November and December of 2017 brought a dearth of freelance projects and a hefty dose of burnout. But I'm back in the proverbial saddle and focusing forward.
First, I joined a mastermind group. The group has an entrepreneurial focus, which should come in handy as we brainstorm and work through the challenges that face all "solopreneurs." We meet every other week for 90 minutes and set goals for ourselves for each gathering. Our next meeting is February 1, and my goal is to finish the draft for Daughter of the Deepwood. The advantage of this goal is that it's not only self-imposed, the mastermind group also holds me accountable. Thus far, I've made good progress and I will get this thing done.
Second, I finished the marketing course and have put into place the workflow processes and intentional activity aimed at producing results. I am now beginning to see the effects of implementation. That encourages me. If you haven't already connected with me on LinkedIn, please do so. Expanding the professional network has nothing to do with how many "friends" fit into a boast, but with making those connections that bring me into contact with people whom I can help and who can help me. It's an effort in building community. And it makes me feel a little less solitary sitting in my office ignored by the cats and with the dog hiding beneath the desk.
Third, I will be posting a third weekly blog beginning this week. My Monday blogs are posted on LinkedIn. Tuesdays, I post a blog on this website. On Thursdays, I now will post another blog on this website, part of the MFRW blog challenge. This week's MFRW blog challenge topic is "What would I do if I couldn't be a writer?" Expect the unexpected in the Thursday blogs, because these could go wildly sideways. You never know what mood I'll be in when I buckle down to write these, so prepare for some slap-happy prose.
Fourth, I'm filling the pipeline with projects. Communication with a first-time author should yield an editing project that will turn her mystery into something really intriguing. Combined contact through Craigslist and LinkedIn--who would have guessed at that coincidence?--should yield a ghostwriting contract for a cozy mystery. Hey, give me the plot summary and outline, and I can write the story. Another proposal and a follow-up phone call should yield another ghostwriting project for a gardening book. Yet another potential client has an editing-and-ghostwriting project on healthful ethnic foods that I hope will begin soon.
Positive vibes, folks, positive vibes.
For those who worry that the potential workload will prevent me from producing my own books, don't fret. I become more productive with a busy workload.
So, in anticipation of the upcoming completion of Daughter of the Deepwood, I thought it would be fun to solicit reader opinions. First, I have three potential covers for Daughter of the Deepwood. Participate in the survey and let me know your preference for a book cover. Second, as you know, I have several in the works, but two are sequels and the third will make the last book of an unintended trilogy. Go to my new Upcoming Books page and choose which of the three books you want to read first. The title with the highest response gets my attention and will be finished first.
Participate in the polls. Send me your comments and questions. Visit the Hen House Publishing page on Facebook and visit my profile on LinkedIn. I really do enjoy engaging with readers and colleagues and potential clients. Let's chat.
Memes show entertaining pictures of what different types of people think about those who freelance for a living.
The thing is, none of those pictures in the above meme is correct, except maybe for the first. Freelancing is a business built on hope.
Since the end of October, I have spent most of every day living in hope. I work hard, but for the most part it's not paid work. I spend that time prospecting for work. I use LinkedIn, Alignable, Craigslist, NDash, Fiverr, WriteJobs, Remote, Angellist, and others sites that either post temporary jobs or projects/gigs. In the low-bid sites (e.g., Fiverr), I try to educate buyers by explaining to them the complex nature of their projects, but most don't bother listening.
Freelancers live in the hope of the next project, the next gig. We do our best to secure those long-term clients who need regular services, like newsletters and books.
Uncertainty forces us to become very careful with money. After all, we don't know when the next paycheck is coming or how much it will be when it does arrive. We learn to let go of what we can't control, because we live an uncertain life working at an unpredictable career.
It's not for everyone, but some of us thrive on it.
My career rests in my hands. Yes, I depend upon others to hire me for the skills I bring and to pay me for the use of those skills; however, I set my own (long) hours and chase the work that suits me. I do not answer to any project manager who dictates what I do and when I must do it. That's the control I exert over my career.
I've done this for two years now. Some months fly by with project after project. Life is good during those "feast" times. Some months drag with days spent huddled with the computer and stress rising as I try to land a paying gig with a client who appreciates the skills I offer. Those months exemplify the aspect of living on hope... and dreams.
Prolonged scarcity wears on the mind and spirit. Hope can only be sustained for so long until it begins to wither and fade. Then the possibility of another project arises. Like a sprinkle of water on a parched plant, that possibility revives hope.
I guess that makes freelancers eternal optimists.