Luis and Katie are a freelancing couple who live in Austin, TX and are using Catch as a starting point for their family's savings and full set of benefits.
Tell us a bit about the work you're doing.
Luis: I'm a freelance product designer and frontend developer. I help early-stage companies define, design, and build the beginning versions of their products. I've been a co-founder of a SaaS startup in the past and enjoy the energy and creativity that exists in early-stage companies. I hope to continue to focus on this space and one day be a founder again.
Katie: I create and sell handmade functional and decorative pottery inspired by my desert roots. I’m an artist resident at Dougherty Art's Center, an art school here in Austin. In exchange for helping out with classes, I get access to the studio and all the equipment. It’s a great opportunity and I'm trying to take full advantage of it.
I’m trying to build as much as possible, so I’m designing a bunch of different forms in a variety of styles. I do mostly functional work like bowls, mugs, and cups. I’m planning to start selling at local markets and online soon. I'm also learning web design from Luis and we've been working together with several clients.
How did you get started doing this work?
Luis: I’ve been developing for about 9-10 years. I started in high school, just dabbling. I started doing it more seriously in college. As a side-hustle, I would build custom websites for real estate agents and that took off. So out of college, I launched my own software company focused on building real estate marketing tools with a couple of my friends. We did that for about 5 years, we reached about 11 employees, and then we closed the company in 2019.
Katie: I’m a registered dietitian by training. I did that for about 4 years. I worked in a combination of different settings, including at a big hospital doing inpatient work. I also joined another dietician in her private practice, which was more my speed. I did that in addition to the big hospital. I got a little bit burnt out from doing counseling work. It is really emotionally draining, so I decided to take a break.
When we decided to move that was kind of an opportunity to step back and reassess and see if that’s what I really wanted to do. So now, I'm focusing on learning web design part-time and focus on building my pottery business.
What do you love about the work you're currently doing?
Luis: I love being able to own the planning and build-out of an entire project. After we closed our business, we moved to Austin and I worked as an employee at a larger company. It was a bit of a shock. The biggest shock for me wasn’t having a boss, it was having to specialize and focus on just one part of the business. I was so used to being involved in every aspect of our company. Having to focus on building a piece of a feature without having visibility into the rest of the system or 'why' this feature was needed was frustrating so that didn't last.
Katie: We love being able to work remotely and having that flexibility in our schedules. I can focus on our web contracts at our set hours, and then I can go into the studio and work on something that would otherwise dry and crack. Pottery is time-sensitive, so it's good to be able to work when I need to.
How are you using Catch?
Luis: We've set up Time Off, Taxes, and Health Insurance with Decent. We're working on saving up a little nest egg to hopefully buy the home we want soon. I'm super excited to try the Autopilot feature. I think it'll be super useful, but with the uncertainty around work [due to COVID-19], I want to be extra cautious about what I transfer out of my bank account, so, for now, I'm keeping things manual.
Katie: We've been pretty impressed with all Catch has to offer. I didn’t realize there was one company that would be a starting place for all of our benefits and tax management.
What are your goals for your career and beyond for the next 3-5 years?
Luis: I’d like to launch another software company. I don’t have anything that moves me right now. I have some ideas and experiments that I’m trying out on the side, but nothing I’m ready to start on full-time. I’d like to either start something on my own or if I find a team that’s working on something really interesting and I like the founders and their mission, I’d like to be one of the early employees who comes in and helps them grow.
Katie: I would love for pottery to become a full-time thing. I would love for that to be able to bring in a substantial amount of income but I’m also enjoying what I’m learning in terms of web development. So it might end up being a combination of the two.
I’ve had the idea that I could maybe specialize in helping and supporting artists with what they need on their web platforms and online stores. I’ve been working on my site and we’re trying to integrate my website with Etsy and there aren’t a lot of resources to learn how to do that seamlessly, so I think that could be a business opportunity now that I understand the process. I know it’ll take some time to build up my work in pottery, but I am definitely not going to give that up anytime soon.
What are some of the hardest parts of being a couple who both freelances?
Luis: Something that I wasn’t aware of, or didn’t think about in terms of freelancing is housing. If we want to buy a home in the next year, even if we have enough money saved, the mortgage process is tougher without a W2 job. I have a friend who is also self-employed and does great, but he couldn’t be on the mortgage application even though he made enough money just because he was self-employed. Soon there will be a time when we'll have to think about what our options are when it comes to buying a home.
Katie: The hardest part has always been insurance and benefits. I’m used to having a job that has a 401k and full health benefits and so this has been a point of contention for us. Before Catch, we were talking about how maybe one of us would have to get a job so that we could have health benefits. We both are these airy dreamers who want to do our own thing so it was hard to decide. Needless to say, we're happy we found Catch.