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Anna Spysz on how she made more Zloty after going to bootcamp

  1. #1
    Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Dark Matter [my scoffingly uncritical tinning]
    In the winter and spring of 2018, I attended a full-time, full-stack coding bootcamp; it ended up being the best investment of my career. After graduation, I took a month off to finish some more app projects, polish my resume, go to Mexico (because por que no?), and begin the job hunt. In June, I somehow landed an internship at an amazing startup. In July, that internship turned into a full-time job, and I’ve been happily there ever since.

    As someone used to being my own boss and setting my own schedule (not to mention living a nomadic lifestyle), working full-time in one place has certainly been an adjustment, but given the amazing team I work on and how much I get to learn every single day, in addition to all the hats I get to wear at work, it’s one I’m actually quite happy with.

    As 2018 was no longer a year of freelancing, I feel the need to finish out this series, and with it, this blog (more on that at the very end). But because I still love charts, I’ll throw some in for my own entertainment.

    So, on to the charts!

    A little background: every year since I became a freelancer in 2011, I’ve summarized my earnings and expenses in order to keep myself accountable, see where my money was going, and try to do better the next year. Here are 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015-2016, and 2017.

    Here come the charts!
    Here is the breakdown of my income in 2018, by category:

    Well, it’s pretty telling where my focus was this year: coding. Considering I was living off my savings for the first part of the year (that’s the “Other” category) and had no other income, that one’s a no-brainer. It’s also been many years since my book came out, so royalties are not surprisingly slumping.

    Chances are, that’s what my income will look like for the next few years.

    Portland is still expensive as hell, but a career change made it possible for me to stay here.

    My main workspace for 2018.

    Goals for 2019 and beyond
    I’m happy to say, I met all of my goals from the previous year (minus the bonus goal of visiting two new countries, as I was only able to add Mexico to the list). Canada awaits for 2019!

    My goals for 2019 are pretty big, comparatively, and may take until 2020 to reach - and that’s ok:

    continue growing as a developer: take advantage of being employed by an awesome startup full of talented engineers that I get to learn from every day
    buy a house: yup, homeownership is a step I’m finally ready for - let’s hope the Portland housing market cooperates
    keep traveling: travel has been a priority throughout my entire life, and while I’m diverting all of my extra money towards saving for a house right now, I still need to set aside some for much-needed adventures or I’ll go crazy
    bonus: visit a new country (Canada, you’re like right there!)
    Farewell, Saving Ink

    And with this post, I close this blog for good. While it’s existed for a decade, to be honest I haven’t given it the attention it deserves since around 2015.

    Saving Ink was the blog of my 20s: all about travel, writing and freelancing. Now that I’m firmly in my 30s, I have a new home for my (far more occasional) writing, and most of my time is being devoted to getting better at my new career.

    Thank you for reading.

    MAR. 10 2019
    Freelancing, by the Numbers: 2017
    Or, the year I stopped worrying and learned to stay put… mostly.
    In 2017, I moved back to the U.S. after 11 years abroad (great timing, I know), and I had to deal with the realities of moving to a city that’s four times as expensive as the one I had been living in, while continuing to try to make it as a freelancer. TL;DR: It’s hard. Being poor again sucks.

    A little background: every year since I became a freelancer in 2011 (OK, sometimes every two), I’ve summarized my earnings and expenses in order to keep myself accountable, see where my money was going, and try to do better the next year. (Here are 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015-2016.) This year was less about doing better, and more about not starving to death in one of the most expensive cities in America. In fact, that was my only goal for 2017 last year: to not go completely broke. On that end, I managed to succeed… barely.

    Here come the charts!
    Here is my breakdown of my income in 2017, by category:

    Wow - 86% writing (92% if you count book royalties as well). Since my goal has generally been to earn half my income from writing, that’s not bad at all. However, a caveat: “Writing” this year was a very broad category. It included planning, researching, writing, and recording online coursework based on a book on entrepreneurship I had published the previous year. It also included producing a new version of said book. All in all, as the hours below will show, I spent only about half that time actually writing, though it was all time well spent learning new skills (guess who can now add screencasting to their resume?).

    So here are some obvious takeaways: cost of living in Portland is a lot higher than cost of living in Krakow (or anywhere in Poland). Whereas last year rent and utilities made up 15% of my budget, and groceries were 6%, this year rent and utilities made up 20% and groceries 11%. Then there’s the fact that I paid four to five times as much for phone and internet for far worse service than I had had in Poland. And, even though we were too broke to really go out and mostly ate at home, eating and drinking out in Portland is so expensive that those categories still made up 5 and 7 percent of my budget, respectively.

    True to my prediction, I also traveled a lot less in 2017 (4% of my budget on vacation compared to 13% last year), making 2017 the first year in ages when I didn’t visit a new country (huge sad face on that one). I also invested a lot less (4% vs. 15% last year) and burned through my savings rather than saving anything. Really, the only upside about life in Portland is my health care expenses were cut down to 0% (thanks, Obamacare!), though now having to have a car for the first time in 12 years and having to pay for gas and insurance more than made up for that.

    All in all: Portland is expensive as hell. Thus, I need a career change.

    Here are my hours worked:

    Not too shabby on this end. Since I was earning and spending in dollars this year, I managed to raise my per hour average rate by about $12 compared to Poland, though since my expenses quadrupled that didn’t make much of a difference. I did work more hours total, though this was largely concentrated in a six-month period over the spring, summer, and fall when I was working on the online coursework and book projects. Most of winter was spent looking for work, panicking, applying to bootcamps/scholarships, and, if I have to be completely honest, playing Assassin’s Creed Origins. 2018 will be drastically different on that end.

    Goals for 2018
    My only goals from last year were to not go completely broke (success, I suppose, as I broke even on my savings) and to earn some money coding. The latter went nowhere in 2017, but is at the forefront of 2018, as I will be starting a three-month, full-stack developer bootcamp next week. So here are the goals for 2018:

    become employable as a developer: this will allow me to earn a real salary, gain new skills, and eventually return to freelancing or launch a startup as a developer.
    earn at least $60k: sadly, this is the minimum wage I need to afford to live in Portland while also investing in my Roth IRA, building my savings back up, and saving to buy property in 2019.
  2. #2
    Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Dark Matter [my scoffingly uncritical tinning]

    Knocking out a bestseller ain't no thang for Anna Spysz.
  3. #3
    aldra JIDF Controlled Opposition
    you should invite her here

    PS. Anna and zloty now appear to be memes
  4. #4
    Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Dark Matter [my scoffingly uncritical tinning]
    Originally posted by aldra you should invite her here

    I might do. She can teach us about Poland and Polish culture.
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