Update Post: Rethinking this Blog, Starting a Business, Planning our Exit
Starting from today, readers of The Origami Life can count on a new post
every Tuesday - with the occasional experimental post on Fridays.
Despite running a blog, Jennie and I like to keep our cards close. The risk of oversharing online is real - go too far in one direction and our life becomes performance art. We want to be thoughtful about what we put out there, and at least try to add value to a reader's life.
What we’ve learned over the past year is:
Not every success is worthy of celebration. Not every failure is worthy of analysis.
Life is spontaneous. It doesn’t always fit neatly inside a listicle.
The Origami Life Update:
Rethinking the Blog, Starting a Business,
Planning our Exit
January has been a busy month for the Origami couple:
1. We created a content plan for The Origami Life.
This year, due to an increasing workload in other areas, we want to be less carefree and more intentional with this blog. Last year, we published whenever we felt like it. In 2018, we’re setting minimum expectations so that people know exactly what they’re getting from us - and when they’re getting it.
To that end, we spent the first week of 2018 at our favorite donut shop doing a MEGA brainstorming session. We broke out the Excel (the E), jotted down themes we would focus on each month, plus a list of potential ideas for each week. We’re also establishing a regular publishing cadence moving forward.
TL;DR: New post every Tuesday for the rest of the year.
2. We took a long weekend trip to San Diego.
San Diego is like the boutique version of Los Angeles. Here are some recommendations from our three day trip:
Oscar’s Mexican Seafood for fish tacos: we spent $10 a person for too many tacos
Phil’s BBQ for ribs: we split a full rack of ribs + sides for $28 after tax and tip
3. We celebrated 4 years of marriage with another fight...this time over gingerbread cookies.
It’s that time again. Jennie and I fight every single year on both of our anniversaries (marriage and relationship). This year’s argument was as stupid as it sounds. It was a fight over whether one of us (me) needed permission to eat the other’s (Jennie’s) gingerbread cookies.
Jennie’s note: He ate my goddamn cookies because I said he couldn’t. He doesn’t even like cookies. (Ivan: two cookies. I ate two) AND for good measure, he broke my cookies into 100+ pieces in a blind rage. My poor cookies...
4. We set up an LLC and officially launched our business.
Origami Partners LLC. That’s the name of our client services company. Over the past 8-10 months, we’ve made steady progress on our goal of earning $2,500 in freelance income a month. About six months ago, we made a breakthrough, but we didn’t want to jinx ourselves by writing about it. Look for more future posts on how we’re turning a side hustle into replacement income - and breaking free from the 9-to-5 lifestyle.
5. We took advantage of the Chase Banking bonuses and collected $700 in January.
Chase and other banking institutions offer new account sign-up bonuses all the time. Armed with our fuck-off fund, we took advantage of these offers in January. We opened a business checking account and got $200 from Chase with a $1,000 deposit. Then I opened a personal checking and savings account and was paid another $500 - just by moving my direct deposit and our fuck off fund from one bank to another. Having a fuck-off fund: it really is the gift that keeps on giving.
6. We billed our first clients for the year as a business.
Over the past 6 to 8 months, we’ve been slowly building up a roster of clients that we hope to take with us on our round the world trip. January 2018 was the first month we billed them as Origami Partners LLC. It felt surreal and amazing. We’re both excited to begin this strange, new chapter of our life.
7. We booked two months apart from each other in February and March
Late last year, we both looked at each other and realized we had a ton of stuff to do before we leave in September 2018. So at the beginning of the year, we broke down what each of us would need to get things done. It turned out that after nearly 9 years together, both of us needed some time apart. So I booked a $400 roundtrip ticket to Taiwan (and rented a cottage out in the countryside) so that we could both get some “me” time.
8. Ivan’s setting aside 30 days in a cabin to finish his novel.
I know a cabin in the countryside is an indulgence, but I’m justifying this as an early 30th birthday present to myself. Toward the end of last year, I realized that I couldn’t live with myself if I went off on our RTW trip without finishing my novel. I’m 45,000 words in, and the longer this thing festers inside me, the harder I’m going to be to travel with. So when I saw a $400 flight deal to Taipei and a $235 a month cabin out in the remote countryside, I felt like I had to do it. I feel pretty grateful to be married to a partner who understands.
9. Jennie’s asking for another raise (because she’s worth more).
There are two ways of thinking about this: the normal person’s way and the sociopath’s way.
A normal human being might say: “I’ve got 7 months left before I leave, plus the freelance income is picking up - why go through the hassle?”
A sociopath would say: “When I don’t need something - is literally the best time to ask for it. Plus, what are they gonna do? Fire me so I can leave for my RTW trip sooner? Oh no. Whatever will I do.”
Editor's note: To be clear, this was Ivan's take on my raise.
10. We booked our Round The World (RTW) first stop on September 1st, 2018
We’ve decided to head west from Los Angeles on our RTW trip. First stop: a rustic cottage in Kauai, Hawaii for 15 days.
What We’d Like to Do Differently Around Here
Confession time: on some days, I catch myself acting like a 80 year old man.
“Look at me! Look how clever and wise I am. Kids these days, they just don’t understand how the world works.”
This is the downside of having plans and routines. After a while, you start to become rigid. Too sure of yourself. Less open to new ideas. Maybe that's why I've been feeling dissatisfied with my more recent posts. I think this “rigidity” is holding me back from becoming a better writer and storyteller. Or as Jennie likes to put it: “What if you didn’t have a stick up your butt?”
I think there’s value in creating a world and inviting readers to live in it, rather than telling them what the rules are and to not touch anything. There’s value in telling stories that make people feel something deeper than a logical transfer of ideas or that first knee-jerk response.
So that’s what we’re aiming for this year: more personal stories and more experiments on what this blog can be.