Peter Flaschner said on November 01, 2006

Jon - my thoughts are with you and your family. I really can't imagine what you must all be feeling.

Prashant said on November 01, 2006

I'm sorry to hear that the adoption didn't work out, after all that effort you put to adopt a child you really must be frustrated!

I'm pretty sure in the future things will work out better for you :)

Damian Karlson said on November 01, 2006

Jon --

I'm sorry to hear about the adoption. Your time will come though. Stay strong, pray (or continue doing so) and be patient. It'll all be worth it. I know of a couple that is working on an adoption as well -- it has been very hard for them to be patient, but they will be SO happy when it finally happens.

My question is this -- how did you manage the transition from working a traditional job to freelance? My freelance work provides about 50% of the income that I currently receive from a full-time job. It takes almost all that I have to do that much, what with raising two boys, spending time with my wife, time off, sleep, etc. I know that if I transition to a freelance only thing, I could do fairly well. How did you balance the risk? What sort of things should I think about before taking the plunge? (If there's a post I missed that describes your thought process in-depth, please point me to it.)

Chris Ellingsworth said on November 01, 2006


Thanks for the post and for sharing the reality of your life. I definitely value and appreciate your honesty! I've been considering going from a stable job to freelancing and it's good to hear about the other side.

I enjoy the work that you produce and think it's excellent quality.

I hope that this turn of events works out for the best in your life!

Jonathan Snook said on November 01, 2006

Thanks everybody for your support. It means a lot.

Miha: The thought has crossed my mind. I've made some steps towards it by incorporating the business but I've always thought that the business would grow out of building my personal projects and not from the overflow from the freelance work. While I suspect I could pull off running my own web dev shop, I think it would require going after a different market. I peg some of my freelance success can be put on the fact that some people 'root for the underdog'. In other words, they are more willing to work with me because I'm freelance as opposed to a 'web shop'.

Damian: deciding to take the plunge was an interesting decision. Having done freelance work on the side for a few years, the thought of going full-time had always crossed my mind. I was just never sure that I'd be able to keep up the workload. I'm glad I didn't go into freelance sooner for a couple reasons. 1) I think I would have undervalued myself. In fact, one of the first mistakes I made in January was doing just that. 2) Having waited, I built up a larger network of contacts from which to get work from. What ultimately pushed me into freelance was an anticipated 3 month project right off the bat. I used that as my springboard. The work requests have been pouring in since.

Going freelance is a tough decision and the two ultimate factors that convinced me (and more importantly, my wife) were that 1) I had work already lined up and 2) If I didn't have work, I could find myself back in a new job quickly.

Eric said on November 01, 2006

Thank you for sharing Jon.

Keith said on November 01, 2006

Really sorry to hear about the baby. I'm sure that's got to be quite a blow.

I've never really freelanced on my own. I've got lots of "side jobs" while holding down a full time job and I don't think it's near the same thing.

I was just thinking about freelancing the other day and how hard it must be. I thought about it long and hard and decided to partner up and start a company. I'm really glad I did and the main reason is that you have people who can cover for you and have your back when you need to focus on yourself, or family or whatever you need to.

I mean, I get stressed as it is with lawyers and accounting and deadlines and all that and I could only imagine what it would be like if I had to deal with it all on my own.

I guess what I'm saying is that you should be very proud that you've done so well -- it's not easy, that's clear.

Having said that, if you ever start thinking of something full time, gimme a call! ;0)

Brent O'Connor said on November 01, 2006

Sorry to hear about the baby. Hang in there, I'm sure there is a light at the end of the tunnel somewhere.

Michael Montgomery said on November 01, 2006

Jon - As an adoptive father, I know the feeling.
Don't know what else to say except that I'll pray for you and your family.

Nathan Smith said on November 01, 2006

Jonathan: Man, that would be a punch to the gut. I am sorry it didn't work out, but on the flip-side, at least you will have more time to catch up on work.

Kenny Saunders said on November 01, 2006

I understand the frustration. I'm currently going through an adoption, but not quite the same circumstances. I'm adoption my wife's son from before we were married. He's lived with me for the past 2 years, but all of the sudden the biological grandmother wants to get involved just to start some beef.

This whole process is frustrating no matter which side you are on. I'm sure things will work out great though, keep up the good work, I enjoy reading your blog, and occasionally commenting....

Jeff L said on November 01, 2006

very sorry to hear the adoption didn't work out....that doesn't seem fair that she can change her mind at the last minute.

David said on November 02, 2006

As many have said, sad to hear about the adoption, that happen to one of my former coworkers as well.

