All my life I’ve been living in Russia. Moreover I live in the Urals and summer is something unreliable and unpredictable here. For example, last year most summer days were cold and rainy. Thankfully my husband and I are both freelancers, and without a moment’s hesitation we left this God forsaken place and spent 1.5 months in Spain and Greece.
But this year has beaten all. June 2015 has turned out to be unexpectedly intensive, productive, and fruitful. I didn’t have time to post enough in Social Media and on my website, let alone diversified menu of my family which was badly-hit. Finally, this crazy month has ended, all invoices are issued, and I can catch a break and summarize a few things.
Since 2011 we have been keeping records of all our projects and making up diagrams to be able to compare different months and even years of our business. I think all of you could agree that freelance business is quite uneven during the year (especially if you are not a guru yet): one month you can hardly earn to pay your bills, the other you work without turning a hair and make up a good sum which makes you feel much more optimistic about what you are doing.
On the diagram above each month has its own gradation. For example, June is represented by something close to peach color, so you can clearly see that over the last 4 years this month was showing more than moderate performance. However, the last peach line is much longer than its neighbors and it has almost reached last September level!
Another diagram below is a little bit different. The whole year picture is not so obvious here, but instead you can easily compare one and the same month over the last years. And again this June is an obvious leader.
You can say that the reason is currency fluctuation and depreciation of the ruble. I would agree only in some measure. Difference between currency rate of June 2014 and June 2015 constitutes about 57%, but our business efficiency has increased almost forefold, which is saying something! I think that this “June 2015 phenomenon” has complex explanation:
- currency fluctuations;
- slack period in March and April and unusual shift of demand to warm months (perhaps because of geopolitical factors);
- new customers due to my activity in Media and regular profiles updates;
- rate increase for most customers in December 2014; and
- growth of business in general (transition from quantity to quality in terms of client screening).
Sorry if it sounds boring to you. I am a humanities-minded person too and usually I am far removed from figures and arithmetic. Unless we are talking about business efficiency and totalizing all projects for another month or year. I feel especially inspired when I see fruits of our labours on another small diagram and make sure that we are not standing still, but making progress, building our future, making our small family business stronger and more confident.
All this is leading to the question:
Why do we keep these records and why would I recommend the same to other freelancers?
Visibility — this is the main reason!
It is widely known that no business can develop without planning. There are a lot of tips and precious guides about making marketing plans, setting goals, day planning, and so on. I am sure that accounting and summarizing should be part and parcel of any freelance business alongside with planning. Moreover it is highly useful if you turn all these boring figures into bright and illustrative pictures, graphics, or diagrams. You can clearly observe tendencies of your market demand and speed of your business growth.
Finally, you may plan your holidays for the period which is more than likely going to be slower than others. To tell the truth, not many freelancers let themselves leave work totally during vacations. Still you must admit that it is better to try to relax somewhere near the sea without thinking of emails and clients too much, than to be torn between traveling temptations and a natural wish not to lose nice projects.
Some of you may think that all this should be clear to any freelancer who is serious about his/her business. Yes, definitely! However too many beginners don’t think about these “small details” and just waste precious time. Some of them are mindless even when it comes to keeping all projects in order on their computers. That is why I would be glad if this post is of any help at least for one of them.
My conclusion is simple: business will never grow without order in your workflow and mind, wise planning and marketing, and the last but not the least — belief in your goals and ambitions!
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