So I finished my first freelancing gig yesterday. And no, I wasn’t selling pumpkins. It was a small job and didn’t pay much, but I think it was a good start. It was also kind of fun. More importantly, though, it was my first step in building a new life without a steady paycheck doing work that I want to do.
What was this job, you ask?
Let me back up a few steps first. A couple weeks ago, I found a company that offered professional editing services to non-native English speakers worldwide. Most of the manuscripts this company deals with are research papers being submitted to journals and conferences. This company contracts with freelance editors covering a wide variety of topics from business to sociology, psychology, economics, medicine, you name it. The particular paper I worked on fell under the engineering category and dealt with heat transfer in cooling systems. It was written by a native Japanese speaker.
As a freelance editor, I get the opportunity to choose whether or not to accept a particular job. Since I just started, the job I took yesterday was assigned specifically to me. Moving forward though, individual jobs will be available to multiple editors. Each editor can view details about the job, specific instructions, pay, deadlines, etc. and choose which jobs to accept or pass up.
While I was editing, I had to stop a few times to brush up on some grammar rules. I also ate lunch and did some laundry so it ended up taking a few hours to complete the review. Still, it was nice to feel productive.
More importantly, you’re probably asking, “So how much did you get paid?!?” Like I said, it was a small job and I made a grand total of $26.26! I know what you’re thinking, “WTF, I’m not wasting my time for only $26!”
To give you some more context, the document was 1,800 words and required only basic editing. It was fairly straightforward and somewhat interesting. The hourly pay didn’t work out to much, but I was sitting at home in my sweatpants and wasn’t in a rush to complete it. Plus, since it was my first project, I was being extra careful to research grammar rules I was unsure about. I also needed to double check how the company wanted me to provide my comments/mark ups (tracked changes on MS Word) and how to actually submit the completed work.
As I get a few more jobs under my belt, I’ll definitely be able to complete projects much more quickly. And, as I mentioned, I can decide which jobs to accept from now on. In the future, I probably won’t take on very many small jobs like this one because each project requires a bit of background research no matter how long the paper is. This includes checking the conference or journal’s required formatting and familiarizing myself with the topic. Unless it requires only very minor editing, in most cases short papers may not be worth the hassle.
Regardless, I’m excited to see where this goes. I’m not looking to get rich off this. Instead, it’s just another building block in diversifying our income streams. I’ll probably end up taking on a few jobs each week, depending on my availability and motivation.
Because my brain is scattered in a million directions at any given time, I have several other ideas that have been marinating in the background. As soon as I found out we were moving to England, I wanted to create some type of travel blog. This has gone through about a dozen mental iterations and I’m still not completely sure what it’ll look like.
The more I think through what I want to do, the more it looks like I may end up creating two completely separate, but somewhat related, new sites. Each one would have its own focus, but together would be way too clunky. Both have decent monetization potential. One would more of a referral site with lots of affiliate links, the other would be more of a blog. I need to continue outlining my vision for each site to determine which one is the better option to start with. I also need to decide if it’s better to have a very focused niche site or one that would target a broader audience.
Because I plan on building the site(s) from the ground up, I want to make sure I’m doing everything right from a search engine optimization (SEO) point of view. This has led to conversations with Claudia at Two Cup House. She’s an SEO consultant and recently launched an SEO audit course. This would be a good skill for me to learn on two fronts: 1. to build my sites so that they’re easier for search engines to find, and 2. it could allow me to consult with other small business looking for SEO help. I’m still in the early phases with this.
Additionally, I recently set up a travel page on this site. More than anything, this will serve as a way to document our own travels. Over the years, we’ve visited so many places that we can’t even remember many of our own family vacations. We’ve already gone to several places here in England with more to come soon. I want to document these memories before they all blur together!
Lastly, I still have my reserve duty which generally takes up anywhere between a few days to a few weeks per month. This provides a nice source of semi-regular additional income. Last year, I made a little over $17K as a reservist for about 50 days of work and this year it looks like it’ll be a similar amount, maybe slightly less.
I’m hoping the income from my reserve duty, freelance editing, and possibly SEO consulting will bring in an extra $25-30K a year. This should allow me to work on my other interests without the need for them to make money right away.
I know it may sound like I’m spreading myself thin with all these seemingly random projects going on at once, but that’s just my style. I think that’s why I always felt so restless in the daily grind. I felt trapped and constrained. Now I’m free to do as I please and that’s just the way I like it.
If you want to know more about the freelance editing, feel free to reach out.