November 16, 2004

Over the Wall

Tomorrow marks the second time in just over a year I have resigned from employment. This time however, I do not have another job lined up. “You’re mad!”, you say. I may be obliged to agree with you. I am making a stab at self-employment. TMX has been good to me, I just don’t see myself heading in the same direction they are anymore. So, here’s to the entrepreneurial spirit!

So, what now? Well, I’m glad you asked. In the last two weeks I haven’t stopped moving in the hopes that I can hit the ground running after tomorrow. I have been making a modest bit on the side doing freelance with some very nice people, and picking up a few referrals from some very kind others. I have scoured the internet and hit the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook pretty hard in an effort to educate myself on the finer points of maintaining a real business. How grown-up! I am putting on a professional hat, churning out my own proposal templates, contracts, and invoice paperwork. I’ve even devised a detailed budget, both professional and personal, to keep my spending organized. All this work in hopes of making myself an appealing target for people to throw money at.

It’s a much different way of thinking to get used to. I have always been very energetic, with a really stubborn work ethic. I get shit done. I really haven’t had to make this big of a leap in the past. There was always some sort of safety net. There will be no one to take the fall for mistakes but me. This is going to be a big challenge. I am very confident though, much is my style to be a bit over prepared. I was the guy who kinda had my portfolio together before the Portfolio class really started so that he could be out interviewing instead.

In the last four years I have learned a lot, and only half of that is how to be a better designer. Now I will have to flex every bit of it and be the bearer of a lot of responsibility. Well, me and three cats… but they can’t design for shit.

It’s a scary prospect, but I am excited as hell to do this (making sure that self-employment does not turn into unemployment) and really looking forward to the freedom I will have. Here I go.

Commentary (48):

1. Joshua says… nov 16, 2004 | 9:53 am

Congratulations and best wishes for your endeavor. Have you already given your notice, was your employer pleasantly surprised? Don’t forget to stock up on their office supplies before you walk out the door one last time.

2. Todd says… nov 16, 2004 | 9:54 am

Good luck Jason!

3. joshua says… nov 16, 2004 | 9:54 am

wow! congrats and good luck, Jason.

Lord knows you have the talent to succeed, so here’s wishing that everything goes the way you’d like…

4. wayne says… nov 16, 2004 | 9:56 am

way to go, stan. i only wish i could throw some money at you. not in a business sense, of course, but as a fun game that involves pelting you with nickels until blood runs into your eyes and then we all laugh. except you. you won’t be laughing at all… what was i writing about?

5. Dan Mall says… nov 16, 2004 | 10:04 am

So . . . any chance we could get a sneak peek at your all-star lineup freelance?

6. Jason Santa Maria says… nov 16, 2004 | 10:06 am

No not yet, maybe once some more stuff is done. But there will be a big announcement coming up and a bunch of site updates, some major and some minor, in the near future. I have to update my portfolio and some pages here and there.

7. Jon Hicks says… nov 16, 2004 | 10:06 am

All the best Jason. You’ve got the skills to pay the bills fershaw.

One piece of advice from Uncle Hicks - keep up with the invoices. It sounds bizarre, but its very easy to let them slip when you’re really busy - which you will be!

8. Ryan Brill says… nov 16, 2004 | 10:09 am

Best of luck, Jason. I’m sure you’ll do well for yourself, and I look forward to seeing they type of work that I’m sure you’ll turn out.

9. Dan Mall says… nov 16, 2004 | 10:12 am

Well, you better get crackin. I need some ideas to steal, er, borrow, er . . . ah damn . . .

10. Daniel Oliver says… nov 16, 2004 | 10:34 am

Good luck. It must really be an excitting time for you. I hope that when I am older and hae learnt a great deal more I will be doing similar.
I am sure you will do well. Looking at your work you arre more then capable to do so.

Have fun,

11. Gabriel Mihalache says… nov 16, 2004 | 10:36 am

Really nice! Does this mean more or less time for this site? Also, who gets your old job? :)

12. niff says… nov 16, 2004 | 10:36 am

so, i am very organized and REALLY AMAZING at making copies now…( my paper cut fingers are to show for it) so, you should hire me. im sure you could afford me.

plus, you already told me i could live on your futon.


