Am I Making Any Money Yet Or What?

Kings Cross Station London

King’s Cross Station, London

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.

  1. It can sometimes take a while to get paid.
  2. It sucks to get dinged on things you cannot control.
  3. 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).

Earnings Update

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.

Freelance Earnings 201702

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.



6 thoughts on “Am I Making Any Money Yet Or What?

  1. Graham @ Reverse The Crush says:

    Congrats on your progress with freelancing since November.

    $730 in February is a considerable amount of extra money. Like you said, it may not pay the bills yet, but it’s work you enjoy and it’s on your own terms. Also, it shows potential. It’s motivating for me to see how fast you are able to increase your freelance income.

    I completed my first real freelance project in February and am looking forward to sharing the numbers soon. Thanks for sharing the update!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      It’s getting there. With what I’m currently doing though, I can’t see myself making much more than about $1K a month. Maybe some higher paying opportunities will present themselves soon. You never know.

      Congrats on finishing your first project! Looking forward to reading about it.


  2. Mr. SSC says:

    Congrats on getting the increase in freelance pay so quickly, that’s pretty awesome! At least encouraging for when I look into starting it. 🙂

    Too bad about the formatting issues. Ugh, formatting – the bane of my existence with my grad thesis, and I had a manual and followed it to a T, only to get some comment that on page 187 there was 1/2″ too much white space, so I’d need to start a new section after that page. Which would wreck all of the formatting, labeling, sections, etc… from that point forward. All over 1/2″ of “too much” white space. Palm slap to forehead…

    The beauty was it had been reviewed by the same person 4 different times prior to this and she caught all the other trivial little mistakes like that and they’d been fixed. She only caught that error on my final printed out submission the day I was turning it all in. Did I mention I’d already printed out 6 other full copies, as per requirements. It took an hr or so of haggling/begging/pleading, but I ultimately got her to let it slide.

    Good luck if you keep doing technical reviews, those reviewers can be real sticklers. 🙂


    • Ditching the Grind says:

      Yeah, that totally sucks.

      I try to avoid the jobs that require formatting not because they’re harder, but because they can be so time consuming. And I don’t mind the reviewers being sticklers, I just want to be provided with all the proper info upfront!

      Liked by 1 person

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