Today, I got a new freelance job. For myself. It’s on a trial basis, for nine weeks. At the end of July, I’ll have a performance evaluation and see if I was up to par.
No. I haven’t gone crazy. (Although some days I wonder.)
I’m posting about this experimental hiring of myself for accountability. I’ll update occasionally throughout this testing period.
My checkbook prompted this new regimen. Or, should I say the diminishing numbers in the checkbook. I’ve been a full time freelancer for a little over a year now. I’ve made it through this far. Barely. But, between royalty checks being far less than I’d like, and a few assignments falling through, it seems that each month gets just a bit further behind. I didn’t have the money for a new tire last month. I’ve realized that it’s been a year since I made a trip to see my grandkids that are growing up far too quickly. And, I’m looking ahead and wondering how I’ll get to California in November for my mom’s eightieth birthday.
Looking at the financial aspects jockeying for attention, I decided to apply at local libraries for a part time summer position. I applied for four positions. All were from fourteen to nineteen hours a week. It would cut into my writing time, but the supplemental paychecks would add a few (very few) figures on my bank balance.
Except…the positions begin next week…and no one has even called me for an interview.
I should have been perfect for them. I’ve worked in a library before. I’m a mother and grandmother – I know about dealing with children. And…I’m a writer.
Evidently they didn’t think I was as good of a fit as I thought I was.
When I stopped into the dollar store last week for some laundry soap, I noticed a ‘Help Wanted’ poster in the window. I debated about filling out an application, hoping for a ten to twelve hours a week job. At home I pulled up their website and was checking out the employee benefits page before I got a reality check.
For a rough guesstimate, ten hours a week at nine dollars an hour is three hundred and ninety dollars a month. Minus gas. Minus taxes. That brings me down to about three hundred dollars a month.
If I add in a half hour drive each way, probably twice a week, now I’m looking at twelve hours invested to get three hundred dollars. Surely, I thought, if I productively queried for twelve hours a week I could generate at least that much, if not far more.
I’m talking working for that whole time. Not blogging. Not connecting on social media. Not researching. Not adding to a novel that’s still far from complete. Not outlining a new book that tempts me from the netherlands.
Twelve hours a week of queries. Or, writing on said anticipated assignments.
I decided to run a trial period. Nine weeks. The period the library jobs would have run. I made myself a time card. I’m going to log in and out. I’m going to track my time. I’m committing to an aggressive twelve hours a week.
I looked back at the past four months. Three queries one month. Nine another. Four another. No wonder the acceptances aren’t rolling in. Three and four queries a month is pitiful. Did the 30 Days/30 Queries class I took from Mridu Khullar Relph last year not sink in? Did I learn nothing?
If I’m going to thrive in this career and make some good money, not muddling through at just over broke, then I’d better buckle down and treat it with the same respect and hard work that I’d give any other employer.
So I’m hiring myself and will track my progress, much as I’d have to prove to a boss that I’d accomplished the tasks they set forth for me.
Now I’m motivated. There’s nothing like a little challenge to bring out the contestant qualities lurking under my skin. I’ve got something to prove. I’m out to prove that investing the time in myself and my own career will be better financially than any other punch-the-timeclock job.
I’ll keep you posted!