Wow. So much has changed since the last time I took the time to write a post for this blog.
No major changes on the important aspects of life thankfully! My wife and kids are still happy and healthy, and so am I. My parents and siblings are all in fairly good health, and there’s only happy news. So on that part of life, everything’s good! I feel blessed to have such a loving family around me, and to have all the people I care about in good health and in good fortune.
The changes I’m talking about are work related. Since last month I’m fully self-employed, and loving it all the way! I took the plunge, and even though preparation could’ve been better (like having
a bigger emergency fund … errr … like having an emergency fund in the first place), I’m totally confident that this was the right move to make.
Deciding on quitting
Quitting my day job was not something I took light-hearted, especially since I loved the job (most of it anyway) and there’s something very comforting to have that sense of security of knowing a paycheck will come in at the end of the month. But at the same time, circumstances changed in a way that made me realize that quitting was the best way forward. There were three reasons for taking the plunge:
- Business is good
We (my brothers and I) are fortunate enough to have more work than we can handle. We love that, especially in these times with economic headwinds.
- Sudden new tax plans would hurt me big time
The political climate in the Netherlands is not very stable, and early this year a new tax plan was announced, which would hit me unreasonably hard. I would take an 7-9% hit in net income, just because I had to travel about 170 km roundtrip to work, three days a week.
- Fit between me and my job
There were forces (partly due to political changes, partly due to internal organizational changes) in the higher educational organization I worked for, that made me realize that the fit between me and my job was moving in the wrong direction. Not very fast, but there was a trend.
In a way, I already knew that 1 and 3 were happening, business was picking up, and the day job wasn’t going anywhere. I expected that I had to take a decision about what to do in 12 months or so. But #2 came very unexpectedly, and pushed me over the edge early. Just before the summer holidays, I actually quit my job and took the plunge to go to self-employment in the business venture I have with my two brothers.
Ironically, in the September, the first month of being self employed, we had elections in the Netherlands, and the parties that came out as the biggest have pretty much eliminated the tax plan that was the basis for reason #2. So the reason that pushed me over the edge has disappeared. In a way I’m thankful for it, because it made me take the plunge, and I’m happy I did.
The way forward …
Looking at the way forward as far as work is concerned, I see two things ahead of me. First and foremost is making our company a success. Our company, Maneros, is focused on two activities: e-learning and business intelligence. My speciality is mainly on the e-learning side, but I know my way around data and databases as well. We’re very lucky to work with great companies like ASML, Office Depot, and NS (Dutch Railways). They challenge us, and we love to help them forward.
Second, I will still be involved in the online blogging world. I have been fortunate to be able to work with and work for awesome people like Mary Jaksch, Leo Babauta, and Courtney Carver. I will continue to do work for them as I have been over the last couple of years, and I’m very happy to have them as business partners (in a way). They know that my involvement in blogging is not my main focus, yet they trust me to help them make sense of the technical aspects of their blogging businesses. I’m grateful for that too! Thanks guys!
How about the blog?
And this blog and my goals? Well, they will probably be more lively than they’ve been in a long time. Quitting my job has freed up a lot of time and mindspace. Since a week or two, the idea of writing a new post started to take hold of me again. And now, late at night (it’s past 2am), I’m putting the first words on paper again.
This blog will probably continue to be a chronicle of my journey through life, and since I’ve got that teaching bug in me, I will have thing or two to teach. Yet at the same time I’m as curious as a three-year old and I plan to listen more to what that three-year old is telling me. So a fair warning is in place: Topics may vary! Here’s a list of things that are inspiring me today:
- personal finance
- solar energy
And my family of course. I’ve written about one of my strongest personal values before, it’s Freedom. And you know … I’ve learned that experiencing freedom for me is strongly tied to having the liberty to spend time with my family, and being there when it matters. And I’ve learned that small things matter …