When the Promise of a New Year Turns into an Unexpected Challenge

When the Promise of a New Year Turns into an Unexpected Challenge

In the second half of 2018 I took a number of steps to prepare for 2019. Returning to consulting/contracting has been a challenge. While I have been able to scratch out a modest profit each year 2019 was setting up to be different. I lined up my primary project for 2019 and entered into two strategic partnerships and because of projections for 2019 I was able to reengage with a former client to get their project back on track in 2019.

Each year I have one or two primary projects which consume approximately 60-70% of my billable time and in almost every case these projects transition into a longer term support client. These support clients and ad hoc time and material projects fill the balance of my billable time.

As 2018 drew to a close I was feeling really good about 2019.

Man plans; God laughs.

Now a one-two punch has put several aspects of my 2019 planning at risk.

In October of last year my primary project for 2019 assured me they had their funding lined up to start the project in this month. Now, their funding for this project will not be available until at least the end of the second quarter. This has a cascading effect because the profit from this primary project was going to be plowed back into my LLC to fund another project started in November. I will now have to replace my primary project as best I can and that could impact my availability if or when they ever fully secure their funding. But I am actually more concerned about this other project. This will affect my plans for funding it and I am not sure exactly how I will proceed. The only thing I do know is I will find a way for it to continue forward.

As difficult as this will make my life for the next few months a second setback is going to be much more difficult to overcome. One of the joint ventures I entered into last year was with someone I’ve known for almost 35 years starting when we both worked at Boeing. Dan and I were putting the final touches on a marketing strategy for LinuxExpert.tech with a planned launch in February.

Unfortunately, Dan suffered a stroke on New Year’s Day. His prognosis is about as good as it can be for any stroke patient but he faces months of rehabilitation to fully recover. Last night he told me he has decided to retire. Obviously, this impacts the joint venture but my bigger concern is for a friend I’ve known for a long, long time.

As challenging as these last five years have been and even as challenging as this year is shaping up to be it all pales in comparison to what Dan has already gone through and what he faces for the rest of his life. Perspective matters and the problems and challenges I face feel minuscule because they are minuscule.

Dan has asked me to help wind down his projects and help his clients find alternatives. I am more than happy to help any way I can. Few if any of his existing clients are potential clients for me because his practice area and mine have almost no overlap. Our joint venture, LinuxExpert.tech, will still launch in February with some changes forced by all of this but that is secondary to everything else.

I am by nature a very optimistic person. My optimism for 2019 is somewhat muted now but it remains. My nature requires it.

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