13. Colly says… nov 16, 2004 | 10:36 am

Best of luck, Jason. My mind gets tickled by such thoughts all of the time. I was self-employed a few years back, and found that keeping business simple keeps paperwork simpler. Considering I too may go freelance in the future, I thought I’d hit the karmic wheel and wish you my best…

14. RJ Hampden says… nov 16, 2004 | 10:40 am

Yeah, there’s nothing to be worried about. You have the technology, man. You’re going to look back on this post (via your holographic projectionating belt buckle) in ten years and giggle at your apprehension.

Via con Dios, amigo. Y tu pinches gatos, tambien.

15. Jason Santa Maria says… nov 16, 2004 | 10:40 am

Gabriel - I believe more time, but we shall see. I have a lot of stuff in the works, so at the very least, I am not going to be quiet for a while. My position has already been filled here at TMX by some new blood.

Niff - You are always welcome to our couch. And the second I can work your outstanding illustration talents into a job, you will know.

16. Jared Christensen says… nov 16, 2004 | 11:06 am

Best of luck to you.

17. steve says… nov 16, 2004 | 11:30 am

best of luck… inspiring for sure. I look forward to reading about your ups and downs of the self employement world and learning about your bumps in the road. I assume you’ll be posting the good, bad, and ugly here as you get going.

18. Kevin Tamura says… nov 16, 2004 | 11:52 am

Best of luck Jason.

19. jeff says… nov 16, 2004 | 12:17 pm

good luck. maybe ill grow a spine one of these days too.

now that you’re free, i’d like to see some more comics with guys in gas masks and top hats.

20. Jason Beaird says… nov 16, 2004 | 12:44 pm

So they’re not designers, but you should at least be able the teach the cats to answer the phone, take memos, and make a decent pot of coffee. Best of Luck Jason!

21. Allan Rojas says… nov 16, 2004 | 2:00 pm

the best of lucks Jason… the bridge you’re crossing is the one many of us wish to cross someday…

make sure you throw some rocks at us from the other side… and laugh ;-)

22. niff says… nov 16, 2004 | 2:18 pm

sweet. use me and abuse me. well dont abuse me really.…bah.

you deserve the very bestest my buddy.

i know you will do amazingly.

23. Josh Dura says… nov 16, 2004 | 2:36 pm

Congrats and best of luck Jason. It is definitely a tiring process, but it has a lot of great advantages once the initial process gets worked out. If you need any advice, let me know :) And if you need Flash talent, I am here for ya :D

24. Aaron says… nov 16, 2004 | 3:07 pm

Good luck! You’ve been a great source of inspiration.

25. P. Dalkner says… nov 16, 2004 | 5:02 pm

Man 1: Stan must be more dapper than his cohort ROb — about
whom we know nothing.
Man 2: Say, let’s invigorate his solo career by using technology!

26. Peter Gifford says… nov 16, 2004 | 5:34 pm

As someone who has run their own design business for ten years, let me give you the bit of advice I wish I’d received when I started. Warning: it’s very boring and non-design oriented. Get an Excel spreadsheet set up to keep track of your invoices and figure in the precentage of each invoice that goes to tax, savings, superannuation, whatever. Then, whenever an invoice is paid, assign those amounts to those respective accounts.

Congratulations, suddenly you will know exactly how much money you have to save, spend and pay the bills with. Trust me, it’s a much better method than “I just got paid $2,000, I think I’ll buy a new laptop!” - and it’ll probably make the difference between success and failure as a freelancer.

27. Josh Dura says… nov 16, 2004 | 11:13 pm
Warning: it’s very boring and non-design oriented.

I couldnt have said it better myself. :)

28. Dan says… nov 17, 2004 | 2:10 am

Good luck and congrats Jason :)

29. Matthew says… nov 17, 2004 | 3:30 am

Good Luck! :D

30. Mike Stenhouse says… nov 17, 2004 | 5:14 am

I second what the honourable Mr Hicks said: be on top of your invoices. When I first started I was so glad to actually have work that I forgot to get my invoices in. They were then paid late, leaving me VERY short of cash for a couple of months. It’s been good since then though so I’m sure you’ll love it!

31. Dave Child says… nov 17, 2004 | 9:26 am

Seriously, if your cats can’t design, you should look at investing in better ones. Then, you can make use of your PC while you sleep!

Best of luck!

32. Jason Metter says… nov 17, 2004 | 10:07 am

Or, instead of setting aside money for taxes, you could use my method: Spend it as it rolls in, then save for the first three months of the year and give that to the man in April.

Also, save every receipt for any media product and claim it as “research.” When you go to the movies, subscribe to a magazine or Tivo, buy a video game or a CD, you are doing research. You can’t help it if you also enjoy it.

