The next step?

Richard Charpentier Airstream Blogs, Arizona Photographer, Notes from Rich, RLC Design Leave a Comment

Over the last few weeks I’ve been pondering what the next step should be.  See, the goal of the contract on the East Coast has been realized.  I’m back to square one……

From 1997 through 2008 I was debt free (house excluded).  No balances were carried, debit cards used instead of credit cards, etc.  Unfortunately being sick from 2005 – 2010 was expensive.  Divorce had it’s costs.  And trying to get my small business up and running from 2008 – 2012 had it’s price too.  With all of it combined I found myself building something I had no intention of building.


It was frightening to see credit card balances in my life.  But hey, small business does sometimes take its toll on your wallet.  However, being a guy who had prided himself on no debt, minimal credit card use, etc., the debt scared the tar out of me.

Fortunately, this contract came along.  And with it I found a big shovel to get out of debt.  Glad to say, I’m back to ground zero……. And that’s left me with the question, “Okay, what are we up to now?”

In need of a plan

I’ve always been a planner.  Looking 10 steps ahead.  That changed while I was sick and operating my business in Prescott.  I had to learn to think about the future in very small bites, not multi-year ideas.  But now that I’ve accomplished goal number one I find myself really wanting to start laying out the next goals.

The business that I’m in doesn’t really allow for “life plans.”  It’s a contract role, and things can change on a dime.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  Secondly, after being here more than 7 months I can absolutely say that Ohio / West Virginia isn’t somewhere I want to put roots down.  So, where do I want to land next when the contract is done???  Good question, I’ll take all helpful suggestions.

I am thinking through a few concepts….

  1. Back into wireless:  A few years ago this wasn’t an option.  I knew I wasn’t 100% physically and wireless is a fast paced business that demands a lot of time and attention.  Now that my health is back I could do it again…..if I could get a foot in the door again.  Being out for a few years has left me hard pressed to get by HR managers even though I still know networks better than most folks working on them.
  2. Database Contracting:  This is something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to lately.  Designing ground up builds of tracking and management systems for small to mid-sized businesses.  Given that I developed a fantastic stand alone system in an industry I’m pretty new at, it’s clear I can figure out business workflow and tracking solutions easily.  Combine that with the fact that the solution I designed is also and iOS solution, I think that’s pretty marketable.  But I’m still trying to figure out the logistics of finding clients that would need my design expertise.
  3. Photography Something or Other:  This is the pie in the sky thinking.  Travel with the Airstream again.  Shoot locations.  Find commercial clients.  Instruct Photoshop and Lightroom classes (always had 100% positive reviews from my students).  More instructional videos…..etc.

Option 3 isn’t really an option at the moment.  But it’s out there and I come back to it now and again.  There are so many great photographers and instructors out there (Kelby’s Media group for instance).  I’d need to really figure out a niche that nobody offers currently.

I have thought more and more on option 2.  I could very happily travel the country with the Airstream working with businesses that need management systems, and of course I could fit some photo time in there moving from location to location.  But like I said, how do you begin to find those clients?

Well, whatever I figure out there’s one thing I can say.  The debt is buried and gone.  That’s positive.

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