Behind The Scenes – First Quarter Freelancing

first quarter freelancing

Read about my first month here.

I can barely believe three months have passed. It simultaneously feels like I have been running my business forever, and for hardly any time at all!

Here’s a quick summary of how the last three months have been.

Busy

Perhaps this is the best of all, but I really have been busy. SO busy! And loving it, too. I really, really enjoy the work that I do, and I’ve been so very lucky in starting up to have had a flood of work almost immediately. I have got so many exciting projects coming up, and I just can’t wait until I can start sharing them with you. However, in addition to being busy, I have also found the first few months challenging due to:

Unexpected (and expected) delays

First and foremost, I knew that I wouldn’t be working over the Christmas holidays, and I planned as much, but the two week break really made it feel like my business was languishing by the time I returned. I was sad to see the end of the children’s school holidays, but it also felt great to get back to work. I did find that having had two weeks off meant that it stretched my first two projects out far longer than I would have liked. When you are the only one running your business, two weeks is a VERY long time to take out mid-project. Although I planned this, I think in future I need to plan work to start and end either side of holidays, if possible. It is better for my peace of mind.

My Mac broke down AGAIN after being repaired, just before Christmas, so I had another week where I couldn’t work while it was being fixed, which was a complete pain. I used my husband’s laptop to do what I could, but it just isn’t the same as your own work environment. The Mac is back, but I’m still not happy as the screen is now flickering when it comes out of sleep mode (I’ve had the graphics card and the backlight replaced, on two separate trips to the Apple Store). I don’t know what’s going to come of this – I need to take it back in again, but I am just too busy to do it right now. I have a feeling that this is heading in the direction of a new machine which is something I really didn’t want to do at all just yet.

Finally, we had the worst bout of illness in the house after Christmas. Four of the five of us were struck down with the most awful stomach bug. My youngest (she’s 1), ended up with a trip to the hospital as she was so sick and dehydrated. We’re all fine now, but again it was a week where I hardly managed any work hours at all due to being ill myself for two days, and the constant clean-up, washing and tending to sick children. Phew.

Productivity

I had previously decided to use Freedcamp to manage projects, but in reality, I never really got to grips with it. I subsequently abandoned Freedcamp and I have committed pretty wholeheartedly to Omnifocus. It is a very sophisticated to do list manager, and it’s actually perfect for the projects that I’m working on. It’s easy to use and access from my computer and my phone, it has a ton of powerful features, and I’ve been adding more and more into it as the weeks have gone by. I now have all my business and personal to dos and projects in one application, which I much prefer and it seems to be working well. I will do a detailed post on how I’m using Omnifocus (and Evernote!) to manage my projects later this year.

Accounting

I use Waveapps, which is a fantastic site, but bookkeeping in general seems to take a disproportionate amount of my time. I have toyed with the idea of outsourcing this, and I may still do that, but I am going to persevere with trying to keep on top of things myself for now. As with everything, it’s all about business processes, and making sure that they work for you. I think that with a little more effort I can streamline this into something far more manageable that it currently is. A little something for me to work on over the coming months.

Looking Forward

Social media is a big item on my todo list. I have been pretty much absent from social media for business while I’ve been working on client projects, but this is something I’d like to change. I’m still rumbling through my approach to the whole online presence thing, as I don’t want it to become a chore. I haven’t blogged as much as I would have liked (actually, I haven’t blogged at all), so this is something that I’m hoping to give some attention before the summer holidays arrive and the children finish school.

Another couple of things I want to work on providing are 1) a client-facing online calendar where I can display my availability and potential project start dates and b) a client intake process and questionnaire to replace the bulk of the back and forth email/message exchanges at the beginning of project. I mull over all of these things at the end of the day, or when I’m on the school run, and I’d like to bring them out of my head and into being.

So, that’s about it for now. I will have some case studies to share with you next time – I’ll post again at the six month one year mark.

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