As some of you may know, I write for a living. Since I don’t have any well-selling books under my belt, I earn my living as a freelancer. If I don’t write, I don’t make money. That’s bad considering I’m supposed to be supporting a family of five.
As a freelancer, the payment terms vary depending on the type of client. Some are cash-on-delivery, others pay bi-monthly, and others pay monthly. Lately, the bulk of my earning potential has come from the bi-monthly category. With this particular client, there is also a delay ranging from days to weeks before a completed assignment is approved for payment. So, even though my productivity has been growing steadily for three weeks, I haven’t seen the big paycheck, yet. If I’m lucky, the paycheck I receive May 30th will be significant. If not, then I will have to wait until June 15th. And that’s not including processing time. It usually takes three days for the money to actually make it to my checking account.
I compensate for this stress by taking as many assignments as I can handle, hopefully more than I actually need to reach my income goal, in the hopes that enough of them will be approved in time for the paycheck I want. I don’t want to come across as greedy or anything, but I have a family of five that needs things like food, shelter, and electricity. So, I need the money. Keeping the Internet on would be nice, too. This being the case, I find it hard to do other forms of work until I’m reasonably confident my income goals have been obtained.
Once I have re-established a system of steady earnings, I’ll be in a better position to balance conflicting goals and conflicting needs. However, for now, the goal is to generate enough income. In this case, “enough” is defined as 1) enough to ensure our monthly bills get paid, 2) enough to feed and supply my family, and 3) enough to pay off expenses that went unpaid during my crash-and-burn phase.
For some people, my “enough” would be a drop in the bucket. For me, it means a lot of work and a lot of stress finding enough work that pays well enough to make ends meet. The bad news is my anxiety is through the roof. I’m motivated, I’m productive, and I’m coping, but I’m also anxious and stressed.
Now, this is where someone would usually suggest I go out and get a “real” job. First, there’s nothing “fake” about freelancing. Freelancing is real work and real pay; and, it’s really a good way to make a living considering my family-first lifestyle. Second, I did go out and look for a “real” job. I discovered I’m either underqualified or overqualified, or, occasionally, I’m both underqualified and overqualified for the same job. I could find a job, if I wanted to spend 2+ hours commuting every day, but that’s not going to happen. Besides, there are lifestyles issues at stake here. I (usually) enjoy freelancing and I really enjoy the flexibility.
Resurrecting a business after a four-month hiatus isn’t easy. The main advantage I have is that I’m really good at what I do, so my services are in demand. It’s simply a matter of finding the right mix of the right clients with the right terms. I’m still working on that, but I’m getting close!