Where I’m at Now
Goal / Business Tracking
The first month was all motivation fueled and collecting resources and writing down my goals. The second and third months were me realizing I had put too much on my plate goals-wise and couldn’t accomplish them all in the time I had given myself. I started each month with about 10+ goals to complete that month—some large, some small. By the end of each month, I found myself moving most of the goals over to the next month. Doesn’t feel great, let me tell you. But I only have myself to blame, which is useful self-reflection.
Moving forward: Over the next two months, I’m going to try giving myself actual deadlines for goals, not just “Get this done some time this month.” I’m also going to start timing myself on things I do for my personal business, like writing this blog post or designing my new business card. I’m interested to find out really how much time I take with those things and how I could be making those processes more efficient.
I’m still leaning on my original three clients and gearing up to reach out to potential clients. For each of my current clients, however, I have been able to increase the amount of work I do for each. I’ve also been working towards streamlining the process, especially with how I present concepts.
Moving forward: I signed up for freelance job sites like Upwork and The Dots, but I haven’t completed my profiles on either. I’ve never used collection sites like these before, so I’m going into this skeptical and not expecting much at first. And avoiding Fiverr like my life depends on it.
Work Days / Schedule
Okay. I was doing decently well with my schedule for May and most of June… And then the hubs and I planned two vacations for the month of July. While part of my brain was saying “Wow! This is what all the successful freelancers dream of!” the other half of my brain was reminding me that any chance of completing anything business-related just wasn’t going to happen this month.
I lost a whole month because I was feeding into the idea that freelancing is going to be glamourous, early and often.
Moving forward: I’m only able to take nice vacations right now because my wonderful husband still has a full-time job and has plenty of vacation days. Sure, being in Europe already makes traveling cheaper, but now I feel like I didn’t earn those vacations. Thankfully, we both agreed that we won’t be doing any more major trips for at least a couple months. Weekend trips aren’t out of the question though.
I have definitely been lacking in the project management arena. Since my current clients are mostly retainer work, I haven’t had much need for organizing every little thing. I’d like to research more on project management and utilize organization for even the smallest things, hoping that it’ll set me up for larger projects down the line.
Time Tracking / Invoicing
Three months in and I’m still terrible at invoicing. Toggl has helped me keep track of my time, but manually feeding all that data into an invoice template of my own has been where I trip up. I’ve also found that being mailed my paychecks is more of a hassle than a convenience anymore.
Moving forward: I’ve been looking into switching to an all-inclusive online business management tool. I’m still not wanting to pay anything quite yet, but I’ve been able to narrow it down to a couple options that will allow me to invoice and receive payments all in one platform. It already sounds like a dream come true. Here are some I’m looking into: Hello Bonsai, Dubsado, 17Hats, And Co (but it’s Fiverr…), and HoneyBook.
While I haven’t been doing as well with self promotion as I would like to be, I need to give hashtags the credit they so greatly deserve. For the couple of posts I have uploaded on my social profiles over the past three months, I’ve been trying to include a couple hashtags each. Friends, hashtags are what get you views and all that. I hate it as much as anyone, but they really do help get your posts around.
The other main self promotion I’ve been working on the past months is updating my personal portfolio site. I’m moving to WordPress as my platform, so I can include a blog and an easier CMS than my original process. I’ve learned a lot about WordPress development recently, but I didn’t expect how long it would take for me to create my first WordPress template. I have 90% of my new site’s HTML and CSS written and ready, but I haven’t started the PHP process to make it easy to use and I don’t want to rush it. That’s how you get bugs.
Moving forward: I definitely need to keep posting to my social profiles, and more often. Currently, I’m using Later to schedule my Instagram posts, but not consistently. And for my updated portfolio site, I’ve decided to launch it in two phases. The first phase will be a simple HTML site with only the essential pages. The second phase will be the full WordPress site. I’ll use the next month (or two) to perfect the development, especially since I’m still new to it. This way, I’ll still be able to send people to a brand new site, while working on further functionality, instead of throwing something up that’s not quite finished and buggy. But Laura, where will you keep posting your blog posts? Thank you for asking. I’m going to work toward increasing my blog activity by using Medium, and then migrating to my personal blog at a later date. It’s a great platform to get started with blogging without having your own blog up and running. And it already has an audience you have access to. Win-win.