I sent an edited book back to its author yesterday and an upcoming project was canceled, so I find myself with some free time this weekend. Relief!
So far, I’ve found that spare time in freelancing is different from wrapping up an office job at 5 p.m. on a Friday. There’s always something more to do, some chore that I’ve been putting off (updating my LinkedIn profile, finishing that business plan, checking out a resource I’d bookmarked awhile ago…). I kind of miss the sense of freedom that comes with leaving work at work and heading off into my weekend. Then again, I love the other sense of freedom I have on a Monday morning: sipping my coffee slowly, making pancakes for breakfast, and easing into my workday as I feel ready.
In other news, I’ve made one investment today and am considering another two. First, I bought a domain name, after reading Why everyone should register a domain name and being surprised that rachelleecherry.com was available. (I’ve owned lastsyllable.net since 2005 and just pointed the new domain here.) Second, I’ve been considering a couple of noncredit college classes to fill in some gaps in my skills: Accounting Fundamentals and Grant Writing A to Z, both offered online through my local community college. There are start dates in April and that looks like a good time to take those classes.
And third, after struggling with Excel after a computer upgrade — my old laptop had Excel Starter but my new desktop doesn’t; I’ve been unimpressed with Open Office/LibreOffice, and Google’s spreadsheets aren’t reliable enough – I’m now weighing the usefulness of a Microsoft Office upgrade and whether to go with the subscription model Microsoft is pushing. The Google Reader shutdown has shaken my confidence in the cloud model. I don’t want to wake up one morning, try to open Word or Excel, and find that I’m out of luck.
Finally, a moving/renovation update: The wood floors have been sanded and finished! We’ll wait a few days for any fumes to dissipate and finally start moving in. Plumbing is all set up, I believe, minus the washer and dryer (which we’re still using at the old house). My office hasn’t been painted yet, but that won’t hold up the move. I can’t wait to get this done!
Well, it was a good thing I hadn’t booked much in early March, because I had one project extend a little longer than anticipated. We hauled a few loads of things to the new house, but there’s a lot at the old house that still needs to be packed. Over the past couple weeks, we’ve had a lot of interest in the old house and six or seven showings (including a second showing to one buyer), but it still hasn’t resulted in an offer. It has, however, resulted in much grumbling chez nous.
I had planned for us to move on Monday, but delays at the new house — this time, water damage in the kitchen, meaning the countertops had to be replaced — have meant that plumbing is still not working. The new countertop and sink might be installed by now, but I don’t think the main floor bathroom is at all usable yet. (The basement bathroom was gutted and will be finished after we move in.) TV and internet service have not yet been connected.
So Monday isn’t looking good for a moving day, but hopefully we can get in sometime next week. I don’t want to commit to additional projects in March and even early April, just because nothing is nailed down (heh) and I’ve had to write enough apologetic emails about deadlines as I’ve attempted to manage working from a house that’s actively for sale.
It would, however, be a good time to schedule projects that will begin in April and May. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My daughter’s second birthday was yesterday, Valentine’s Day is coming up, and there’s now enough chocolate and sweets in my house to keep me working through even the grumpiest days of February. We’ve been snowed in lately and I’ve been baking bread, making chili and soup, and cooking all kinds of lovely cold-weather food. The kitchen at the new house looks fabulous with new slate floors. I am, however, doing all this cooking at the old house and it is less fabulous.
With all this snow and a stocked kitchen, I’m filling in my schedule for February and into March. I’m especially looking for writing, copy editing, and proofreading projects.
Contact me at email@example.com to talk about your projects’s needs.
I’m so excited about the way my business has been developing since I’ve been focusing on it full-time. I sent a book off last Friday, I’ve had projects in smaller pieces before and since, and I’ve got another couple of projects coming in the next week or so. This week is a bit of a lull so I’m looking for new clients and trying to build up my ten true fans.
The flexibility of freelancing is fantastic, for one thing. I was able to spend Tuesday driving to a distant post office to pick up new business cards, drop off a few bins of stuff at the new house and check out the slate tile going down in the kitchen, take my daughter to a play area and let her burn off some energy, and generally stay out of the old house during a scheduled showing. (I can’t underestimate how useful my smartphone is, either. I was able to accept a couple new assignments while on the road.)
Some of the tools and fun things I’ve been using for the past couple of weeks: Toggl, for tracking time on projects and business tasks. New dictionaries and style guides to build up my reference library. The subscription to Merriam-Webster Unabridged is worth it just to stop those annoying autoplaying videos, and Words Into Type should be interesting because I was trained in proofreading by a former linotype operator, so I learned a lot of old ways of doing things. A wireless keyboard, which will be most useful in my office at the new house, since my “office” right now is a laptop on my kitchen table and the laptop’s keyboard works fine.
And with that, it’s time for lunch! (I won’t describe what I’m having or post a picture of the plate. Not on this blog, anyway.)
As of today, Last Syllable Communications is 100% of what I do!
To recap: I used the couple of months before my previous job ended to start my business, take care of paperwork, try out systems for file management and scheduling, talk to prospective clients, and not least of all, complete a few projects. Now I’m starting this phase with a handful of lovely clients and ongoing projects, an understanding of how I work and what my needs are, and a manageable to-do list.
At the moment I’m feeling a little bit at loose ends because I’d normally be getting ready to head into the office. Instead I’m about to settle my daughter down for a nap, and then I’ll review some testing materials and plan dinner (I’ve so missed cooking).
The new routine will take some getting used to, but it’ll be a good change. I’m very excited!
The end is in sight! Yesterday was my last full day at the office. I have partial days today and tomorrow, but no more late nights. No more days like Monday, where I started working at 9am to meet a deadline, worked through till 1pm when I went to the office, got home around midnight, and put in another couple hours’ work on some straggler pieces of the same project. Then I did much the same thing on Tuesday.
When I was starting to get my business off the ground, I saw that long days like that were coming, and I so did not want them. I wanted to line things up but not actually have to fit projects in around an otherwise full work week. As time went on, though, it became clear to me that those long days were the only way to do it — at least if I wanted to keep momentum going into full-time freelancing, instead of drifting along and waiting for things to happen. I didn’t want to get into a routine of bumming around home and procrastinating and kinda maybe sorta doing things sometimes. I wanted that first day to be a productive workday. And the second day, too. And the third day, the fourth, the fifth, and on and on.
So I’m very excited about having a slate of projects now. However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t more excited to be finished at the office and ready to get on with my work.
I hope you had a wonderful holiday, readers! My Thanksgiving was lovely. I cooked entirely too much food but we did get to have pie for breakfast and turkey sandwiches for lunch afterward (but not too many days afterward). I spent a little time relaxing and a little time working and it was just what I needed.
I have a million ideas and thoughts and plans.
With this house, nothing is turning out quite like I expected. Like, I had this whole setup in mind for my desk, and then my mother-in-law offered a rolltop desk that she’s not using (yes, please!), so now I’m rethinking how to arrange the furniture in my office and where to put my printer and maybe using a different color paint (no, most of the walls are still not painted). In a couple more months, either those details aren’t going to be particularly important or I’ll be able to change what bugs me, but right now it’s stressing me out.
I had lots of good ideas about scheduling my work time, but the implementation is not going so smoothly. I will more than likely have late nights and early mornings for the next couple of weeks. Sleep is very important to my own particular good health and I’m not happy about losing sleep. I’m counting the days until I won’t have to schedule my work around a different full-time job anymore.
There are classes and webinars I want to take, books and articles to read, things to think about and ponder and attempt and tweak…
But it’s not time for that right now. It’s time to dive in and do all that work. Which frustrates me, but them’s the breaks.