Happy monthsary to me!


One month ago, I submitted the paperwork for my very own company. I talked to mentors, set up my accounts and records, found a client, and started doing consulting. I drew some book notes and presentation summaries, too. =) So far, so wonderful!

I went to the Rails Pub Nite on Monday. The events are good opportunities to catch up with many of my friends in Toronto’s tech scene, and I often pick up one or two technology tips along the way. This time, I told my friends how I’ve been dividing my time between creating single-page visual summaries of books and offering consulting in enterprise social software adoption.

“Ah, the work that pays the bills,” someone said, nodding knowingly. I stopped, thought about it, and realized that I approached things differently. Because I planned this as a 5-year experiment enabled by low expenses and savings, I don’t look at consulting (or development, or whatever else) as the stuff I have to do in order to pay the bills so that I can do the “fun” stuff. This consulting is fun too. The income extends the experiment and allows me to try other things, but is not essential.

It’s surprising to find myself wandering down the drawing path instead of, say, taking advantage of the demand for Drupal or Rails skills. Drawing is fun, though, and there’s something here that makes me curious. I know I can pick up development again whenever I want to, so I’ll play around with this completely different set of skills for a while. Who knows where it will lead?

I still don’t have a company name, but doing business as a numbered company seems to be totally fine for now. I’ve got money saved for taxes and most of the accounts set up. Yay!

  • “low expenses”

    Hey Sacha, can you provide a few examples of changes in that area?

  • Carl: I’m a cheap date, and so is my husband. My idea of an awesome evening is reading or writing at home. I buy many of my clothes at thrift stores, but I don’t shop recreationally. I only go if I’m looking for something specific. Likewise, I make a list before going to the grocery store, and I seldom make impulse purchases online. We cook practically all of our meals, although we’ve started buying organic ingredients. Canada’s public health system means I can still go to the doctor whenever needed, and I’m now on my husband’s benefits plan at IBM.

    I grew up in an advertising studio (my dad’s a professional photographer). Because of that and my reading about persuasive techniques used in marketing, I’m pretty aware of the ways people try to convince you to buy things. (Favourite thing I learned about recently: they have a name for the moment when you glaze over in a huge, overwhelming shopping mall! It’s called the Gruen transfer.) I’ve also read tons of personal finance books, and I know that overconsumption is an excellent way to get into trouble.

    I haven’t had to make any major changes to my finances, actually. My expenses are at about the same level, and I’ll probably just keep this level constant throughout life. (Well, adjusting for inflation.) This frugality helped me save up a lot when I was earning a paycheque, and both the habit and the capital I saved in the process will be invaluable in this experiment.

    I’m probably the luckiest person in the world, so your mileage may vary. =)

  • Thanks for the details :D

    Food seems like a nice target for improvement in my case. Your answer was definitely inspirational.

  • Carl: Yup, food is a big one. We cook in bulk at home, so we save a lot on food costs. Our typical meals work out to $2 a portion (beef bulgogi with rice, chicken curry, …). Splurge-ish treats like lasagna and lamb korma are about $3-4.

    We’ve been cooking lighter meals recently because of the warmer weather and because we’d like to eat better. Rice and lentils, tabbouleh… there are plenty of healthy recipes that you can make quickly and inexpensively.

    W- and I enjoy cooking, so it becomes more like social bonding time than a chore. =) That helps a lot, too!

  • Happy monthsary sacha! It has been a long time since I last visited your blog. :D I hope you’re doing well with your business. :)

    Btw, before deciding your final company name, make sure its .COM domain name is still available. Hehe. :D

  • Sacha,

    Happy Monthsary – I like that word! It also sounds like monthsalary.

    I am enjoying reading your journey on your blog, so thank you for sharing.


  • Al Gonzalez

    Congratulations and thanks for sharing. I’m enjoying your posts greatly and have even started adding a few drawn elements when taking notes and/or brainstorming.

  • Jehzeel: Yeah, I have a lot of constraints. =) Must have an available domain name, must be easy to say, must be easy to spell (or at least easier than my name!), must be available in Canada, must not have an unfortunate acronym…

    Charles, Al: I’m glad you find the stories interesting! What would you like to hear more about?

  • Congratulations Sacha !

  • Congratulations on enjoying the 2.0 version of the Awesome Life, Sacha.

  • boy tamis

    nice one! enjoyed it! btw checkout wwwdotmonthsarydotph/join you will also like it there!