Hey. How goes your debt dumping journey?
I have another freelance income update for you. Hopefully, these updates light a spark.
My goal has been to get the updates done at least once per quarter. The experiment is going well. Slower than I’d expected, but still well. All things considered.
I’ve stepped into the freelance waters for a number of reasons.
For years on this blog, I’ve focused primarily on cuts to free up additional cash in the budget. While this still necessary and very much a vital step to master. Controlling spending is what will keep you from returning to an over-leveraged lifestyle. Seeing your debt drop by hundreds or thousands of dollars each month is motivation fuel!
This experiment has taken shape over the past 6 months. I’ve tried a few things that haven’t worked so well. The key is to keep learning, keep trying, and stumble onto something that sticks. Here are a few options:
So my goal for the end of quarter II was to generate $3000. I had 2 clients and pulled in just over $1000 as described in my first freelance update.
I topped out at $2500 in a month.
One freelance gig I took on, podcast editing, had a 3 week training period. Instead of looking for more work, I decided to use the month to finish the training and acclimate to the production process and schedule.
Now that I’m an old pro, I plan to take on another client. I want to replace a lower paying client and increase my income.
So the slow down cost me in terms of meeting my goal, but I think it worked out better because I was able to ease into the new schedule, maintain my current responsibilities, and keep up without being overwhelmed.
I hope to double that monthly income with freelance work by the end of quarter III. The key is I want to do all this while keeping the work part-time. Why? Because those of you with families, full-time jobs or other obligations should be able to recreate this experiment and attack your debt with a vengeance.
Actually, and extra $2500 would have made a huge difference in my overall debt free journey. I’m sure it would have shaved a significant amount of time off of those seven years.
All work is not created equal.
I quickly realized that the content mills were not a good use of time. I’ve read this and heard people say this. I believe them. I tried to keep with one for a month, but I don’t think I made it. I think I even left a few dollars on the table because there was a minimum threshold to meet before being paid.
I was writing product descriptions for random things. The 2-3 sentence descriptions you see associated with products on a typical e-commerce site.
Actually, if you need the money and having a tough time pulling in money – it’s an option. It’s not something you do for the love of the craft. That’s for sure.
However, it’s just that those are easy jobs to get and start making money quickly. So I decided to try it. As soon as other gigs were in place, I wasn’t as interested. Nor did I have the time.
So choosing wisely is important.
So I have two writing clients. One of which I’m so grateful for. I picked up this client by meeting at FinCon, a conference for those in financial media. Conferences are an excellent place to line up freelance work.
I found the other one on FlexJobs.com. This is a subscription based job listing site. It took me a few months to part with $10 (using the coupon code, NEWSLETTER, you’ll receive 30% off your first month).
Paying for a job site seems counter-intuitive, but that was $10 well spent. It’s turned into nearly $1200 over the last quarter. Not bad.
While this client has been an easy, constant stream of writing articles, the pay is rather low. I also prefer a little more notice because I am juggling several moving parts. I generally get about 2 days notice before they want something turned in.
I’m also finding that writing about personal finance or travel is about the only thing I can write about with ease. Since this client is a general content source, I’ve written about everything from diamond ring accessories to cellphone apps. I’d rather spend my time on something with more substance.
But, I will say the work has been fairly simple and the constant. That’s a plus.
Right now, I’m concentrating on 3 main clients. Two gigs are freelance writing projects. The final is a podcast editing service. I’m not so good at tracking my time, but I’ll give you an estimate of how much time I spend with each. This way you have an idea of what’s possible given your current schedule and obligations.
Client #1: Freelance Writing
Total time/month: 12 hours
Client #2: Freelance Writing
Total time/month: 36 hrs
Client #2: Podcast Editing
Total Income: $2550
It’s very easy to take on more than one can chew. Even though I have a flexible schedule, I’ve had to be mindful about taking on new projects and making sure I can keep up with deadlines and maintain my regularly schedule activities.
I’ve had some late hours last month trying to keep up and I have had to seek an extension – which is not optimal.
This is another reason why I decided to take finding new clients a bit slower.
I’ve also decided that instead of adding new clients, I’ll likely drop the lower paying clients and replace them with something that pays more and is more in line with the topics I prefer to write about.
I do prefer to work with clients that have ongoing projects vs continually pitching for new gigs. Although my per hour rate is lower this way, I think it works better for consistency and longer term planning.
Are you making headway paying off debt using freelance work to generate extra income? Let me know below. I’d love to know if this experiment is helping.