first picture I can remember I've used on this project
Past year of 2014, I took of a sabbatical to try and figure out some new new way to have an income other than getting jobs. Through my blog and other postings you might be able to see that attempt a little bit.
One of those attempts were at working with computers online, as that is my speciality. I've tried many different kinds of freelancing, but they're all too competitive and that didn't really work out. One of those freelancing, though, came out of nowhere in December. Months before I had subscribed as a squarespace specialist, despite having experienced it only on a couple sites, mine included. And I really had given up on trying that as well, but suddenly they did accept me.
And people started to ask me for quotes. An average of 1 email per day. The first month nobody wanted to close the deal though. I insisted for a bit more, without changing a thing on the business, since that was no business yet...
Then, in January, out of 10 quote requests, 1 or 2 would close the deal! Now we're starting for real! I even made the landing page, to try and minimize how much I had to explain the business on each email:
it changed a bit over time
It was not the first time I was freelancing at all, I've worked on this kind of market for at least 10 years. But this is the first time I'm dealing with quite smaller clients, and many of them. Despite all my experience, it is still mostly new to me.
My first mistake was calculating my prices. Maybe that was for good, because maybe the price I need to charge (which I now calculate at U$123 more than double my first price of U$42 per hour) would be too much to get even those 5 to 10 people per month. I wouldn't know, I've only changed it this very week!
There are too many calculations evolved into getting to this price. For one, I noticed I just can't charge for anything else other than "perceived work done". At first I thought that could be around 50% of all work actually done, but it's more like around 10%. So, supporting and handling customers, marketing, business plans, fixing errors, all that represent around 90% (per experience) of all work I have to do and I can't charge it, it basically has to be "free".
I don't really care to offer "free" work. One of my attempts past year was working on entertainment. Theater, cinema. And my plan for that was making most of my stuff free, much more than 90%, because I knew if it was to really work I could make a living, and that's all I needed. Same thing here, but in here I won't be able to sell advertisement nor ping little money from less than 1% of millions of consumers who'd pay something.
So I still need a way to keep the business going.
Before changing my prices, I thought of going other routes. An idea came from one of my favorite movies, I Heart Huckabess. At the very beginning, the detectives say they work on a "sliding scale", a term I haven't heard before or since. I went on to research about that, as I found the idea very interesting. It had a lot to do with offering advert games (another of my plans), and selling stuff in it, with varying prices for different audiences. Both ideas are basically tapping into the concept that there are different levels of rich people: the ones who seem to not care about money (whales), the ones who have enough to look like they don't care (sharks) and the ones who have barely enough to survive but still can pay something (tunas).
But a sliding scale is too difficult to implement and maintain as you'd then need to categorize each client to properly charge them. Or it could turn into offering everything for free and accepting varying donations, but I just don't have enough volume for that to work.
Another plan would be investing into much heavier marketing and see if I could get more clients. But even if that would work, I wouldn't be able to maintain my "low" price (and the quality of service).
So everything was getting just too complicated for me to manage all solo and I decided to basically give up this business. It never really flew off the ground, it is still an not self sustaining experiment.
And, before closing the doors, why not, just raise the price and see if it works. So I did. Now I'm giving it a least breath.
Maybe using these forums instead of zendesk for supporting can help it work, building up trust of new clients. Maybe I should try and film a viral video. Maybe I should make a dedicated brand instead of using my old one. I don't know and I believe almost nobody really do know.
By "success" I mean "financially freedom" or "getting enough income to live by without needing to rely on employment". Most success cases out there are made out of pure luck, even if they won't admit it not even for themselves. And the other cases are made out of many failures (like this one attempt of mine) but still requires too much luck. Almost everyone who did succeed won't admit it, but there are enough who do say it out loud "I'm lucky" and that's enough for me to reinforce this belief.
The only formulas for getting steady income that do work evolve at least 10 years of dedicated work and investment (such as medical doctors or civil engineers), something I could never get by, so my only shot is to keep trying my luck. And I guess I'll keep doing it every time I have enough willpower.
I guess I am a bit bipolar (a kind of depression) but then again, who isn't?