Working Lifestyle First 🪓

There are many paths to self-employment, and I'm practicing what some call a "lifestyle-first" approach. That means starting with my ideal lifestyle and working backwards to find work that it will support it.

So over the past ~2 months, I've pursued my preferred schedule. I wake up around seven and don't rush to get online. In the morning, I do a few hours of billable work and then focus on my own projects. If I'm sleepy after lunch or not working productively, I take a break or nap and don't feel bad about it. Last month I visited family and didn't worry about getting 8 hours in, choosing instead to be present and focus on quality time together.

That said, I'm still in the process of working backwards to find work that's a good fit. My lifestyle is pretty ideal right now, but the question is if it's financially sustainable. I think the answer right now is: no. I've got some billable work, but it's not enough to cover all expenses without using the savings I've set aside for this time. My hope is to get to breakeven while trading as little time for money as possible.

On that note, I've been speaking more often with recruiters. The market is hot right now, but I haven't had as much luck with the arrangement I'm shooting for (15-20 hours/week). It seems most companies are looking to hire full-time, salaried employees. It's been a bit more difficult than I expected, but I'm still optimistic and hope to have something lined up by the next time I write to you. I've considered these first two months something of a sabbatical, but I'm looking to get more irons in the fire now.

Here are my other major updates from the past few weeks:

Three Podcast Interviews

I was thrilled to start talking to folks on the podcast and ended up booking three interviews in the same week.

The podcast has been a great "bet" so far, and the conversations have been educational and fun. Look out for upcoming episodes with Pete Codes (comes out tomorrow), Jake Dohm and Namanh Kapur.

New Personal Finance App

I was in the privileged position the past few years of not having to be too strict with budgeting. I logged in to our personal finance software (Mint) every two weeks to make sure that no charges looked fraudulent. As long as we were meeting saving and investing goals, I wasn't too concerned with the rest.

Since I quit my job, I've needed a firmer handle on expenses and thus a new way to track our money. Frankly, Mint was really annoying and there was a ton of friction when using it, but I put up with it because I was too lazy to switch. Thankfully I've found the silver bullet: Tiller.

Tiller puts all of your expenses into an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet, and allows for much better ease of use and customization. Their starter template has been fine for me so far, and it's made a world of difference to be able to pull up a single link rather than logging in and dealing with all of the inevitable frustration (expenses in wrong category, accounts need to reconnect, nebulous graphs, etc.) that came with Mint.

Two SEO Projects

I'm working on two SEO plays (i.e. new websites) that I'm not ready to share yet, but I think I'll be able to do so next month. Learning SEO is a main focus for me this year (along with web3), and I'm looking forward to taking my own advice by doing the real thing while still working through my course.

Pete's Picks

  1. What I'm Reading: I've been hearing Brandon Sanderson's name everywhere recently, especially after he launched the most successful Kickstarter in history. I've been mostly a nonfiction reader for the past decade, and I think I'm at a point where my book preferences are causing me to read less (along with a high likelihood of getting bored if the story isn't engaging at every turn). I figured some good science fiction might get the reading fire burning again, so I'm starting with the first Mistborn book. So far, so good.
  2. What I'm Watching: The new season of Atlanta. I loved the first two seasons, and have been waiting several years for the third due to pandemic delays. This show is like none other (full of magical realism and social commentary) and gets even tripper as the main characters go to Amsterdam/Europe this season. Highly recommend.

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