This week marks my one-year anniversary away from the television news business. Since the first of June 2004 I have been self-employed, operating a video production business, Rain Dog Pictures and a video ministry, The ACTS Network.
I had often dreamed of going out on my own but couldn’t muster the courage to leave teh newsroom and a steady paycheck. My last employer helped me with that. To clarify, I was offered a new 3-year contract but did not sign it. Five months later, they told me they were pulling their offer and for me to get my things.
So…here’s what I’ve learned in the last 365 days about myself, being a small business owner and local tv news:
1) The TV News industry is hurting. Many viewers have left and aren’t coming back.
2) I don’t really mind not being “on tv”.
3) It takes a long time for people to notice you’re gone from tv. Every day someone asks me how I got off work today and when I tell them I no longer work for the tv station they’re surprised.
4) Health insurance for my family (my biggest concern about not working for the man) can be a better deal than the high premiums corporate America charges.
5) Technology is changing the way people get their information and news.
6) Having a television on in your office can decrease your productivity.
7) But it’s nice during baseball season and during the Masters golf tournament.
8) And the NCAA tournament
9) and during NASCAR qualifying.
10) and when there’s bonifide breaking news that the networks are covering
11) When there’s bad weather it’s a lot more comfortable staying inside than standing on a road telling people to stay at home.
12) A lot of local television news during sweeps months stinks.
13) Some tv people have very thin skins when someone questions how and why they do things. (and they can be pretty rude about it)
14) news directors that don’t have a blog, should be more careful in posting anonymous comments to other blogs. (if you write how you talk everyone knows who the anonymous comment is from)
15) But please, don’t stop.
16) taking a vacation in may is the same as any other month, but it’s nice to know you can do it.
17) Poor planning causes chaos. I don’t miss chaos.
18) 40-hour weeks don’t exist for the self-employed. Try 80 or 90. Every day. Including holidays and weekends.
19) but it doesn’t feel like work
20) Setting your own schedule to put in those 80-90 hours is priceless.