Freelancing update - August 2021

Revenue and reflections on my fifth month of working as a freelance development consultant.

August was a mixed bag. I failed to achieve one of my goals, and the feelings of burnout continued. However, I felt like I did good work in spite of this, and I’m proactively taking steps to address my burnout and get back to feeling normal.

Stats for August

MonthSite viewsPost viewsTwitter profile viewsEnquiriesDays offRevenue
April 20211,1377494,80020£7,800
May 20211,2633,1444,66015£4,200
June 20211,1925496,62010£6,700
July 20211,1605963,33012£11,800
August 20211,0424931,51134£6,200

Revenue

I issued invoices for £6,200 (~$8,579) excluding VAT in August. These came from a mixture of consulting and development work for two different clients, all of this work was billed on an hourly basis.

Enquiries

I received 3 new work enquiries in August:

Marketing

I put together a small blog post about software testing and tradeoffs in August which did ok, with about 100 views from a social sharing on Twitter and LinkedIn alone.

I prioritised paid work over a social media presence in August to help avoid the feelings of burnout I’ve been experiencing recently. Due to this, my Twitter stats for the month were poor.

A screenshot of my Twitter analytics for August 2021. It shows 41 tweets, 12,300 tweet impressions, 1,511 profile visits, 30 mentions, and 393 followers.

I need to do better with my marketing efforts if I’m to see meaningful improvements in these numbers. However, while I have work to do and enquiries coming in for more work than I can take on, I’m not too worried.

Avoiding burnout

The feeling of creeping burnout I mentioned in July’s update was still there in August. I’ve been tired, slightly brain fogged, and have struggled to concentrate. I’m still motivated to do work, but staying focussed enough to do it is proving difficult, and the sense of purpose isn’t there like it has been.

As a freelancer, clients dependend on me being available and consistent. Knowing this creates a strong temptation to work longer hours in order to make up for my own inefficiencies. However, if I were to do this, I’d be left with a vicious cycle of work followed by burnout, followed by more work, followed by more burnout. It wouldn’t fix anything.

Instead, I’ve been reducing my work quantity to preserve work quality. I’m taking less on than I normally would each day, but I’m using a full normal working day to do it. This means invoicing less than I otherwise might, but it preserves client expectations of quality, and puts me on a positive track to get back to normal.

In addition to reducing my daily workload, I’ll also be using a holiday I’ve booked for the second half of September to take a break from technology, trying to keep my screen time (across all devices) to under an hour a day. I’ve no idea if this will make a difference, but it feels like it might.

Goals for September

My goals for September are fairly simple and focussed on avoiding burning out.

  1. Maintain work quality over quantity.
  2. Use my holiday time to rest up and avoid the Internet as much as possible.

That’s all for August! You should follow me on Twitter if you want to see how this freelancing adventure develops for me. I also have a RSS feed on this site if you’d just like to keep track of new posts on this blog.