This week was my first week away from Event Espresso.
What’s that you say? You didn’t know I was leaving? Well, it wasn’t an easy decision.
Pros of working at Event Espresso
Some of the things I loved about working with Event Espresso was being part of a great team, being able to contribute to development, and being able to help shape the direction of the plugin and the business. These are all good things.
When I first started working with Event Espresso, it was that or going back to work at Whole Foods. Business was slow, Museum Themes hadn’t taken off, and things were getting rough. Event Espresso was one of the few opportunities that allowed me to work at home and get a regular paycheck, and for that it was great and I jumped at the opportunity. Over the course of 2 years, I learned the business as well as the plugin, and was able to help steer the direction (or at least offer my suggestions) for both.
Cons of working at Event Espresso
Here’s the dilemma: my freelance web development business was still slow and Museum Themes still hadn’t taken off. I’d been with Event Espresso for 2 years and I always said that I’d be able to work on that stuff on the side, but it never happened. I was always working at Event Espresso, working long hours, constantly in front of the computer, and I was watching my life pass me by. On the one hand, I was a valued member of the team, on the other I was cranky all the time from the stress of doing support and of having half a dozen different things that needed to get done RTFN on any given day and I was passing up potential clients because I just didn’t have enough time.
I tried a number of things. I tried having one day a week where I did client work or work on Museum Themes. That sort of worked — in that I could do one or the other — but if I had both, Museum Themes got pushed (once again) to the bottom of the pile. I started cutting my hours back so I was only working about 20 hours a week. That helped me get through my most recent course for Pluralsight, but, again, everything else got pushed to the bottom of the pile and I was still cranky and stressed.
In short, I’ve been working really freaking hard for the last couple years and I feel like I don’t have a lot to show for it. Certainly my sanity and my availability to my family has been worse for the wear. When Megan from Pluralsight approached me last fall at WordCamp SLC, I was skeptical. I wasn’t sure if this was a one-off deal or if it would be something I could do as a steady gig. And I knew nothing about the company, their background, where they came from, how legit they were. I didn’t know if doing Pluralsight courses would pay off, if it would be worth it, if I would just be working really hard and nothing would really come of it.
But when I finished that first course, we celebrated with a bottle of champagne. And when that first royalty check came I could see that, yeah, this is something that could be a real thing.
It’s not that doing a course isn’t hard work — it is. It’s really hard, actually. It involves creativity and creativity doesn’t grow on trees. But one of the differences is that I need to know the stuff I’m teaching and that means I need to be constantly learning and experimenting — things I want to be doing anyway but previously didn’t have enough time. Sure enough, as I was finishing off my last course, I started getting ideas of what my next course would be (my next two courses, actually). Doing a course for Pluralsight means I actually need to take time away to do other things, which helps me stay fresh and motivated and then inspires creativity when I start working on something that I can then turn into a course (or a part of a course).
Even if I run out of WordPress-related ideas (which I don’t see happening for a while), the WordPress development cycle is about one major release every six months, so at the very least, I could do a course every six months covering what’s new.
I’ll still be involved with Event Espresso for the foreseeable future. Right now I’m working on doing use case articles for them and I expect to still be a part of the Espresso Bar hangouts once a month. I’ve had a week away and I feel like it will be an adjustment, but I’ve gotten a lot of stuff done, lined up some possible client work, and I’ve started working on my next Pluralsight course. Best of all, though, I feel like I’ve been much less cranky. All in all, I think it’s been a good week.