The 15 hour freelancer

Week 1 of my adventures in freelancing

Our emergency savings was just one more emergency from being depleted. One of our cars needed a major repair. The other one needed a desperate oil change and a new windshield. If the stress from the bills didn’t keep me up at night, my ever-changing work schedule did the trick: working one day 9-5, the next from 4 to midnight. I was praying that I wouldn’t fall asleep at the wheel during the hour-long commute home driving between semis and racers on the lonesome stretch of I-80.

But at least I could ride off the stress on my bicycle along the peaceful American River Bike Trail. That is until I discovered I couldn’t shift anymore. I flipped my bicycle over to try to repair the cable, only to discover it too would need a major repair. 

My bike’s gear cable snapped. And then I did.

Finally snapping

I broke down in hysterical laughter and sobbing as I felt God taking away everything from me. Note I said “felt”. All He really was taking away were the idols in my life, the false gods and vain deities I had trusted. I knew we were in financial trouble, but then my bicycle broke, I knew I had to choose to postpone fixing it so I could afford to pay rent just one more month.

How I got here

A long story short: Several years ago, I left a good company for what seemed like an opportunity to really advance my career and bring in more money than ever before. Instead, the opportunity fizzled out and I wound up leaving. I then took a job that didn’t pay as much, but was at least something I could do to eventually get us back on our feet. I thought, “This is just temporary. I’ll find something back at my previous pay grade in a few months”. 

Fast forward to over a dozen months later, I accepted that we would have to scale down our lifestyle and scale up my freelance work just to keep food on the table. The solution wasn’t likely going to be from landing a new job, but sticking with my current one and building something profitable on the side. It might be that this was divinely orchestrated to push me to do something I never had seriously tried before.

What’s at stake

I recently took part in a coaching group on building a side-business in 15 hours a week. One thing the coach shared is the idea of a burning platform: something that’s at stake if you don’t succeed.

Here’s mine: fluffy bunnies might die.

Yes, my biggest fear is that we’ll lose my daughters’ rabbits because I couldn’t afford to keep them. That might seem ridiculous, but that’s been my concern that forces me out of bed earlier than I need to, and keeps me focused on work when I’d rather be playing video games.

An inside look at freelancing with 15 hours a week

For the next 12 weeks, I’m going to share with you what I’m doing in regards to freelancing. My ups and downs, my wins and losses. With each week, I’ll give you a brief summary of what I’ve got planned for this week when it comes to freelancing.

What’s planned for this week

  • Serving: I’m helping some clients this week with their Google Ads campaigns, lead generation forms and physical signage. I’m hoping to work with some others on print ads and motion graphics for videos.  
  • Creating: I’ll likely be using Adobe apps like Photoshop and Premiere for creating assets for Google Ads and producing videos with motion graphics for lead generation forms. I’m also using Adobe Illustrator for exterior signage.
  • Learning: I’m reading and working through Tier 4 of Christy Wright’s “Business Boutique” to finish my business plan (I bought the book for my wife but I’ve learned a lot too). I’ve also got Matt Perman’s “What’s Best Next” on audiobook downloaded from the library, plus five others.
  • Marketing: I’m mostly focused on writing this blog post, designed to be the first of 12 that I’ll compile into an eBook 

Next week, I plan to share how I’m plan and schedule by decade, year, quarter and week.