Update Day: Taking Action

Usually, Update Day is on the last Friday of the month, but even though last Friday really sneaked up on me, I actually did remember. It’s just that I’ve been so crazy busy this month that I had my first mini burn-out on Friday and that lasted straight into the weekend. 

Yes, I’m fully aware that having the first burn-out of the year within the first month of the year has to be some sort of record. But let me explain. 

I managed to rest for all of three days before the extra jobs (as in the ones not associated with my main contract) came in. And boy did they. I had something like a bumper month where I never had fewer than two jobs to do at any one given time, and all of them were on short deadlines. 

The problem with that was… I need to work a certain number of hours at the contract job to ensure I get the monthly income I need to make rent etc. and my editing work just seriously started cutting into my work hours. Except… if I only did my editing work that came in, I wouldn’t make rent. So there was the problem. 

I didn’t want to let anyone down, but I also didn’t want to not get my contract hours in. So…. I started working between 18 and 20 hours per day (including weekends) to get everything done. I managed that, but then had to increase my daily contract work hours to make up the shortfall because the editing still took up most of two weeks. 

And then I suddenly had three projects that I had to finish writing in a week (plus the research). This I managed. But I literally had to work non-stop on Friday to get everything in. 

So when I was done, and I still had my blog post to write, I just felt like crying. 

At which point I decided to give myself the entire weekend off with no screens (except Netflix) so that I could recover. 

Fortunately for me, I did. 

But the thing is, it made me realize that I had to change something for my own well-being. 

I worked until I was exhausted and that also made me feel sick. And if I kept it up, I definitely would have derailed in some way or the other. But that did give me the impetus I needed to make a change I’d been worried about for months now… 

My freelance rates and turnaround times. 

See, when I got started, I really stressed how fast I can work and how relatively inexpensive I was. It was my way of getting into the market. It was good, and for quite some time, I never felt the impact. First, because I didn’t have anything else to do. Then because I basically entered a quiet editing time while working on my contract.

But this month when everything crashed together, I realized that I could no longer deliver work in seven days unless I was compensated for the fact that I was taking time away from my other contracts. 

So I completely restructured the way I charge for my work, which you can check out on Fiverr

I used to be somewhat worried about making this change. What if my clients didn’t come back? What if I didn’t get any more orders? 

But the last month has shown me that I’m willing to only work on my contract rather than 1) burn out because I have too much to do or 2) take a knock on my income because I wanted to keep my editing prices low.

So that’s basically what my January was about. How about you? Are you also working on changing things this year? How is it going?

8 thoughts on “Update Day: Taking Action

  1. You know, you’re not the only person I know who’s had a burn out this month. And I’ve had more issues with my anxiety this month than I’ve had in the last six years. I think January has seriously been sent to test us.

    1. Yeah you might be right. I prefer to look at it as January was sent my way to force me to make decisions I’ve been putting off for months.

    1. Yeah. I also got a bit of a break by working on something visual (editing a video), so my brain feels a lot fresher than it’s been in ages. 🙂

  2. Glad you made the change. That’s what I was going to suggest–to charge more. If you have too much work, charge more. Hopefully you’ll make the same, but without killing yourself.

    Being self-employed is so challenging, because there’s no one to set limits. Sometimes it seems like my life revolves around work and endless to-do lists, but if it stays that way for too long, I get really cranky. Life has to get squeezed in too. And fun. Fun is important.

    Take care of yourself. x

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