Friday, November 12, 2004


I am agonizing over a decision.

I haven't been blogging about what is going on with my state of employment since the museum closed. Basically, I decided a couple of months ago that I would like to be a freelance writer and have been doing the research to see if it is feasible or not. Freelance writers write all the words that get you through life but that you basically ignore--brochures, marketing stuff, annual reports, newsletters, Web copy, ad, copy, whatever copy (and quite a bit journalism and magazine writing, but that is lower-paying). I've been writing, editing, and producing this kind of stuff (except journalism) for years now in my various jobs. It's something I enjoy, and there is a market for freelancers.

The main reason is this: in about five (less that four-and-a-half!!) years, David will be ready for formal education. I would like to give him that education myself. Chances are, Jaime's Social Work degree is not going to support our family by itself, so I will need part-time income. My goal is to work full-time for five years and then be able to cut to part-time and still earn enough per hour to contribute to the family income. Ideally, Jaime and I would both have part-time-but-good-paying jobs and we would both share the schooling, but those jobs are few and far far between. (Also, I hope that writing regularly will hone my skills and contribute positively to my writing novels someday, when the kids are in school or jail or whatever gets them out of the house.)

As part of my research I took a class on creating a business plan and starting up a business. This 36-hour class is a requirement for someone wanting a small business loan from the Chamber of Commerce. I wasn't intending to get a loan, but took the class because I wanted to start my business right. In the process of taking the class, I have put together a fairly comprehensive cash-flow report, and it has me depressed. With modest expectations for startup income, minus expenses and a very low salary (barely what unemployment insurance pays me), I will have to run a deficit for the first eight or nine months.

That is standard business, I know. But it poses two problems for me: 1) I hate debt; I loath it. Debt is the #1 reason that I haven't really ever been interested in being an entrepreneur. 2) I have an unreasonable amount of unsecured debt--especially for someone who hates debt soooo much. It's mainly wedding and Cambridge debt, and it's way below the national average, but it don't like it. Plus, as soon as Jaime graduates, that will be more school debt. Even though I currently own four cars (more on that later), they are not worth much so I am not sure that I could get a small business loan if I wanted too--even by the liberal standards of the COC.

I have this vision of myself in six months or five years failing in this business and being saddled with so much debt that I have to miss large chunks of my children's lives working to get it paid off.

If you have read this far, bless your little heart. You have to be wondering, "so, what is your point? What are you going to do?"

Funny, I am wondering the same thing.

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