Freelancing update - June 2021

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

Working hours were a problem for me in April and May, but I managed to keep time under control in June with a few polite-but-firm refusals. The result was a month mainly focussed on work, with some wavering progress on the content and product front, but a renewed feeling of control.

The stats

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

Revenue

I issued invoices for £6,700 (~$9,200) excluding VAT in June. These came from a mixture of consulting and development work for two different clients. As with previous months, this covers my household expenses and savings goals just fine, so no problems there.

As in May, June's revenue figure represents only the work I billed on an hourly basis. A lot of the other work I did in June is being billed on fixed-cost basis, meaning I won't be able to invoice for it until it's finished later in July or early August.

Enquiries

I received 1 new work enquiry in June. It was from a London-based company looking for some help developing new software for a commercial IoT (Internet of Things) device. It seemed like it would be an interesting project, but unfortunately I had to turn it down due to a lack of availability.

Website visits

My site homepage received 1,192 page views in June. Like last month, there's been no significant change here. I'm fine with this, as building any sort of traffic there is going to be a really slow burner, and it's currently just a brochure site for prospective clients.

Posts visits

My blog posts received a combined total of 549 views in June, which is rather poor. Although some of those views came from traffic to older posts, which is always a good sign that people are actually reading things, the two posts I wrote in June flunked a bit.

My most recent post, "How much does it cost to make an app?" answers a commonly googled (and asked) question. It's really targeted at prospective clients, but so far has only been shared with co-workers and Twitter followers, and so hasn't been read much. I'm going to see if I can change this by sharing it on LinkedIn, and perhaps some Q&A sites where it might find a more receptive audience in July.

Earlier in June, I completely screwed up by sharing May's freelancing update right before Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference kicked off:

A screenshot showing a Tweet about my May freelancing update. The Tweet reads 'Don't care about #WWDC? Luckily for you, my next freelancing update is out!'.

It turns out perhaps people do care about the WWDC. That Tweet got missed almost entirely, and just 13 people looked at that post in the entire month. Oops!

Twitter

Twitter stats were up across the board in June, although I gained just 5 new followers this month:

A screenshot of my Twitter analytics for June 2021. It shows 81 tweets, 75,400 tweet impressions, 6,620 profile visits, 63 mentions, and 391 followers (5 more than last month).

If I'm honest, trying to figure out what strikes a chord with anyone on Twitter is one of the least favourite parts of my work right now. I'm struggling to find valuable things to share because a lot of the work I do just isn't particularly visual or interesting. I'll keep on trying though, as Twitter could be very valuable for me if I can figure it out.

Choosing a product idea

One of the goals I set for myself for June was to choose a product idea to build. After much deliberation, I've settled on something I think could succeed commercially, and which I could reasonably develop, launch, and maintain by myself.

The product would allow people to sell online events or content in an auction-style setup, with customers bidding for access. Targeted at those with a high demand for their time and knowledge, the platform would essentially give them an easy way to generate revenue by simply sharing a link with their audience and waiting for bids to roll in.

For example, if I were a well known expert on a particular technology and I wanted to run a video workshop, I could quickly configure a link with 10 seats for auction on it and tweet a link to my followers. They could then bid on access to the event, with the top 10 highest bids being invited to participate.

The use cases I envisage this working for are various permutations of [in-demand person] selling access to [scarce resource] online. For example:

I've no idea if this is a good idea or not yet, so my next steps are to hone the pitch, and then make contact with some potential sellers on the service. I'm going to ask them directly if they'd use it if I were to build it, and if this goes well, I'll begin planning in earnest.

Reflections and goals for July

Overall I was pleased with how June went, but everything was ok without anything being great. I'd like to have a win on the content creation or audience building front sooner or later, as this takes up a huge amount of time and energy. To get there though, I may just need to keep experimenting and see what works for a little while longer.

I have a busy July ahead of me with a few days booked off for various activities now that Covid restrictions are loosening in the UK, so I'm keeping my goals fairly simple to ensure I'm able to maintain the control over my time that I've been fighting for these past few months:

  1. Get 10 responses to a “Would you use this?” question from well known tech influencers who sell educational content online.
  2. Write another blog post focused on product engineering.
  3. Outsource or stop doing 3 low value, time consuming activities.
  4. Finish my fixed-cost development project and invoice for it.

That's all for June! 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.