Is a good one, right?
This, for me, was meant to be the year to go big or go Galt.
I don't actually have the assets to go Galt; not around here, at any rate.
Going moderately big ought to have been easy. Five years ago, expanding my consulting business beyond the back bedroom would have involved finding a few hundred square feet of bare-bones light-industrial space to rent for maybe 50 cents per square foot per month... which, back then, could be found within easy walking distance of home.
Alas, the nearby low-rent industrial park turned out to have been bulldozed. Ditto anything else of a low-rent character. Unless I could guarantee an extra $1000 or so a month in income from the theoretically-expanding business... and commit to a multi-year lease, subject to bulldozing at any time... expansion just wasn't on. If you have neither big cash flow lined up, nor $10 million in venture capital, forget it. (And don't even get me started on the complexities of trying to launch a small tech venture in California in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, taxes, and such. Looks like something one shouldn't even contemplate these days without a lawyer and an accountant on staff, and I don't have the budget for those, either.)
Meanwhile, a friend and business associate had big plans for expanding his business, in which he proposed to make me a partner (a notion which had been in the air for a few years). Alas, halfway through the year he was diagnosed with lymphoma, which had gone unnoticed in the early (and curable) stages because he'd been watching Duck Dynasty*, decided Beards Are Cool**, and had grown one, which hid the lumpy lymph nodes.
Thus it came to pass that a large and ever-increasing portion of my work time went to trying to keep his business alive (mainly finishing up a project which had developed a case of Advanced Murphy), while the doctors tried to keep him alive. Unsuccessfully, in both cases. Now I'll be working with his family and another associate to wind down the business and see what we can salvage. If you have a business and a family? Make darn sure you keep good business records, that you keep them where they can be found, and that there's a doomsday file that your family can find, with all the account information, passwords, pointers to where you buried the pillowcase full of Bitcoins, and so on.
That, and my month and a half of incapacitation during the summer with nasty leg cramps, kind of put the kibosh on (a) fun, (b) following through on my collection of product ideas and prototypes, and (c) going walkabout in late summer.
Still, I did pick up a new client, who has no end of Cool Stuff for me to do, albeit funding for only a small subset of it at this point.
And so I come skidding to the end of the year, frazzled, exhausted, short of cash, and with a big stale number in Accounts Receivable looking heavily discounted, but still breathing. And walking.
In 2014, though: definitely walkabout, without fail. In spring. Timing and itinerary uncertain, because, hey, walkabout!
And maybe - just maybe - I'll find an opportunity to go at least semi-Galt for a while. Or go Oliver Wendell Douglas. And, after I've had a chance to rest up, Big might be an option - just not in California.
* In the 24th and a Half Century!
** Said no time lord ever.