Revisiting the Past Two Years
I’m still catching up on posts. This is nonconsecutive and I wrote it on the 20th, but I’m going to publish this as it was on the 2nd, because future posts will add context.
Now that I’m in 2019, it feels like I’m looking for something different. I am not a salaryman, even though I draw a salary. Instead I’ve chosen to run a small company and for most of the decade that’s been fine. Looking back at the past two years I feel like I should begin offering different things and trying something new.
This was the year that changed things.
I ended up losing two friends in unrelated accidents. The first was my salesman Tristan. He passed away after having an accident doing lawn work. He was just beginning to branch out and was also interested in selling houses (he studied and received a realtor’s license). He was also active in government. I believe he was a week or two off from completing a bachelor’s degree. He was a member of the town’s school board since the age of 20 or so, once of the youngest elected people in the state. And all of a sudden, gone.
It was a complete surprise because out of people that knew him, he was one of the most lively people I’ve ever met. Tons of potential, lots of plans. We used to joke he’d have a yacht and a beautiful wife and would still be bubbly as all hell. In the end, all I could do was offer to build a site to remember him to his family, but as for making a post or a statement it didn’t feel like I had the authority to do it. I think about it a lot, and I am not sure whether it was correct to do that.
The other friend passed away a month later in a car accident. He was someone that realized change in his community like no other. There was a time when the majority of police officers could be trusted and he exemplified it. The guy wouldn’t even swear, he wanted to maintain that much of a positive image. He was one of the first friends I made in high school and while we ended up parting ways due to life leading us down different roads, we ran into each other a few times over the years. Even after we stopped running into each other I’d hear about him through police officers that did academy with him, talking about him being goofily ‘by-the-book’
Anyways, after these losses I stopped aggressively bidding on contracts for the company. Tristan was the opener on many new client contacts and I no longer felt like making a push for new services. I began to spend time trying to step back to do simpler work, because when you consult you always have to think about solving someone else’s problem, ultimately making their problems your own, and complicating your life for some money.
One of the real BS things I had to resolve this year was nonpayment from a client that happened to be an officer. It happens that clients run out of money or need extra time. Most tell us and we work with them. This guy just fell off the face of the earth. I mentioned before that my friend was something you don’t see anymore. I mean it. The industry has no oversight, good behavior is punished, and bad behavior is acceptable. He wanted to start a side company, which is something many officers do in NJ to supplement their pension money. Since he ghosted me, I took it to court and he resolved it.
A local taxi company contacted me as I was wrapping up a retiring client’s contract. I began to drive part time for them. Maybe it was that I don’t mind driving and had an insane level of driving experience for someone in my age range, maybe I just wanted away from the laptop for a bit. Perhaps it was the dilution of my company’s trademark by a certain ‘rideshare’ service that provided the inspiration. Regardless, I picked up doing it a few nights a week.
I don’t have too much to say about this year. Kept doing the same services with my company, Andrew stepped back a bit more to focus on a salaried position. I really only performed a handful of builds for the year, and supported existing applications on B2B clients.
I burned out sometime in Q3.
It was honestly a combination of things. My company has been under a constant onslaught of unemployment scammers filing claims they worked for us for the past 3 years or so. Most of the time I lose an hour and a stamp disputing the requests for separation but this year one of the unemployment offices approved claims being paid out to scammer. To get around this, I basically need to either create a new company and lose my credit contracts with Google or convert the company to a sole proprietorship and change its name (abandoning my trademark). The state has been less than helpful, and even the appellate court clerks tell us this sort of thing shouldn’t be possible. I really should write an in-depth guide in scamming NJ’s unemployment, because they don’t check anything and the consequences are minimal of caught. You too can ruin a small business owner’s life!
I had also co-founded a managed service provider in 2016. But by the end of 2017 I decided to terminate my minority ownership, as the president was going a bit ‘fast and loose’ with the books and the company was not heading in the direction we decided was mutually good. It was a mostly amicable break. 2018 I continued to consult with him to try to help him either sort it out or create a new organization, but he’s now in arrears with me so
Also, the first year Uber Motif was in business, our largest site build was this nightmare project Steve, the original CEO, managed. He resigned from the company with short notice and really intended us to fail due to the cost and time-frame of the project. We shipped it almost on time at a great cost to Andrew and I. It would ultimately be shelved some years later due to changing conditions with Google’s search algo. Our client decided to unshelf it around the same time everything was going down with me. It was just not good.
My physical health also took a nosedive around the same period of time, I finally thought I sorted my health insurance situation out, chose a doctor, and went to discuss an ADHD diagnosis and some pain I felt in my side. The doctor’s office wouldn’t process my insurance, the receptionist stole my credit card number, and the doctor diagnosed me with appendicitis and suspected absence seizures. I’m still trying to get a reimbursement out of my insurance co from August for this. ‘Murica, am I right?
I did finally manage to take a short break and went to Iceland with Katie I wrote about that a few months ago. That was a good trip, and the hope was that it would cure my issues around this time. Long story short, it did not. October I collapsed on supporting some of my existing clients, and it wasn’t for about a month that I could return to contacting existing clients. I was running things alone through this period and lost sight of keeping things simple.
I ended the year in the hospital due to the abdominal pain. I wanted to make it through Christmas with family, and I did. Hospital ruled out appendicitis and there was never a serious concern that I had absence seizures (I have about a half million miles of driving experience and no at-fault accidents since I was 17).
Once I got out of hospital, I picked up some sickness that Katie would later get, that kept us in and out of work for the next 2 weeks into 2019. Bad cold year I guess. We’re better now. There’s just a lot of cleanup that needs to be done.
Upcoming post will be about resolving some of the above.