A moment of gratitude

By Andrew Neitlich

There seems to be an unending supply of large- and small-scale tragedy in the world these days, both man-made and natural.

This gets to what may seem a tangential issue for selling web services, but really is key: Are you living a life you love? Are you doing work you love?

I can’t help but give infinite thanks for being self-employed, working from home, making my own hours, doing what I love. Half my success comes, I think, from loving what I do. Clients and prospects sense my passion, and want to work with me.

Life can end any time. Today, tomorrow, some time when you least expect it. You don’t want to have regrets.

If you are reading this and working in a job you hate, make a plan to get out quick. That’s not the only aspect of living a life you love, but it’s certainly an important one.

You are blessed to have a great set of skills, skills that can take you far.

Time is precious. Don’t have regrets when your time comes.

Ask yourself: If something awful happened to the building where you are working right now, and you perished, would you have no regrets about where you work — or would you say during your last minute, “I can’t believe I didn’t quit this crummy job and do what I really wanted to do?”

I hope this passage is not too trite, and makes a difference to at least someone reading it.

  • pdxi


    This passage is definitely not trite.

    I spent Friday evening with a good friend of mine who is also self employed. We stayed up until 4:00 am basically discussing how what we do is essential to our happiness. In fact, it’s practically spiritual. Each day we struggle to avoid compromising our happiness and personal fulfillment, and end the day with a glowing sense of pride.

    I know that I’ve worked hard for everything that I’ve accomplished. And for the fact that I am successful on my own terms, I am extremely grateful.

  • Keith


    Thanks for this post. I’m just starting to build a web design business and lately, I’ve been going through some self-doubt. I worry that my timing is bad, the market is saturated, etc. I read your blog every morning for a jump-start. Sometimes I need a bit of encouragement and your timing was right.

    Success is a personal thing; if you wake up in the morning and you dread going to work, you’re a failure. If you wake up and can’t wait to get to your job, then you’ve found your “sweet spot” in life–that is success. All of us should live in the “sweet spot.”


  • chris ward

    Love my job, I just hate the mornings. Wish I could choose my own hours

  • http://www.assemblysys.com/dataServices/index.php mniessen

    Very true, Andrew!

    Keith, I don’t live in the US so I don’t know exactly how’s the situation there, but I think no market is ever saturated enough if you’re skilled and can offer valuable services to your clients.
    Sure, there may be a lot of ‘professionals’ out there, but how many offer really professional services?
    Who could say their clients are 100% satisfied and would never hire someone else? Not many people, I think… Of course, it might take some work before your prospects finally see the light and realize they should be working with you, and not that other guy, but it’s far from impossible to be successful. And with Andrew’s advice, it’s even easier.
    Good luck with your business!


  • Mary

    Your post made me think – a lot.

    I work part-time as a web designer for a small company. I like it, I admit it – it’s just what I wanted to do. But..

    The pay is lousy, and often delayed, mostly by 20 days to a month. Clients are rude and too demanding, while they don’t know what they really want. Imagine that I’m obliged to develop and maintain CMS backend-PHP MySQL dynamic websites – all by myself. Not to mention clients that demand vital changes even after 70% of the project has been coded.

    The work is enough to drive me crazy. I painstakingly design, develop and test every project I’m given, but all I get is some delayed 400US$ every 1&1/2 month, while boss gets 4000-5000$ minimum for the completion of each of these projects.

    I feel very abused, and I want to get out of it. Maybe this post will help me find the courage and actually do it.

  • http://www.napathon.net/ vinyl-junkie

    I know that your blog is geared primarily toward self-employed web professionals. Well, I’m not self-employed; I work for state government, but as far as I’m concerned, I have the best job in the world!

    I have maintained a personal website as a hobby for several years, but longed to do that kind of work professionally. Now, with the proper training which I’m currently working on, I am about to get that chance. Life is definitely good!

    Your are absolutely correct. Life is too short to have a job doing something you hate. Thankfully, I’m not in that boat.

  • http://www.turtlereality.co.uk jont17

    Here in the UK we have so many TV shows about giving up the day job to follow your dream that sometimes I get jealous and want to go and follow my dream – then I remember that I already did! Still, nothing is ever perfect and yesterdays dream can often seem like todays treadmill. We just have to remember what the alternative is – windowless offices, grovelling to systems support, idiot managers… And then when you look at refugees bleeding in the rubble of their own dreams it really makes you feel lucky to have anything at all.

  • Keith


    Thanks for the encouraging words. I agree that there is always room for true professional services. Here in the States, there are too many web designers that don’t understand marketing (for themselves or their clients), professionalism and just plain common courtesy. That’s where I see the opportunity; providing better feedback, better service, delivering a job on time and on budget.

    Hey, that’s why I read Andrew’s blog.

  • nathanwburke

    Well, it’s really strange that this post came today, as I’ve really been doing some soul-searching lately. At times, I dread waking up in the morning to head to work. I’d really love to work for myself, but am worried about things like finding clients, figuring out what to charge, etc. I love working on new projects and love developing and marketing sites and being a consultant may be the right move for me.

    Any advice on how to make that switch?

  • http://www.crystalcleardesigns.com ccdesigns

    Andrew – you are quickly becoming one of my personal heroes and roll models. I incorporated my company when I was 17 and have been doing this with all my heart since – I can honestly say that I really don’t know any other way than trudging my own path.

    A note on a saturated market: yes – but not saturated with good businesses. I can’t tell you how many clients come to us with horror stories. If you don’t cut corners, put your heart into you work, and never settle – your client list will constantly build and the market will start to look seemingly unsaturated.

    A note on bad mornings: don’t do work first thing if you can’t stand waking up to this grind. Go running or to the gym. Then you have something to look forward to in the morning and some energy going into the AM work hours.

    A note on bad pay: you can change this – charge more. You can’t do this however, unless you quantify why you are charging more. If you believe your services deserve more money – explain to your clients why what you are giving to them is going to make them more money. Or explain to your boss why you are more valuable than the next guy.

  • d’biann

    I most certainly get the original post. I am still trying to figure out what to do for my first business, and just can seem to settle on the right thing to do. It’s been more than a year since I made the decision to try to go it alone, and I still haven’t figured out exactly what to go for. Some people say affiliate marketing, some say dropshipping and some say webservices and I just get confused and discouraged.

    I have a bad case of too much information…

  • David

    Right on – I run a web development company with a life long friend. I could earn more elsewhere but I don’t care. I learn everyday and I laugh everyday, for me that is more important.



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