I haven't updated this in a while, this is a fat thread!
I've stuck with freelancing so far, got some good regular clients, working much less in my day job, hopefully will be leaving some time this year for good.
Also, it appears since my last post, I had another baby, lol. This complicates things even more. But also, I noticed after having a 3rd kid, the family needs me as much as the day job does. So many times I have to come home, illnesses, hospital visits, whatever. Working from home would be a huge plus at this point in my life. I need to be more available and set my own schedule more.
The challenging part now is organizing my little business, it's still just me doing everything, and this is already hurting as it pertains to savings and record keeping and taxes and all the junk I have to do that is unpaid time. I know, there are personal assistants that can do this stuff, but I have no extra cash for paying anybody anything yet, not even a tax man. We got hit with over $3000 in taxes due. On one hand this is good cause it shows I had a lot more freelance income this year, but I never tried to calculate for any pretax payments or whatever. There is SO much stuff to keep track of and balance and prepare for.
What I have to do is reverse engineer our income needs and then figure out how to make that. At this point, if I'm charging, say, $65/hr for freelance work, I would have to be billing 6 or 7 hours each weekday to get the income where it needs to be. But I find this goal not very tenable. Freelancing is really hit and miss as far as when there is work to do, and I can only attempt balancing so many active clients.
With 10 clients there can still be two weeks with nothing to do. But if 2 clients have heavy projects and tight deadlines, I'm suddenly swamped. It's very stressful sometimes, there is really no way to just have a nice constant flow of work for a clean 6 hours of billable daily time. Everything is random.
Also, this income will top out eventually. I mean, even if I can bill $65/hr and get 8 hour days, this limits the top end of my income, so I have to scale somehow. I can charge more, which might make finding clients harder. Or I can try to find some flat rate work at much higher amounts. A single $10k job that takes me a month is nice, but can I get one of those a month consistently? Doubtful.
A huge job for $20-$30k without a tight deadline is something I can trickle out over 6 months or the whole year, but where would I find that work if I'm not at the top of my field? These types of clients aren't typically looking for small town freelancers. That isn't really my market.
So basically my challenges are:
- Consistent clients/work and/or finding large cost jobs that even out my income over time.
- Streamline and make very efficient the record keeping and billing/taxes/receipts crap that wastes my time.
- Expand marketing to find clients from more networks (currently still on Upwork and word-of-mouth only). I'd like clients to find me and reach out to me, versus me spending lots of time trying to find them and sending proposals that take a lot of time to write.
- Figure out how to scale income to get past natural limits of hourly-labor work.
- Still need to quit the day job. It's still a surprisingly stressful and big decision when I've got 4 people depending on me. If I leave that job, I would not be able to find another in this town with decent wages in any decent amount of time, we'd be screwed. I have to make freelancing work, period! But on the other hand, this last billing cycle I only made from them about $330 a week, which is like nothing for having to show up there three times in those weeks.
- Education is always on the list. I have like 200 books on subjects relating to my craft and skills and business and marketing and all things between. Plus I'm registered in about 30 online courses with similar subjects from programming to web design to graphics and marketing and business management. Nobody pays me to take my course and read, so they don't get high priority. Making money always gets priority, and everything else starts falling apart.
So goes the journey!