Author Topic: Starting Over (kinda). Wondering where to go next!  (Read 2230 times)

Offline Adam Campbell

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Starting Over (kinda). Wondering where to go next!
« on: August 05, 2016, 08:57:57 AM »
Are there people in there who have left a “comfortable” full time career to break out on their own?

It has been a LONG time since I visited the forum, but a kind of synchronistic thing happened the other day and reminded me how positive and supportive this group can be when it comes to prepping concerns.

I’m looking for some opinions on certain things I want to do and I think I’ve had quite a few awesome experiences to share over the last few years.

It seems like the “Money Board” would be the best place for this to go…

I’m pretty sure the last time I posted in here I was in a fairly bad place. I was working at one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had in my life, and in a bad relationship on top of that. Life wasn’t horrible — but things were definitely off track.

The relationship and the job both ended on the same day and since that day I’ve been more or less on the right trajectory in life.

The career is in a much better place however I am still feeling “trapped.”

I’ve been spending the last year +/- really trying to think of a “strategy” (hehe) to break out of that cage, and the more I think about it, the more I am being pointed in the direction of the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid).

From 2004, up until the economic collapse in 2008, I was working as an independent “freelance” art director / graphic artist / web and software developer. I made numerous mistakes the first time I did this which I’ve learned from since then.

In the interest of becoming more self-sufficient I have made a choice to transition from working at a “comfortable” full time job back to being an independent producer. I have a MUCH greater understanding of my target customer and exactly what I want to be working on than I had back then. Right now I am in a management position in a startup with direct reports and “halflings” (for lack of a better term — people I can pull into my work who don’t report directly to me).


Like I asked before, are there people in the forum here who can chime in on the questions revolving around doing this kind of thing?

Is there a thread for entrepreneurs in here already? Something I can read though to get that from the perspective of like-minded “prepper” types?

I definitely have experiences to share that can help others.

Would it be appropriate to keep a thread with short posts about helpful experiences I am going to go through in the journey of setting all this up? Or maybe just append this thread as I make progress?

I would like to be able to provide examples of what and what not to do for others who are interested in starting their own small business. Just looking at what Jack has done with this podcast is inspirational enough, but I know from my own experience there’s nothing like running your own show and not being dependent on a weekly paycheck to live.

And obviously, are there people on this forum who ARE entrepreneurs or work for a company who NEEDS high quality graphic design, a web site, marketing materials, who just wants to take their brand up a notch?

I don’t want to make this thread a shameless plug, but I definitely think the people in this forum are a good place to network for more reasons than “passing out business cards.”

I’m at the point in my career where I want to do more than help big bloated “bland companies” put out “bland sanitized politically correct messages.”


I was actually on the path to transitioning into my own business when this job “fell out of the sky” and landed on my desk. I was even renting out a shared office space in downtown Pittsburgh walking distance from my “day job” office to pursue

The reason I accepted this current job was that I am allowed to work remotely *(along with my team) 95% of the time. This has allowed me to move WELL outside the city. I live amongst the Amish community now. I absolutely love it.

I found a house to rent with a large plot of land on State Game Lands — raised garden beds, and a nice detached outside office building complete with it’s own kitchen area. I found all of this for less than what I know other people in the city pay for renting an apartment. I am over an hour from the city, but my day job is located downtown and I go into the city once or twice a week.

I have made very calculated moves, including seeking out actual office space (twice) and choosing to accept a full time job that would help make this transition into complete independence even more smooth!

I have a much clearer vision of what I want to do than the last time I ran an independent design shop. I really want to help people like myself, people who want to be independent and self sufficient GET there. People who have a story to tell, or a great product to sell, get the information out to people — if they are incapable of doing it themselves.

I definitely won’t be on the bottom rung of the pricing ladder. I mean there’s a web site called “Fiverr” or something like that where people think they can pay $5 for a logo design. I’m not competing with that.

On the flip side, I am not competing with super large ad agencies that charge $200/hr with a minimum contract of around $50K just to get them to take a (serious) meeting with you. There are large companies that need that level of service. A large company hires an ad agency because they would rather not develop an advertising department in-house. Both options are expensive.

What I AM offering however, is over 20 years experience helping large and small companies market themselves with both traditional printed media and advertising, along with developing interactive media (web sites, presentations, you name it). I’ve won lots of design awards, local and national in my day but I haven’t been a “trophy chaser” for well over a decade. It was just a means to bolster the resume.

I also have a network of people that has grown much larger due to my last 6 years of full time employment at various companies — who can pick up the parts of my projects I am not good at. Mostly the heavy web application development work (back end programming).

The number of clients I’ve “served” if I were to make a McDonald’s sign would be in the hundreds, including Kodak, Genesee Beer, Xerox, PNC Bank, Mellon, Rubbermaid, Westinghouse, Giant Eagle, Mars, etc. Those are just some of the “big brands” I can pull off the top of my head.

As an independent, my largest client used to be PNC Bank — but I am not really pursuing those kinds of clients this time around. Those accounts are very difficult to service, full of politics, and red tape.

I really want to narrow down the focus and help people who are somewhat established, but need to take their company to the next level. Even growing to the point where my small shop isn’t big enough to serve their needs!

My web site is VERY outdated right now. The decision to leave my current job and continue down the path of self-sufficiency. This web site was put together for the specific purpose of leaving one full time job I was working at, and landing another full time job. I needed a “portfolio.” and as soon as I landed the job I put down the project.

I’ve had several jobs since then, but it needs a complete overhaul — to tell the story of what I want to do NOW.

Much of the work I’ve done since 2012 when this went up can’t be shown on this site even if I want to. I need to think of a more tactful way to present the application UI development work I’ve done in the more recent years.

However, my goal is to get into more creative marketing oriented work vs. “web application UI design.”

The site is located at

The “bee” thing is a tactic to get people to pronounce my last name correctly without being prompted — (and it’s worked since I was a young art student in high school).

If you read this far, thanks for any info or advice!