Growing Online Income

The Emotional Roller Coaster of Freelancing

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If you’ve looked at my monthly income reports, you’ll know I’m doing pretty well in the grand scheme of things.

I earn a good wage, am my own boss and I work flexible hours.
Everything sounds peachy, doesn’t it? And while it’s certainly not bad, there are the highs and lows of freelancing that I am finding hard to adjust to.

Previously, in my old jobs, it didn’t matter really how busy or quiet the store was, I would get paid roughly the same amount. When I studied at University I had a job selling jewellery and there was some commission, so the better I sold the more money in my pocket. However, I was guaranteed a set wage for just showing up, which made life a lot easier.

The month of July has been very weird for me. June was a bit unstable, too. It’s been freaking me out!

As I’m moving away in 10 days, my partner and I were hoping for a busy month. It has been one of our quietest months, ever.

The first week of the month I started to feel really stressed, as I had only done $1,000 in deals. While $1,000 is a good weekly wage, you need to remember that I have a number of expenses too – such as my two virtual assistants, my writers and so on. That $1,000 pie winds up being a lot smaller before I get a piece of it.

When I made $21,000 back in May, I was doing over $5,000 a week, so to drop down to $1,000 was very noticeable.

To be honest, I freaked out a little bit. I started to wonder if I had exhausted all my contacts and was simply a drought.

In my mind I knew that it was the holidays in the UK and people were probably too busy with summer to care about working with me, but it didn’t stop it from being frustrating and scary – at the same time.

The other thing I’ve never experience before when working, is that money feels personal. When I don’t hear back from clients, or clients aren’t interested in advertising with me on certain campaigns, even when I know they have new work – it’s hard not to take it personally.
I have been freaking out all month, but I hope things will pick up in these last ten days, ensuring we have a great start to our holiday.
Here are some tips of things I’ve been doing over the past month to deal with the emotional roller coaster of freelancing:

1) Look at the month as a whole not individually:
In my work there seems to be monthly fluctuations: usually the first week is relatively quiet, the second week picks up speed, the third week is busy too and then the last week tends to either be crazy or dead – the business of the last week tends to signal whether I’ll have a ‘good’ or ‘great’ month, there’s really no knowing until then. So there are busy weeks and there are quiet weeks and they seem to follow a pattern but not always.

2) Look at the overall trend:
If I looked at my figures for June next to May, I’d probably be disappointed. I saw almost a $6,000 drop from May to June. However, if I looked at the past year as a whole, I would see an overall upward trend. That’s a good thing. Of course the months where my biggest clients are taking their summer breaks are going to be quieter, so it’s just a bit of a road bump on an otherwise upward road.

Honestly, I haven’t started diversifying yet – expect a whole bunch of posts on that when I get ready. I guess in some ways this blog is my start at diversification, but I still want to start new projects. As traveling with a partner and working online is going to be a new combination for me, I’ve mentally allowed myself until we get to Panama to decide what I would like to work on next! I am also contemplating applying for some high paying freelance writing gigs to provide some monthly stability, but I’m not sure being paid per hour is going in the wrong direction.

When I start to build up a more diverse source of income, it will help prevent the crazy highs and lows I am experiencing.

Do you find it stressful being self employed and seeing dramatic changes in your income?

How do you deal with the roller coaster of being self employed? I’d love your tips.