I've been working as a consultant for a few years now, and while I think I've enjoyed a fair bit of success, one thing that is missing for me is the ownership of the projects I'm working on. In the last two years I've worked on five or six different web sites and web applications: one was put on indefinite hiatus and I'm unsure of its current state, one was completed by another developer, and at least three were canceled just short of completion because of lack of funds. It's the canceled projects that are the most discouraging because excellent progress was made and hard work was put into them, but now they are in limbo and out of my hands!
The lack of ownership bothers me, because what happens with those projects now? I would sure like to know! I spent long hours and some late nights on them, sometimes I was the only one working on them. Unfortunately I can't see what happens now because those unfinished programs belong to my customers.
So (now that I am between unfinished projects) I have started working on some projects of my own. This has led me to learn some new things about myself. Working from home on my own projects requires so much discipline it is almost like learning a new job. I do allow myself opportunities to work on home projects, but I have to be really careful not to let things get out of hand. I don't want to end up with more unfinished projects!
I've also been setting goals for myself as a new company. I'm hoping to start earning revenue through other streams besides just consulting. This is a daunting shift for me, especially because I'm not earning revenue while I'm developing right now. Hopefully some projects will start earning recurring money soon though. That means I have to set priorities.
I'm also giving myself some time every morning to evaluate or re-evaluate my goals and to setup tasks to achieve those goals. This is a little different from what I do while consulting for clients, when I would simply set tasks for the day or week in order to get the project done. Now I am taking an even bigger picture look at the future of my career and the future of my company. I've still got a lot to look at, work on, and learn - but it is exciting.
I'm also hoping that the next contracts I will work on will be for longer-term contracts. The last few were under six months, I'm hoping to find work on 9 month+, multi-developer contracts from now on so that I will not only have time to finish them but also work on some larger teams and take more of a leadership role rather than be the sole developer.
I'm also going to keep in mind that not every change is permanent! I'll be evaluating what I'm working on daily to see what is working and what isn't. It's a sort-of "agile" way for me to treat my business, career and life! I'm excited and looking forward to the future.
Oh, and one more goal is to blog at least twice a week. I've made that promise to myself before, but this time I'm giving myself time to do it instead of trying to find time to do it in.