Is a year long enough to be an era?
I had big plans for this site, if not the sole proprietorship I called “Ogorek Data Sciences.” I wanted to have cool statistical functionality that would put the site on the map. I wanted to regularly blog about data science topics and build up a small but devout following, rather than sell out to Medium.
Well, that’s not going to happen.
Reflecting on my year as a freelancer (a.k.a. sole proprietor) with fictitious name “Ogorek Data Sciences,” it ranks somewhere in the middle as years go. I enjoyed the autonomy. I enjoyed making a logo, setting up this website, and figuring out the basic logistics. And, some of the early articles here were about simple things such as getting health insurance as a freelancer.
Things like health insurance sound simple but I know people who will not leave sub-optimal situations simply because they cannot imagine buying health insurance for their family. Going out on your own forces you to experience this stuff. You find out that it’s not so bad (actually health insurance was bad but only because I submitted information info to a spam website – don’t do that).
There are two main reasons why Ogorek Data Sciences didn’t last longer.
The first is that the premise was, for all practical purposes, a false one. I thought I could create a “lifestyle business” that would free me from the often grinding, non-stop nature of work. I imagined finishing an engagement and traveling for a month because I wanted to, and maybe starting my next engagement while working abroad.
In reality, I was just as absorbed in my work as with many full time engagements. It took all my energy to perform well from day to day and week to week and I struggled to log full days because I’d wear down (Oh yeah, I can’t code all day like when I was 27). And the work doesn’t stop, especially once you have a client that likes you enough to keep you on. In the case of Nousot, I liked them too, and I couldn’t just leave them during intense periods of client work to sip Margaritas in the Bahamas. So I didn’t.
The second reason is that, though I value independence and self-reliance, I realized I need to be a part of a team. “Working for myself” was less appealing than I thought it would be, and the thought building a team from scratch just did not appeal to me, from the investment to the stress of finding work to the ever-growing logical needs. I can’t know for sure, but I don’t believe I would have enjoyed it.
Some of the choices I made annoyed me almost immediately. Why again did I go with the plural “Sciences”? Why did I use my last name when no one can pronounce it? Why did I add all those letters and colors to the logo. They all seemed like good ideas at the time, which is all the more reason why I’m better off bouncing ideas off of other people, and playing to my strengths.
When I told a LinkedIn acquaintance about my new opportunity, he said, “I’m sorry your business didn’t work out.” I got flustered trying to explain, “It didn’t not work out. It’s just that…”
Just like my year in construction, I learned a lot about myself, what I like and don’t like, and I’m happy I did it. I’m also looking forward to the next chapter.
And maybe, before it’s all said and done, I’ll create a website that people actually visit. It just won’t be this one.