Behind the scenes: the November recap

Behind the Scenes: November recap

Monthly recap time! And I’m more on it than last month, since it’s only going up on the tenth! Go me.

How I spent my time:

Harvest Report

I tracked more time in November than in October (114 hours vs. 90), but not as much as September or August (where I did about 125 hours each). This really surprised me, because I tracked all of my NaNoWriMo working time as well as business working time.

Out of that time:

  • It looks like all of that extra 24 hours went into writing the NaNo project–so the time spent both on internal biz/client work was pretty much the same. Actually, a little less, because I tracked just shy of 30 hours on the book.
  • This doesn’t surprise me, since in October it was “I don’t have any energy so it’s client work + bare minimum for my biz” and in November it was “I’ve taken on a ridiculous amount of work this month so it’s client work + bare minimum for my biz.”
  • Nearly 75 hours (20 more hours than last month) were spent on my internal projects; not just business work, but the book, too.
  • The other 39.91 hours went to my clients (including the email, meeting, and admin time for each client, not just writing time), about four more hours than October.
  • I spent about a half hour each meeting prospective clients and pitching. I’m still mostly interested in maintaining longer-term work with my current clients, but I feel like a few things may be shifting with certain clients soon, and I’m also finding that the more I work with retainer clients and nail their brand tone/messaging/etc., the less time the actual work takes. I’m not actively seeking out tons of new clients–I still have very limited new client space–but I’m keeping an eye out for specific gigs that interest me and fit into longer-term schemes.
  • Other breakdowns: Slightly more email time than October (13 vs. 12), but still lower than I had been averaging before October, 5 hours on social media, 2.67 on marketing, and 10 hours on admin work (up three hours from October, breaking the downward trend, and since I’ll be onboarding a new assistant soon, it might be up this/next month too).

How I made my money:

Total income: $4,718.21

About $600 more than October–not too bad, considering the extra work of NaNoWriMo. Once I get a year of these recaps, I’m going to plot Kindle sales vs. service income vs. other income vs. products/courses. Because it seems like they all fluctuate independently month to month and I’m curious to see if there are any patterns. And, looking at my Youtube ad reports, my plan (that I mentioned back in the summer slump series, in June), to increase ad revenue is working…and it’d be working better if I hadn’t fallen off the video bandwagon again. I need more apps to review, so if you have suggestions, send them to me. (If you’re a PR person: in a non-spammy fashion or I’ll cut you. I’ve got some really bad PR pitches.)

(Observant readers will note that I nixed the biz expenses section–I feel like it’s pretty repetitive month to month and I just say the same things. If you want me to add it back in, I’m happy to, though.)

November client audit:

Recap of past audits: 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In November, the range was $63-185/hr.

For November, the range was again wide…but with another low-lying outlier. If you take out the $63/hr client, it’s $102-185. And interestingly, if you take out the high outlier (which isn’t a writing client, but rather a video contract), the range narrows in quite a bit to $103-117. With both outliers included, the average was $114. I guess that means I need to change my hourly rate (which I have listed on my portfolio site, although I don’t currently use it). They’re currently listed at $75/hr, but it doesn’t really make business sense for me to charge that hourly if I’m making more than that with my other clients.

I’m a bit puzzled over this low lying outlier. I don’t know if I had an off day or something, because I’ve been working with this client for a while and averaged higher in the past ($100/hr or so), and looking at the article, that’s an absurdly long time for me to have spent on it. So I’m going to chalk it up to overwork and not take action, as I normally would.

Looking ahead and lessons learned overall:

  • I LOVED writing a book. I cried when I finished it. Writing fiction is super, super relaxing and fun and even though I had a few minor meltdowns because I was worried I wouldn’t meet wordcount goals, I noticed I had a sense of peace and contentment in November when I wasn’t hyperventilating about that. (I will probably write a post about my NaNo experience if I can get to it while the experience is still fresh in my mind.)
  • Which leads me to, I really want to write more long-long form in general. I’m working on a Kindle book that will probably be 15-20k words total, and I’m also working on a nonfiction book, and the fiction book that I wrote is the first in a trilogy. It’s just a matter of making and keeping time for it, which leads me to…
  • I really want to focus on keeping my client work streamlined and low maintenance (while of course, still providing kickass work to my clients). That way, I can dedicate that time to the aforementioned writing. Any new clients will be looked at under that lens, as well, and I’ll probably be raising my rates in February or so to account for that as well.

Previous monthly recaps:

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