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Behind the scenes: the (very late) October recap

Behind the Scenes: October Recap

Yikes…the latest recap yet. NaNoWriMo has been kicking my ass, y’all! But since I know you guys enjoy them, I figured better late than never. So here’s the October breakdown:

How I spent my time:

Harvest Report

I tracked a lot less time than September or August in October–a 45 hour decrease. That’s about a 1/3 decrease. I was super, super low energy in October; not quite depressed (although I had kind of an emotional hangover for some of the month, remembering how bad things were last year), but just no energy for anything. So for the last two and a half weeks of the month, I was pretty much doing the barest minimum possible–keeping clients happy, and writing the newsletter, but not really expending much effort past that.

Out of that time:

  • 54 hours (about 60% of my time, slightly up from September) were spent on my business/internal work.
  • The other 36.13 went to my clients (including the email, meeting, and admin time for each client, not just writing time).
  • I spent no time meeting with prospective clients, and pretty much no time. As with last month, it makes sense that these numbers are trending downwards, since I’ve put my focus on acquiring longer term/repeat clients. Not to mention the aforementioned lack of energy meant that I wasn’t focused on growth–just on maintenance.
  • Quite a bit less email time than September (nearly 12 hours, vs. just over 16), slightly less time on social media, about half the time on marketing, and just over 7 hours on admin work (down about an hour from September, which was down from August–so it’s on a downward trend, which is good).

How I made my money:

  • Total invoiced for freelance writing services in October 2014: $3,658 (decrease by roughly $1,500)
  • Products/courses: $585 (over twice as much as last month, since those SWTSC payment plans kicked in)
  • Kindle: $19.11 (only a ~$2 difference)

Total income: $4,162.11

A little over $1,000 less than September–which doesn’t really surprise me, because as mentioned, I was SUPER low energy for a lot of October. Some of it was fatigue (I need to go back to the doctor and get my vitamin levels tested again…), and some of it was emotional stuff. I’ve got a lot better at managing the fluctuations that come with freelance income, at least.

Business expenses:

  • SAAS tools (Google Apps, Coschedule, Harvest, Clicky, Xero, Dropbox): $51
  • Coffee shops/meetings: $54.13
  • Web hosting: $15
  • Coworking membership: $95
  • Transcription and audio editing services to accompany blog posts: $131.72
  • Administrative assistance: $200
  • One-day conference: $75

Total: $621.85

Same commentary as last month. Pretty high, and if I tried, I could get it lower. But honestly? All of this stuff makes things a hell of a lot easier on me, and means I spend less time working (or at the very least, less time working on stuff that’s not making me money). My administrative fees might go up, but it’ll be worth it, because I’ll be able to hand off more stuff–as I mentioned last month, I wasn’t completely blown away by Zirtual, and then I had an experience with their customer service people that literally gave me an eye twitch. So I’m investigating alternative options right now.

In September’s recap, I noted that my personal expenses went up greatly, and I think I was better with my personal spending in October than in September. Got back into the habit of cooking for myself instead of winding up in the “crap need to eat or I’ll pass out better order in” trap, things like that.

October client audit:

In August, when I did my first audit taking into account June/July/August, my hourly rate varied from $45-117 depending on the client and project. Way too much variety. And, interestingly, most of my time went to the two clients that I had the lowest hourly rates with. I stopped working with both of those clients and replaced that income. In September, my hourly rate ranged from $57-164–an improvement, but still quite a lot of range. In October, the range was $72-140, with an average hourly rate of $105. Clear upward trend, which is good, and though the range is still wide, it’s narrowing in, with the lowest outlier not being a factor after November.

Looking ahead and lessons learned overall:

  • Next year, I should just take October off, or at the very least plan on having no energy. This has been a two year in a row thing now, so I think it’s best to assume that there’s a solid chance it’ll happen next year, too.
  • Same lessons as last month: simplify, avoid burnout. I’ve decided not to do any long classes next year–maybe a few one day workshops, but my focus is and will be on my writing.
  • And I want to get way better at delegating as I move forward. Same thing as last month–outsource more of the blog post editing/queueing, etc.
  • Also, I want to do more interviews and stuff. SO HEY. If you have a podcast, I’m a great interviewee, I promise!

All told, I am superincrediblyawholelot grateful that even though I was so low energy in October, I wasn’t scrounging in the couch cushions for loose change to buy cat food with. And it definitely seems to be a seasonal thing, as it’s got better in November. Go figure. How was your October? 

Previous monthly recaps:

2 Comments

  1. Seems some of the editors for the Beeb are from Thailand and used to work for the Pattaya Daily News… Who ever heard of a car ‘careering’ off the road… Careening maybe, but never careering…

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  2. Your story made me laugh. Who would have thought a trip down “America’s first superhighway” would yield visions of such beauty and stupidity rolled into one? I wonder not so much about Mr. Good Looking, but what his wife is like…

    Reply

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