. I should probably make time and space for both but, again, I find it tough to balance because I tend to dedicate ample time to family. Excuses, excuses.
  • 19: The number of clients I’ve gotten to work with so far. I can’t recall ever having a bad client, though I’ve heard plenty of stories from other freelancers. I can’t say that every project has been successful but I can say that they have all yielded rewards and established great partnerships. I know many people say the same thing, but I truly believe I have the best clients and it’s because of them that I have this job. My sincere thanks to all of them, including Modern Tribe, CSS-Tricks and The Foursquare Church as my longest running clients. Y’all make make it worth waking up in the morning and I’m stoked I get to work with such smart folks who keep me on top of my game.
  • 2: The number of kids I have. Harper was just over a year old when I started and now is a feisty five years old, coming up on six. Now we have Alice, clocking in at 21 months, and our family of four feels complete. Fatherhood has taught me more about life (and myself) than anything else I’ve ever done and is an ongoing journey all its own.

Trying to condense five years worth of work, memories and accomplishments into a single blog post is impossible. Or at least unreadable. Regardless, this is truly the best job in the world and I still pinch myself most mornings because it all seems too good to be true. Here’s to the next five!

✏️ Handwritten by Geoff Graham on July 4, 2018

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