33. Bob Cieszkowski says… nov 17, 2004 | 10:24 am

Ever since I first stumbled onto your site, I’ve considered you to be one of the leaders in our field (along with some of the other posters on this thread) and constantly return for inspiration and the “Oddities…” Good luck J. and go on wit yo bad self.

34. Liz MacDonald says… nov 17, 2004 | 11:56 am

Even though I incessantly tease the man for being a computer nerd, a workaholic, or just an all around geek I am so proud of Jason. I have bore witness to his determination everynight as he dedicates himself to his work. Even my attempts to tear him away from his computer by assaulting him with jazz hands go unnoticed. The man is focused. I know that this will lend itself to his success and I look forward to watching it all happen for him.

Happy last day of work!

35. Sian says… nov 17, 2004 | 1:01 pm

Ooo brave man! All the best jason.

36. Ethan says… nov 17, 2004 | 2:31 pm

Jason, that kicks truckloads of ass. Best of luck, man.

37. niff says… nov 17, 2004 | 4:08 pm

hey jason, PC!! hahaah.

real designers dont use those…especially not at home.

i cant beleive the ‘jazz hands” didnt tear you away from your work.

however, your girlfriend is super hot so make sure you keep your schedual open for liz lovin’.

38. Jason Santa Maria says… nov 17, 2004 | 6:57 pm

Thank you generous well-wishers! My Mac will get a good workout in the weeks to come. I shall try and whip them cats into shape but it will be tough, they have a hefty daytime TV habit.

39. Peter Gifford says… nov 17, 2004 | 7:56 pm
Warning: it’s very boring and non-design oriented.

I couldnt have said it better myself. :)

I’m pleased you’ve obviously got it all sorted Josh. Maybe someone else may find the comment useful. :)

Best of luck Jason, your work’s damn good.

40. bearskinrug says… nov 18, 2004 | 8:05 am

Well, I for one have no doubts that you’ll succeed. After all, you are italian, and may possibly have “family” that can “guarantee” success.

Remember… I’m not a threat to your business or anything. Uh.. you’ve got bigger fish to fry…

41. Mike Rohde says… nov 18, 2004 | 2:11 pm

Jason, congrats on the decision to go it solo! I wish you the best as you head in this new and exciting direction. :-)

42. rachael says… nov 18, 2004 | 2:46 pm

Freedom! Horrible freedom!
I’m proud of you. Congrats! Working for the man sure does suck… Perhaps our group of the gainlessly unemployed can start some sort of movement…

My day comes next Wednesday.

43. Matt Davis says… nov 19, 2004 | 11:05 am

Congrats and Good Luck! I know you’ll kick ass! If there’s one thing I learned as your college roommate, it’s this… (to share with the rest of the group) Jason’s true work/creative potential can only be realized when he’s unburdened by the tyranny and oppression of pants. There it is. The secret of his success. It’s how he managed to crank out a semesters worth of projects, three nights before they were due. It’s kind of like that Sylvester Stallone movie where he’s a truck driver who kicks ass in arm wrestling whenever he turns his hat around.
Make us proud! Always remember that the pant-wearing masses of wage slaves support you!

44. Brian Zeiders says… nov 19, 2004 | 8:32 pm

Hey Jason, good luck on your business endeavors. You’ll do great. I followed teh link to your site from teh Heads of State site. woops. apparently i can’t spell the word “the”. regardless, good job on their site. i dig their posters. In fact, I may haveta buy one of those new Wilco ones…

45. Greg says… nov 21, 2004 | 9:12 pm

”…yeah, make sure you get the fries nice and hot. Don’t give me the limp ones that have been under the lamp for fifteen minutes. And don’t skimp, I want that sucker packed full.”


46. Lauren says… nov 23, 2004 | 12:14 pm

Congratulations! You’re both amazingly talented and brave. I hope the entrepreneurial world has much to offer you. :)

47. Ryan says… nov 23, 2004 | 12:56 pm

Good luck. I’ve enjoyed your site and its been a helpful resource for me as a designer. I’d like to recommend a book which was an invaluable resource for myself as a freelancer, “The Business Side of Creativity,” check it out.

48. Frank says… mar 25, 2005 | 1:16 am

One bit of advice I was given when starting out:

“Throw nickels around like they were manhole covers.”

Glad to see you escaped big bad wolf . You’ll do well. May your creativity soar and your expenses be low.