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September 2008 was the last time I sat in a cubicle, wearing high heels and making money for someone else. Far from having the 7-year itch, I’m pretty much bursting with excitement and gratitude for so many things. To name a few…

1. Freedom to travel and work from anywhere: I’ve written before about my location-independent life. If I can get online, I can work, and that’s awesome. I’ve spent time in Argentina, Thailand, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico– working throughout!

2. Jobs that take me all over the place: Even when I’m not traveling for fun, I have cool gigs that send me to cool places: from India and Morocco to an Indian reservation in North Carolina.

3. Awesome colleagues and collaborators! I absolutely love my ever-growing hive. Beyond outsourcing and sharing work, I’ve just started an online “water cooler” with 3 other independent researchers– we dish about everything from good videographers to time management.

4. Amazing clients! My rule is that everything I work on has to be lucrative, interesting, or with people I really like– preferably all three. I’ve hit the last one on the money, working almost exclusively with lovely clients who respect research, know what they don’t know, and are just genuinely nice, smart, reasonable people.

5. Referrals. I do all kinds of things to get new business, but more than anything else, my clients come from other clients. It is such a great feeling to know someone was so happy with my work that they were willing to recommend me.

6. Pushing my limits. As an employee, I never had the experience of being handed something I had NO CLUE how to approach. Now, following my “just say yes” policy, I’ve been able to take on all kinds of new things– and as such, I’m never bored. Conjoint analysis? Mail surveys? Training interviewers? Yes! Yes! Yes! Bring it on!

7. FreshBooks!! I just have to give some love to my favorite tool, which lets me track expenses, create good-looking invoices, and run fantastic reports at tax time (my accountant LOVES me!).

Here’s to the next 7 years!

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