It’s February, and I have another set of earnings for you… a sobering second month.
As an aside, I’ve done a poor job staying on top of the blog posts, so starting March I’ve put a system in place so the next blog posts come out on the first of each month.
February (and subsequently March, but more on that in a couple weeks) was a hard month for me, but not for the reason I had originally deduced. The numbers are/were low…
Even lower than January…
(source: Michael Stidham)
Ack! I messed up and made February’s earnings even worse than January’s earnings.
After a poor showing in January, the worst thing that could’ve possibly happened, happened. I didn’t know it at the time but it was something that would (ironically) disrupt the next 6 weeks of my life and delay this blog post.
I bruised my ego.
As a knee-jerk reaction, I wanted to prove I opened the flood gates on work and took on something I’d avoided in January… Bad projects.
A bad project takes many forms, and I hit a few of them:
- The Tire Kicker – projects where the client isn’t serious about getting work done, they just want to know how much something will cost. These people are (somewhat unsurprisingly) disproportionately unlikely to ever hire you. I ended up having meetings with 5 tire kickers in February.
- The Refund – this is where something comes up that makes the project unable to continue. This one sucks because you’ve already invested significant time into the project by the time this happens. In my case, it was a smaller $135 contract, but it took me 4 hours to figure out it wasn’t just being difficult, it was impossible, and the client backed out.
- The Under Estimate – projects where you estimate the number of hours, and don’t take into account XYZ, which puts your hours through the roof.
- The Noob – projects where you yourself fuck something up. I had a bad one of these, compounded by The Under Estimate above, making a $3,600 project 10x the number of hours I’d estimated.
So what does this all boil down to?
In February I earned $679 (USD)
Whoa. At first glance, we’re way short. Short enough that it hurt to look at, and I couldn’t believe how hard I’d failed.
Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on by bringing some new metrics into the conversation… From here on in, you’ll hear me talk about opening and closing projects. Opening projects means the project has been scoped, estimated, accepted, and escrowed to Codeable.
If all goes well, any project that is opened, will also be closed. A closed project means the work has been delivered, implemented, supported, and paid into my account. (my favourite)
So, in January I closed $1,600 and in February I closed just $679. On the other end of the scale… In January I opened $941 in projects, and in February I opened $4,364.
The reality is it takes companies a while to pay you. Supposing I am hired on a $3,000–$4,000 contract which should take a week… there will be a couple rounds of changes that might take a week each (not of work… of the grotesque bureaucratic life of meetings, emails, communication back-and-forths, etc.), then things are approved, get delivered, then invoiced. This is where communication seems to drop off. As my wise father once told me…
“Everyone’s your friend ’til the rent’s due.”
From a business perspective, this means friendly followups every 3 days until I get paid. In one case, I had a client disappear for weeks on end twice. This $685 project has been gurgling onward at the pace of molasses since January… think of the lost efficiency here!
(source: Michael Stidham)
With those excuses out of the way, what’s in store for March?
The good news to all this is that these opened projects should be closing in the next couple months, and I’m beginning to realize this process won’t be nearly as linear (or red-lined) as I’d initially hoped for.
This is called the Iceberg Illusion. If you’d prefer to see it scientifically laid out on a graph, it looks a little something like this.
This also gives me some foresight to stop working in the trees. Step back and focus on forest. As much as the goal is $8,333 each month, the real goal is, of course, $100,000.
… and even then…
… if I don’t make it in December, it’s not the end of the World…
source: Sean Wes
The goal is $100,000 per year every year, not just this year.
That’s when I snapped out of my 6 week stupor. My New Years resolution hangover is over. I really wanted to have impressive numbers for you all out of the gate, and I didn’t. In fact, my first quarter was pathetically short.
But let’s not let a few missing zero’s cloud the goal.
In the comments, tell me about a time you took on a huge responsibility, and had instant buyer’s remorse when you came to your senses?
How did it turn out?
How did it feel at the time, and looking back how do you feel about it all?