Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Bad moods, slow times, and douchebaggery

When I woke up this morning at 6:30 am, I had three thoughts:

  1. Why the fuck is it pitch black outside? Time just rolled back. Which means that if it were last Tuesday, it would be 7:30 am and pitch black outside. WTF is this shit?
  2. Do I really have to get up and face the day?
  3. Why hasn't my husband's alarm gone off since he had a contract to attend to within an hour?
Queue the waking him up to make sure he wasn't late. He wasn't, by the way, going to be late. His alarm went off 10 minutes later. I'm not an asshole wife. I only woke him up because his alarm has this habit of not working. So weird. 

I was in a shit mood. I wasn't upset with anyone. I wasn't in a bad mood. It was just the feeling of, "Blah...here we go again." Then, my husband fixed it by giving me that hug that everyone says they want on FB. You know, the one where all the "broken pieces" stick back together. And it was amazing. And I felt better...at least, until we hit morning traffic. 

Just in case you were wondering, freelancing (self-employment of any kind, really) isn't for the faint of heart. We've been really lucky over the last couple of years. I have a pretty sound mind for business decisions. Other than the first couple of months when I started, we've been able to predict my income fairly well. We've done alright. We aren't rich by anyone's standards. Yet, we manage to keep the bills paid, the family fed, and a roof over our head. Of course, by world standards that's pretty fucking impressive. 

The last two months have been slow. Really slow. In September, we felt the pinch. No big deal. There's always a bit of a fall slump because of the back to school stuff. I don't know why. It's not me. I work just as much, if not more, than I did during the summer. I think that, in reality, it's businesses taking some time to reassess their needs now that their workforce is back from summer vacation. It wasn't a big pinch. All the necessities were taken care of. In October, it was slow again. Ouch. Double ouch when you think about the upcoming holidays. 

I took the "I'll enjoy the quiet while it lasts" approach because for me? The quiet times are few and far between. So, at first it was like a universe sanctioned vacation. Unpaid, of course. I started an art project. I did some personal writing. I just slowed down and caught my breath. 

I've always been fairly good with money. If you're not good with money, you probably shouldn't be self-employed. I've been able to make less money take care of business. So, overall...it was stressful, but alright. 

Last week, I started to panic inside. Work still hadn't picked up. My academic students already had their papers edited by me. The websites that relied on me for their editing were all caught up. Oh shit. So, I started scrambling and applying for more gigs. I landed a nice one. Of course, it's not full time work or even steady work. It's "as needed." Overall, that's fine. I love variety. 

Oh, then there was a lawyer who contacted me for writing articles for his very well to do firm. How do I know he's well to do? In addition to telling me, he sent me his website which listed all of his awards (both from the community / bar and monetary from court). So, I gave him a below average bid on four articles. It was still a good rate, a reasonable rate for me. He wrote back, "Give me your best rate." Really, dude? My life does not revolve around garage sale bargain pricing. I don't get to call my electric company and offer then $10 for my $100 electric bill. I don't get to call the gas company and offer then $20 for a $200 gas bill. That's what I wanted to say...I didn't. I responded and told him that IS my best rate. He basically responded with, "LULZ...nu-uh! Give me your best rate." So, I know someone that I won't be working with. Such douchebaggery. Do you think he allows clients to haggle his rates? That's a big fat nope.

Then, a week ago today I felt sick. Really sick. At first, I didn't think anything of it. Anyone with kids knows that they are walking petri dishes. Well, I was sick from Tuesday until Sunday. In the midst of that, the work from all of my clients began to pick back up. So, I went from panicking because I had practically no work to panicking because how will I ever get it done? 

So, as I sit here and contemplate if I write the four articles that are due, finish my pitch for a legal website, or edit a last minute paper...the dog has decided I shouldn't do any of it. In fact, she didn't want me to write this blog post to remind you of the instability of freelance work. 

There's no real reason for this post other than I'm killing time. I guess if you need to learn anything from what I said it would be continue to flesh out work or keep good relationships with "as needed" clients during the times you have a ton of work so that you have something to do during slow times. That worked for me for two years. I was lucky that my slow period was only a couple of months, but that still puts a pinch on things. 

Panda says HI GUYS.

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Play nice...the hand that feeds you can also choke you.