I’ve been working fulltime for startups for almost 6 years, never taking more than a week off. After almost 4 years at IMVU I vowed to take a month off between jobs, and then I didn’t take a day off between IMVU and Canvas (oops). Encouraged by my girlfriend Amanda Wixted’s success in iOS contracting, I finally took the plunge after I left Canvas.
When I was in a startup it was straightforward to evaluate what to work on: will it help us become profitable? will it help the business survive? As a programmer with more than a couple years experience, it’s very straightforward to be profitable and survive as an independent contractor. For better and worse the equation becomes much more complicated: is this project going to be fun? Will it preclude the lifestyle I want? …do I know what lifestyle I want?
For years now I’ve been envious of the lifestyle that Colin and Sarah Northway have lived. They’re both independent game developers who move every 3 months. They maintain this lifestyle by doing short-term furnished rentals (think airbnb/vrbo). It’s not a vacation, they develop their games while they travel.
It’s taken me about 6 months to get to the point where this lifestyle is doable, but I’m finally there. I have a fairly steady stream of longer-term contracting projects that allow me to work remotely. They pay competitive to SF/NYC rates, which means I can afford the overhead of short-term furnished rentals. My girlfriend is in exactly the same position. We’re selling, donating or trashing all of our large possesions. We’re kicking it off by spending 4 months in Tahoe, CA enjoying the ski season. The best part and also the scariest part is that we have no idea where we’ll go after that.