Part of the on-the-road blogchain + expand

9 Years on the Road

Today is my 9th indie-versary, the anniversary of quitting my last full time job1. Every year I write a set of reflections on how it’s going, taking the time to reflect back.

I ended last year’s recap with this note:

I’m going to pull myself out of this identity slump by sheer force of will. Watch me (tune in next year to see how that goes).

Oof. What a year it’s been. Turns out I managed to do this but it took ALL. DAMN. YEAR. For most of this year, something was blocked. I felt stuck, paralyzed and confused.

First, the Highlights

The Numbers

This year wasn’t my best year for consulting (that was 2018) and it wasn’t my best year for the SEO MBA (that was 2022) but combined this year nudged into my best revenue year ever (blue = consulting, red = SEO MBA):

This year the SEO MBA is back in balance with my consulting revenue, about ~30% of my consulting income.

Stuck to Unstuck

I tried therapy, I tried an executive coach, I tried joining random slack communities. I tried yelling, I tried crying. I tried sitting at my computer for days, hours, weeks at a time. I tried hiding.

I tried a bunch of things - figma thinkers cohort, SEO MBA live cohort, joining random discord groups. This kind of flailing did not feel like play. But perhaps it should have. Acknowledging that I was going through an identity transition and leaning into the playful nature of it could have helped?

Ultimately working with my executive coach was the kind of emotional

If you want to get a taste of exactly how and why I was stuck listen here:

In Working Identity, Herminia Ibarra argues that the process of transitioning from one career to another is both usually and necessarily messy and disordered, more like playing than like planning. During a transition, it can seem like nothing is happening, or too much is happening, or somehow both simultaneously. Often someone in the middle of a transition experiences a lot of pressure, both internally and from kin, to stop fucking around and get on with it. But that may be profoundly the wrong advice.


After running the live cohort at the start of the year, the SEO MBA has mostly been on hiatus while I developed and launched the next iteration. It’s a separate brand but definitely an evolution of the same idea: that

Evolution of the ideas in the SEO MBA and hopefully inclusive of ideas like the Figma Thinkers cohort that Nate and I ran this year.

I just f*(&^)ing LOVE consulting

Listen. It’s a privilege to be able to do consulting work

What does the work look like?

I’ve continued the idea of doing work that is P&L-first

Open questions:

  1. How to find another anchor client that is in the US, not Australia…
  2. How to find clients willing to bring you into the executive team (and/or how to accelerate your journey from consultant to advisor)

The book is coming!

My close friend Brian created a little book of testimonials and blurbs for my book and handed it to me on my 40th birthday party. It floored me. You are the best Brian. And thank you to everyone who included a blurb. The overwhelming support for the book is a real driving force and I love you all.

The good news is that the book is coming! I’ve been jamming with fellow indie consultant Tim Casasola on the outline and structure for the book and I think I’m finally arrived at somewhere I’m happy with. The book is entering the final stretch and I’m hopeful to

Thanks to Paul Millerd and Erica Heinz for countless self-publishing questions AND emotional support and encouragement. They’ve both put incredible and beautiful self-published books out in the world and I’m grateful for both of them.


Writing has given me everything. And Twitter’s woes have meaningfully disrupted this whole ecosystem but I need to return to a regular blogging cadence and remember that despite all it’s flaws RSS is responsible for the whole caboodle. Some things I wrote this year I’m proud of:

I didn’t publish as much this year as I’d like. Yes, I’ve fractured my writing across a few newsletters and blogs now but it’s important that I keep this habit going. After all, a blog post is a very long and complex search query to find fascinating people and make them route interesting stuff to your inbox

The Network

Oh my. It’s the people stupid. I feel so incredibly grateful and thankful for everyone who has showed up to support me. Twitter, private discord groups, DMs, coffee shops. The distributed indie thinking cognistnti

So, What’s Next Kid?

Well, more writing obviously? Even projects like Little Futures continue to surface in interesting spaces.

In buckets:



The Book:


  1. Well, actually it’s October 24th, but since having kids deadlines are a mere illusion, shadows of their former selves. 

This blog is written by Tom Critchlow, an independent strategy consultant living and working in Brooklyn, NY. If you like what you read please leave a comment below in the comments or sign up for my newsletter.