As you may have noticed, things have been slow on the blog lately.
Last week I was traveling for a work project and didn’t have time to post anything. Aside from that, I’ve been taking a break from blogs altogether.
Still, I’ve been making progress on my freelancing. I’ve also made a few observations.
- It can sometimes take a while to get paid.
- It sucks to get dinged on things you cannot control.
- I need to focus my efforts on tasks that pay the best (and that I still enjoy).
Ground breaking, I know.
About getting paid, you hear stories all the time about freelancers having issues with clients releasing pay and I’m getting a taste of that firsthand.
I completed an editing project for a guy on Upwork in early February. He then submitted the manuscript to the journal he’s hoping will publish it and now we’re waiting for feedback. Understandably, he does not want to pay me until he knows the work is accepted.
It’s not a huge deal and he’s maintained contact with me over the last several weeks. In reality, at this point there’s not much I can do for that $80 ransom.
Second, while I genuinely enjoy the scientific/academic editing I’ve been doing for another client, there’s one thing that bothers me. Each editing job is graded by a reviewer and this grade impacts future pay rates.
I was recently upgraded to the highest pay band, which is still relatively low for the skill level needed to do the work, and promptly received a low grade on my next assignment knocking me back down to the middle rate. If my edit was bad, I wouldn’t have any issues.
Instead, I was dinged for not following formatting guidelines for that particular journal when none were provided and none could be found on the journal’s website. That pissed me off and, as far as I can tell, there is no good way to communicate with those reviewing my work.
The lesson learned here is that although I like doing this type of work and I’ve gotten great experience, I need to get clients on my own where I can charge an appropriate rate, have more control over job requirements, and communicate directly with each client.
This brings me to my third point. Even though I’m feeling a sense of satisfaction each time I complete a job, I still want to be compensated fairly.
Fortunately, any income I make is really just a bonus and not needed to pay the bills. But that doesn’t mean I’m content working for peanuts.
On the plus side, I’ve stumbled upon potential recurring work through my Air Force reserve job that can, for the most part, be performed remotely. I want to make this work because it is by far my best paying gig and it’s fairly interesting. Not to mention, any work I do there increases my military pension payments (assuming I stay in for at least nine more years, which is the current plan).
With four months of freelancing under my belt, I’m starting to see progress on the income side. Nothing crazy, but some extra cash nonetheless.
Even though it’s not technically freelancing, as Mrs. DTG loves to point out, I’m including my reserve pay and any other earnings from part-time employment I may receive in the future.
Here’s my earnings breakdown since I began freelancing in October.
As you can see, my earning have been all over the place and are strongly influenced by my reserve pay. Taking that away, my strictly freelance income has steadily increased from $26 in November to $730 in February.
Next month will show a huge bump in reserve pay as I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time on military orders lately. This peak may be larger than the one seen in October, but I’m not positive.
Anyway, I think I’m doing a decent job creating a new career on my own terms combining part-time and freelance work. That being said, without the help of my wife’s steady income and/or a nice cash buffer, we’d clearly have issues paying our bills on this pittance alone.
It’ll be interesting to see how things go as the year progresses.