One Year Indie

I have to admit it kind of snuck up on me but a year ago I quit my job and turned my life upside down. Since I owe so much of my independence to the MacSparky readers, I thought I’d fill you in on how things are going.

Declaration of Independence

I explained in excruciating detail what I was up to when it first happened. In short, after over 20 years working in “the firm” I decided to go out on my own. I wanted to have options and freedom that simply are not possible when working for and with other people.

So I quit my job and hung my shingle. This isn’t nearly as heroic as it sounds. I’ve been practicing law for over 20 years and already had a healthy client stable. I’ve also been able to make some money with the books, podcast, and other media products. I knew I wasn’t going to be out on the street but I also knew my life was going to change dramatically. After a year, I have more control over what I do and don’t do. I’m not making as much money as I used to but I’m doing okay. I love my newfound freedom and I’m definitely in a different place now than I used to be and that’s true in all phases of my life.

Sparky the Lawyer

When I left I wanted to grow a practice that was more transactional and included less litigation. That’s been the general trend of my career for the last 10 years anyway. I still do some trial work but it’s much less than I used to do.

What I didn’t expect was the significant number of clients I would receive from, of all places, my geeky website and podcast. Several readers and listeners actually need the professional services I offer. In the last year I’ve added many of them as clients and I have to say they are some of the best clients I’ve ever had. They are nice people who take their lawyer’s advice and pay their bills.

Because I’m not part of a big organization, I don’t need to be a slave to the billable hour. I’ve revolutionized the practice of law in my own tiny, little way. Most of the work I do is for a flat fee. My clients love it and don’t have to look at their watch while they are talking to me. Put simply, I’m enjoying being a lawyer now more than ever.

Sparky the Geek

Getting the law practice off the ground took longer than I expected (of course) and was quite a bit of work in 2015. Add to that the fact that I had kidney stones kicking my ass for several months and I didn’t get nearly as much produced on the MacSparky side last year as I had hoped. While I didn’t get a book out the door, I did release several MacSparky Video Field Guides and started a new partnership with that resulted in the OmniFocus series.

Rather than beat myself up over not hitting my goals for 2015, I have turned the page and I’m rolling now for 2016. I’m working every day on two new MacSparky Field Guide books and some video projects that I can’t wait to share. I’m going to be throwing content at you this year like never before. Although nothing is at the point where I can share it yet, I’ve been seriously productive on the MacSparky side the last three months.

Sparky the Dad

Another splendid side benefit of these changes is that I get to spend a great deal more time with my wife and children. I work at home more than anyplace else these days. So I’m around to lend a hand when needed or just “be there”. As an example, my oldest daughter (all grown up and in college!) and I go out together and enjoy talking during this new phase of our relationship. My youngest daughter and I went seriously deep into Star Wars with the new movie coming out. In a few years when these young women head out into the world, I’ll be really happy that we had that time.

My wife and I also get to spend more time together. We take walks and talk more than we were ever able when I was getting up everyday, suiting up, and heading to the office. Many friends told me that we’d drive each other crazy if I spent any time working from home. Fortunately they were wrong. After over 20 years of marriage, we still really enjoy each other’s company.

Living the Dream

There really aren’t many negatives to these big changes in my life. I took an income hit but I’m working on that. I do miss some of my colleagues from the old firm. They were nice people and outstanding lawyers. Getting sick with kidney stones last year gave me an early lesson that when you work for yourself and you can’t work, things can get ugly pretty quickly.

All that aside, I’m happier now than I think I have ever been in my life. There’s something about being the master of your own domain that is irreplaceable. I need to figure out how to make this work because, frankly, I’m not sure I’m capable of going back. It is not lost upon me that had it not been for the success of this website, the podcast, and the books, none of this would ever have happened and for that I am grateful to every single person reading this post.