I made the plunge into full time freelance about a year ago, forcealby because of Katrina(hurricane, New Orleans) I was weaning myself from other jobs, had quit my full time for a part time and then was going to cost the part time job into full time. Then the hurricane hit and I lost the part time job. I don't know, you have to really be head strong to manage freelance in a way that doesn't suck up all your time and allow you to work on your own projects. I have managed to hang on to a couple clients (literally 2) that keep my bills paid. and i get referals from those guys and others.

Dont get me wrong its been hard at times, especially supporting a family of 4, now 5 (had a baby girl yesterday making 3 kids my wife and myself) but the experience has been great. i work on my own projects in my down time and my wife has recently started teaching so now i don't have as much of a burden of HAVING to get jobs.

My suggestion to anyone thinking of freelancing is layout your business plan and plan of action before hand as not doing to will greatly affect how your road goes. and when possible i would highly recommend becoming the design arm to a PR/marketing company, and get a long term contract signed. i have a working relationship with one business that they market and i design and they are the lion share of my business.

Only issue with that is if they dry up, i will need to get out there, but again with my wife working now, the pressure to succed or die isnt there and I can focus on running the business for the enjoyment of running the business and not tring to figure out if I will have the mortgage next month. i dont think I will ever go back to a 9 to 5 this is liberalting to me being my own boss, I think that is what I have always wanted anyway, not to be undersomeones thumb, having been under thumbs was a huge expeience in gaining knowledge of the entire design and really company proecss, and now its time at 10 years old to 'handle my business'

Good luck Snook

Chris said on November 02, 2006

Really sorry to hear about the baby fiasco, Jonathan. And the freelance problem sounds familiar. Like Miha I work full-time for a company but do freelance work on the side. Sometimes I wish I wasn't being pulled in so many directions.

My thoughts are with you and your family.

milo said on November 02, 2006

Sorry to hear the bad news, thank you for your help, my prayers ar with you, Jonathan.

Matthias Willerich said on November 02, 2006

that's one personal post! As I went freelance-only last month, coming from the full-time dayjob + freelance on the side scenario, I thought this is going to be an interesting read.
And it sure was. I'm very sorry about what happened, and you surely have my thoughts and respect for having to deal with the new new situation and the work as well.

Matthew Anderson said on November 02, 2006

I'm with Keith, dude! I always have a ton of side projects, but I've never gone freelance full time. Your fortitude is definitely impressive. Sorry to hear about the adoption not going through. That's one big rug to have pulled out from underneath you.

Keep your chin up. Heres to a complimentary optimistic post shortly hereafter ;)

Johan said on November 03, 2006

Maybe you should try to run your own design firm like a partnership. Just throwing ideas here. Eg you and Dave Shea! Just kidding!

Mike Waller said on November 04, 2006

My stomach just dropped. I really feel for your situation with the adoption. Do yourself a favor, and make sure you carve out some of your time to 'grieve' your loss of sorts. There's alot of emotion behind that, and you and your wife need to make sure you get everything out.

As for the freelancing, I know how you feel... and imagine there's a majority percentage of folks in the freelance world who feel the same way you do. Its the age old problem of someone who's really strong at doing the work trying to start a business around it. Unfortunately, not everyone who is skilled in a particular field is also talented at managing & running a business. I highly suggest reading through the book "The E-Myth Revisited". Recognize your technician side, and work on your manager side if you'd like to continue doing what you're doing. With some time and planning, you can make a freelance world feel just as stable as a day job.

Carolyn Wood said on November 04, 2006

I was just catching up on stuff in my newsreader (that's a says I have 801 unread articles) and saw your reboot. You just nail it every time.

But, I was stunned by your news. My heart really goes out to you and your wife. It must be very difficult. I remember reading the wonderful description of your family that you put online for prospective birth mothers, and I believe there will be another young woman who will just know that your family is the right one to raise her baby. But, still, this is quite a loss and you must just feel exhausted. I wish you many blessings in the future.

Johan said on November 05, 2006

For starting out a design business I am reviewing this book:
- Talent Is Not Enough: Business Secrets For Designers (VOICES)
- More info
It is a perfect guide for anyone wanting to start a design business. The marketing chapter is amazingly well written, how to charge your clients, working freelance etcetera.

Keukens said on November 13, 2006

I'm working as a freelancer for about one and a have year now and my findings are that I'm not going to earn the amount of money I would like an find reasonably, by just performing a one man show. The solution to this point is employment, but this will also take a some time before running smoothly and so finally be saving you time and money

Adrian said on November 13, 2006

Thank you for sharing. This is an eye-opening read that is good info to hear before going full-time freelance.

Mathew Browne said on August 13, 2007

This is must-read for anyone considering freelancing full-time, be it IT/webby stuff or otherwise. It can feel absolutely awesome being your own boss but also it can be quite disheartening if you're having a slow work week (which coincides with a stack of bills piling up!).

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Sorry, comments are closed for this post. If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to send them to me directly.