January was a big one for me… First earnings/income report is a doozy. This post was 99% finished on January 28th, yet here I am on February 12th nervously checking everything over to make sure I’ve “covered it” all.
When I announced the $100,000 challenge I sent out the Facebook post, and got some cool feedback from my friends and mom (hi mom), but it got a bit of traction in my online business groups and circles I hang out in, and before long people I’d never heard of were following me on Twitter, and a bunch of people I’ve never met signed up to receive emails on the journey. It was super exciting!
And then reality set in… These people want me to hit $100,000. It’s gotta happen.
(source: Michael Stidham)
So let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The information you all came here to see…
Let’s talk about the bane of my stress levels… the rash decision I made one evening after a glass of wine… Putting together enough pitches and ideas together, to make enough business owners happy enough that I earn enough money to add up to $100,000 by the end of the year – fair and square – from freelance work.
If the goal is $100,000 this year, then I need to make $8,333 per month each and every month, which is $2,084 each and every week, which is $416 (and change) each and every day.
In January I earned a paltry $1,600 (USD)
I was a little depressed about it at first.
Of all the months I wanted to knock it out of the park, January was a big one for me.
But when I looked over what I did and had time to mull everything over some more, I ultimately decided I’m pretty happy with where things are at. So let’s talk about what is keeping my spirits so high…
I knew I’d be taking a small dip in income moving from a Consulting/sales role with my consulting agency, and into a freelancer role where I’m in the trenches coding and programming the solutions myself.
I didn’t get started until January 9 – two things caused this. First, I was home visiting Vancouver until the 29th, straight through to a wedding, then New Years Eve, then in-laws, then a post-Christmas celebration, then my sister- and brother-in-laws… This pushed the work I was doing pre-Christmas far late into the new year and caused a backlog shit slide, pushing everything down the calendar.
From there, I had remaining projects from 2016 to finish off and get paid for (all but one are finished now), and I needed to keep them moving. The reality is, the projects I opened in the last week of January won’t be paid until well into February. Like any business relationship, there’s a delay from when I give them an Invoice and say “okay, here’s what you owe me,” and they give me the money; this can be anywhere from days to weeks. On top of that, sometimes there is an extra round of changes, and sometimes things just take longer than expected.
Another priority at the start of 2017 was clearing up my books and accounting from last year. I slacked on this all year long last year and had a lot of catching up to do. It was my second time doing my books and, frankly, I’m not efficient at it. Procrastinating for the whole year was bad planning on my part and came back to bite me in the ass… but the idea for $100,000 came late in the year, too, so… it is what it is, and here we are.
Then we get into the meat and potatoes… I’m just starting out on Codeable and my profile scares people away. A lot of the developers on there have 100+ finished projects. Some of them have 1,000+ finished projects… Me? I had 7 completed projects on January 1st. Potential clients look to your profile when deciding who to hire – seeing someone with 564 finished projects is more attractive than someone with 7 finished projects, so over time, we know that picking up projects will get easier. I had to estimate a lot of projects before the first person accepted my estimate. It was an under-budgeted project that no one else was bidding on, and seeing it go stale I figured it was something to get started with and get those all-needed 5 golden stars at the top of my profile. On my second contract, it was far easier. Third was easier yet. It’s possible the road to 100 completed projects will be harder than the road to $100,000.
I also started up a secret mini-project of my own that might come in handy down the road (or could fail miserably) that I’m not ready to talk about yet, but with a bit of luck this will become something fun to introduce you to. Not much to say on this, but the first two weeks of January were spent getting my ducks in a row, and setting myself up for a bit of success.
(source: Michael Stidham)
With those excuses out of the way, what’s in store for February?
Here’s to hoping I fare better in February. I’m beginning to find my groove in the way of constantly having projects at all stages (roughly: discussion, estimating, negotiation, project opened, worked on, supported, and project closed), but the balance between too much and too little is a delicate dance.
A couple of my initial clients have come back with more work, so this cuts down on the time I’ll need to spend looking for work in the future. Less time chatting and estimating, more time getting work done. These smaller $75–$200 projects will help pad things out as time rolls on, I believe.
Can’t wait to see how things pan out. It might be a little early to ask anyone to join along, but in the name of improvement… what are you working on in February? Comment below, anything goes!