Whoosh! How does ten years go by so fast? Scary fast.
A decade ago at this time I was losing interest in my day job, scouring want ads for something new and freelancing on the side. The something new never materialized but the side gigs multiplied. Thus began my adventure as a solo entrepreneur and my Adunate business. Ten years later, I’m still at it and celebrating a monumental anniversary. I am amazed. And very blessed!
So what’s been happening these past ten years? What was Adunate like then compared to now?
Remember Pagemaker? That was me ten years ago. I intentionally lag behind with technology updates but even so, back then my setup was decrepitly prehistoric. For my first 5-6 months, I used our family computer, a laborious Dell with a lunchbox-sized monitor. Before the year’s end, I celebrated self-employment with my first major purchases—an Apple Power Mac G5 with a 20-inch flat cinema display, Adobe Creative Suite 2, and Quickbooks for Mac 2006. These were huge investments for me. Huge!
Back then I had a cordless telephone with caller ID and answering machine, for which I paid extra usage fees each month. I also had a snazzy printer/fax machine. Receiving my first fax was terribly exciting, like, wow, I really am a business! Over the years I may have received ten faxes, at most, and when that cheapo machine broke, I replaced it with a simple desktop printer. Fax? Landline phone? Who clutters their desk with these anymore?
Nowadays I use an iMac with a 27-inch display, together with my old 20-incher because two displays are simply divine. I also use a 13-inch MacBook Pro. Sometimes I add an iPad or my iPhone. Seriously, there are times when I’m coding a responsive website and I surround myself with all of the above. At the same time. Technology is crazy!
My home office hasn’t changed much. To get me started, my wonder-woodworking husband crafted a large, L-shaped desk and built-in bookcases in a room all my own. It’s the dreamiest office ever and ten years later I still love it to pieces. I’ll have to give an online tour one of these days (after I refresh it with a needed coat of paint).
What has changed is where I work every day. Ten years ago the idea of office mobility was just beginning to emerge, but because I only had a desktop computer all my creative work was confined to my home office. As nice as it is, working from home can be isolating, especially if you live in a rural area as I do. Nowadays, I regularly head to Madison or Milwaukee and do a creative work day in highly public places. My office is extended to libraries, coffee shops, on the road…anywhere I can take my laptop. Talk about freedom—I adore this bohemian style of working!
Oh boy, where do I start with this one? Nothing has changed infinitely more in ten years than the way we do business, solely because of what’s developed on the internet. Ten years ago I paid $288 annually for the most minuscule, ineffective Yellow Pages ad. I updated my skills at tech schools and networked at industry events, all of which were no less than 40-miles away and very expensive. Back then I wasn’t on Facebook or LinkedIn. Twitter was a sound birds make. Pinterest wasn’t even a word.
Nowadays I successfully market myself on a variety of social media. From my office. For free. Yes, there’s the cost of time, but since I love this part of my job I don’t really consider it a factor. The online network with whom I’ve connected is invaluable and the accessibility to knowledge is limitless.
We also have a host of online tools that we didn’t have ten years ago. Self-employment has become a work revolution and services like Skype, Evernote, Dropbox and a bounteous more are started every day to make managing a business easier and cheaper.
From Business to Lifestyle
Ten years ago I wanted to work from home. I wanted to create things of value and use my God-given skills to help others. And, of course, I wanted to make some money. I’ve accomplished all these goals.
Interestingly, my bar for success is somewhat different than it was a decade ago. Back then, my 10-year goals were to be making more money than I am now. I dreamed of a clientele with an impressive profile. I even toyed with the idea of becoming an agency with several employees. Now I know that’s not what I want at all.
Here’s why, at 10 years, I consider Adunate successful:
Each day I’m excited to get up and go to work. I have awesome clients who are cherished friends. My work and off-work hours have become harmoniously entwined for a more healthy and self-sufficient lifestyle, including regular exercise and raising organic food. Best of all, the flexibility of self-employment allows me to take a day off with my husband, have lunch with my kids, or babysit my granddaughter. I say, it can’t get better than this.
God has blessed me greatly with undeserved grace!