Monday, May 11, 2015

On Increasing Your Freelancing Workload


Remember last week when I mentioned that in all the struggle, a major issue was being offered additional work when I didn't have regular internet access needed to do it? Well, today I'm joining to share the internal struggle involved in not only the thought process (and freak out, in a mostly good way) that went into my decision to do so. I'll also give you a list of things to consider before you increase your freelance workload.

How I Decided

Up until a few weeks ago, I was plugging away as a blog writer and social media contributor for three clients. We'll call them I, C, and D. I was working about 8 hours per week at $12.50 per hour. I'd call this "helping out" wage, working just enough to help practice writing and bring in some additional funds while my husband was in school.

Then all the craziness of the real work hit, and I realized that not only did I need to make a more substantial income but that being hidden away on deep, limited service property made everything take more time. Not to mention frustrating. I applied to local part-time work, but no one would hire me.

Then client C offered me a part-time virtual assistant work on top of the 2 hours I was already working at a slightly lower per hour rate. A lot of the work was doable offline, so I took it on and ran into town 30 minutes or 1 hour away a couple days per week for research and emails. It sort of, kinda worked and thankfully I wasn't quite doing the full 10 hours as we eased into it.

But client D called and said the current work wasn't enough and he also needed to gobble up as much of my time as he could get. I knew there was no way I'd be able to accommodate until we moved into town closer to my husband's work and told the client as much. Plus, working full time required a whole new level of commitment and scheduling. I asked for some time to consider and asked for his patience.

Then came the hard questions, things every Mommy probably considers when they work. Would I be able to schedule and commit to full-time work? What would I be willing to give up in order to make sure I wasn't distracted? Would working from home make focusing hard to do? Would my children handle the transition well? Could I afford a mommy's helper through the summer? Would my children be scarred if I wasn't with them all the time? (That last one stemmed from guilt, and I had to push it aside.)

At the end of the day, it came down to some lists and some planning. 8-5pm wasn't realistic for my family, so that meant my husband had to understand if I worked a few hours in the evening after the kiddos went to bed, or even after he did. I'd have to be better prepared, commit to house cleaning and meal prep on the weekends, and still carve out time for editing my novel manuscript and my other WIPs.

In the end, the best decision was to take on the work. After all, we're still recovering (and paying) for my husband's school and trying to pay down debt. But most importantly, it feels wonderful to have clients request my skills and expertise.

Things to Consider

If you are thinking about increasing your workload, consider each of the following things.

Time: How much time are you willing to commit? What, if any, are the time requirements for assignments? Be sure to include phone calls/emails of duties, as well as research time. If you're realistic about it, then your clients will know what to expect.

Getting paid: Be upfront with any clients about pay. Its often an awkward situation, but its important for both of you to be on the same page. Offering invoices will help you keep track of work hours and budget by knowing what to expect when. Your clients get the added bonuses of a paper trail, work monitoring, and an easier time come tax season.

Family Dynamics: If you have a family like me, it's really important to not only make sure everyone is on board, but to also to consider the pulls and requirements of time to care for them and your home. If you're taking on a lot more work, it may be time to divvy up some chores or ask for help from your partner. Don't be afraid to do it, and don't worry if things are a bit unsettled at first. You'll get into the swing of things. (At least, that's what I tell myself.)

What sort of things have you considered as you take on freelancing work? Have you ever had to consider whether you need to increase your workload and what it might cost you personally? Please tell me in the comments below.


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