Is Life Happening?

It has been some time since I wrote anything here, and I feel like I owe the place a normal post. So I’ll try and be normal.

Life is frantic at the moment, in spite of my best efforts. I feel like I have developed a work and not-work balance that is desperately against me as an individual, but as an individual that is involved in lots of other people’s lives and businesses, is relatively profitable. And yet, what amazes me is that I think I have actually reduced the amount of hours I’ve been working.

In line with my previous posts, I have been trying to do other things outside of work hours, more sociable. I would say in terms of doing things in real life that involve other people, that bit hasn’t actually happened at all. But it has, to some extent, involved people. People that I wouldn’t normally have been talking to, and one of whom has actually turned into something of a long distance friend. So broadly, despite its very tangible negatives to my mental health at times, it has brought something different into my life.

Work meanwhile continues. My IT business is now disgustingly busy, so much so that I am once again thinking about what I can do to tame it. Do I increase the prices and get rid of the customers I don’t want? Or do I have the guts to try again and employ someone? I have been thinking about recruiting an apprentice, but that means I must commit to my IT business for at least another year, something I wasn’t keen on doing. But it is so busy, and the prospects remain good, and I am still in need of earning this money, that I think I should do it…

The other business I am part of is going through something of a rut, but you wouldn’t think it. It is at the mercy of the political masters, and, unfortunately, they are in the midst of electoral rubbish at the moment. It is also the end of a financial year, and I think that inevitably has meant all of the money has already been spent.

But it’s still all systems go. We are in such an intriguing scenario at the moment, so keen are we to take advantage of new opportunities, that we are considering moving on to our property development ideas, and installing a manager into the company so that it can carry on moving along without our day-to-day to involvement. This has coincided with a friend and former colleague becoming available to work for us. It could all connect quite well. But it is a risk. We are ready to take it, and introducing this person to the office has already improved the office dynamic and made it feel a really professional place to work. I like feeling like I’m part of something bigger than me. It is a world apart from my one-man-band IT business…

So that is two risks. One risk for my business, and one risk for the business I am part of, and both of it coming from having to employ someone. Employing people is weird. Keeping them busy and occupied and earning you money is something I haven’t quite worked out yet.

Then there is the risk of the property business. Which is starting, hopefully soon, with the purchase of some land 80 miles south west of me. Land. Not a building. Because we are planning on building it ourselves. We must be mad. But we sense a longer term vision. I sense the opportunity to get properly on the housing ladder by building up a property portfolio. It all sounds very unlikely, and highly adventurous. And super risky.

2015 has become the year of the risk for me. Impending mid-life 30 crisis perhaps?

108 days until 30

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Bumping Along

It says a lot that I haven’t had to write much about business in quite a while. I remember writing a good several months ago that, since business was developing nicely, I would no longer write about it, because I felt like I was just saying the same thing over and over again.

But perhaps now I can break that vow. The past few weeks have been… disappointing at best. I sort of hinted at it last time, when I was writing about a leafletting anecdote, but business has been poor.

Of course, poor is a relative term. In comparison to when I first started and ran this business back in my home city, it’s still a success. Back then it really was a disaster. Lucky if I got one job a week. Now one job a week would be a tragedy: largely because success requires a much higher amount of work, and also because of the far more immediate pressures I have in terms of bills to pay.

It’s hard to pin it down. And that makes it even more frustrating. At least in the past when business was poor I could make up an excuse. Back home it was because I did almost no promotional work. Here when it was quiet it was because I hadn’t done enough to establish myself.

But now? I have had hundreds of customers. Word of mouth generation is excellent. My name is out there. My site ranks well in Google. I have an advert in a shop window on a high street. I have an advert in a local newspaper. How could it all suddenly dry up?

So you start thinking more obscure. Maybe all that good weather lately has made people stop using their computers?! Maybe they’re all out gardening. Or perhaps the anti-virus program makers are winning the war at the moment…

It does make me think how sustainable this can be in the long run though. When people are increasingly moving onto platforms that are non-fixable. Smartphones can’t be fixed in any meaningful or cheap way. Laptops are designed to fail, and when they do they go pop and cost a small fortune to fix, so much so that you might as well put that towards a new one.

And then there’s the other side of the coin. The better I do my job, in terms of providing people with the tools and tuition to help themselves, the less they need me. I suppose it’s true in any service industry, though it is counteracted if the market is wide enough to bring in enough customers through wear-and-tear, entropy faults…

So – a little depressing right now. Maybe it’ll all go away, and I’ll be happy again.

But still:  I can’t do this forever. I want to do so much more…

Where Did The Year Go?

It’s hard for me to look back on this year. 2009 has turned out to be a year of real change for me. Yet nothing has really changed all that much.

For instance, right now I’m writing this post while sitting in my parents’ house. All this in spite of the fact that I allegedly moved out of the parental home in October. I think, with hindsight, this was a bad move. So far the transition to living away and trying to make a living of my own has been a total failure.

Hence why I’m here. Indeed, the main reason why I’m back in the old home right now is that I’ve had loads of work to do this week. Work that has paid me some cash and will definitely see me through Christmas. I could have had a lot more if I’d stayed here, I’m sure.

But on the other hand, I had to go. I needed change. I needed a break. I just wish I hadn’t move somewhere so far away and so inaccessible.

This has been the biggest change this year. My life is now on its head. Split across a couple of hundred miles. Travelling all the bloody time.

And yet, I don’t really know why the year has gone so quickly. In truth, it has been a year of inactivity. With so much time to spare, and so little actually done in it, I should have been bored out of my mind, sitting here watching the clock.

There has been a bit of that, but broadly speaking time has flown by. It has been frustrating and immensely depressing, but it hasn’t mattered. Time has gone.

At the start of the year I knew it would be important. I remember saying as much to my fellow New Year revellers. But I don’t think I’ll truly know the significance of this year until I can look back on it in a few years time. Whether this was a false start, and a waste of money. Or whether it was the stepping stone to turning myself into the entrepreneur that right now exists in my dreams only.

I keep setting myself deadlines at which I need to have achieved X. They come and go, without me achieving anything. But I still don’t feel brave enough to scrap the current gamble and accept I really ought to live an ordinary life like other people, rather than sitting, waiting for customers.

It depresses me too much. That alone should make me reconsider. I once thought I was a fan of change, exciting, different things happening each day. But I also long for a bit of stability and predictability. And more predictability than being able to confidently predict that today would, yet again, be a lost day.

There’s something seriously wrong with me. I have no motivation any more. I am filled with depressing thoughts constantly. A feeling of total inadequacy.

And I don’t want to do anything about it.

2009 has been a great let down. Maybe it was for the best that it’s gone so quickly.

Now all that’s left is to hope that I’m not too down over Christmas. That would be extremely difficult for me.