• Use the Moon to Gain More Control Over Your Business

    Since starting out as a freelancer, I have been trying to maintain some structure and get an overall feel for how my business is doing by completing a monthly business review. I call it my “Full Moon Business Review”.

    Now you may think it’s silly, but there is a long-standing theory out there – one that has been followed by many different cultures – that it is helpful to plan out your activities according to the phases of the moon.

    Honestly, I don’t know if I believe in it wholeheartedly or not. But it does give me an outline by which to structure my activities each week and for that I am profoundly grateful. Since I’m not what you would call an organized person by nature, any external structure I can get is always a good thing.

     The_phase_8_day_of_the_moon (1)

    “The phase 8 day of the moon” by 阿爾特斯 – Own work.

    The basics of the system are:

    • Full Moon to First Quarter Moon – this is the learning, planning, and research phase. You should study new ideas, carry out repairs, and draw up new plans during this phase.
    • First Quarter to New Moon – Analyze your situation and get rid of whatever isn’t working. Also get rid of clutter – this is when I really focus on cleaning out my office space.
    • New Moon to Third Quarter Moon – Start new projects. This is also a good time to get out of the house and meet some new people or try out a new hobby.
    • Third Quarter to Full Moon – Focus on self-promotion and expand upon any on-going projects.
    • On the Full Moon – take stock of yourself and your business. Are you on track? Then make adjustments as necessary.

     

    I have friends who swear by planting their vegetables and flowers by the moon, and many ancient societies planned every cultural activity around it: building projects, religious ceremonies, etc. I figure if it’s good enough for them, it’s certainly good enough for me.

    My plan is to make this even more comprehensive in the future, with an analysis of my finances over the past month, and some serious consideration given to how I spend my time, what activities I do best at which times of the day, and so on. But this will do well enough for now.

    You can check out my first Full Moon Business Review here.

  • Full Moon Business Review – Sept. 09, 2014

    Achievements

     

    Freelancing

    I have reached Level One Seller status on Fiverr. I’ve done really well on this site – who’d have thought? Just goes to show that I should not judge any potential opportunity until I’ve tried it. I have received excellent feedback on my editing and my writing, I’ve developed good relationships with a few people who may turn into long-term clients, and I have built up my portfolio. These were the exact goals I had in mind when I joined Fiverr in the first place, so I consider this a resounding success! (Even if I’ve netted all of $50…)

     

    Web Projects

    On the technical front, I finally launched this here Dot Edits blog – something I’ve been thinking about doing for almost a year now – and I purchased and set up the WordPress theme for another web project of mine. That project is going to require a lot more time, energy, and effort, however, if I am ever going to see any returns.

     

    Education

    I competed my final for Grammar Lab which means that I am officially finished with course #1 of the Copyediting Certificate! Other educational achievements include NoCo Writers’ “Writing for Magazines” Seminar, but I have not yet ordered a certain Travel Blogging Course that I’ve had my eye on for a few weeks now, although I want to. I am afraid that adding one more thing to my already overloaded plate – even something as fun as travel blogging – would derail me completely. I may hold off on that for now.

     

    Social

    I took a good first step towards learning how to ask for help when I need it. It had nothing to do with writing or copyediting, but it was still an important personal growth moment for me: I broke down and asked – nay, begged – my girl friends to help me plan my wedding. Wedding planning is a conflagration of tasks seemingly purposefully designed to make me fail. The organizing, the pressure, the trying-to-make-everyone-happy, the money! I thought this was supposed to be fun…But lucky for me I have wonderful friends who love this stuff, so I’m letting go of control and letting them do what they’ve been begging to do since I got engaged 6 months ago: take over some of the wedding preparations. This was a big step for me, and I’m proud of myself.

     

    What Isn’t Working

     

    Freelancing

    Elance: submitting proposals is time-consuming. For at least 2/3 of the jobs I’ve submitted proposals for, a candidate was never chosen. This equates to a massive amount of wasted time. And for all the extra work you have to do submitting detailed proposals, clients don’t expect to pay you much more than they would on Fiverr – about $5 for 500 words. I know that Elance works out very well for some people, but it is not for me. I could potentially make this work if I were MUCH more selective about the jobs I pitched (and maybe I’ll do that someday) but for now, I’m calling it: it is time to abandon Elance.

     

    Web Projects

    I have another idea for a blog – a craft blog. It is one that I used to maintain but had to abandon when I started working FT again. I actually had a dream this week wherein a friend of mine told me to relaunch the blog. And I want to, I really do, and I genuinely think it would be a good idea. But I’ve been trying to find the time all month and have made exactly zero progress. This should be a greater priority in the coming month.

    It’s time to get more disciplined about content creation. If my blogs are going to succeed, I must write content for them every single day. And not just drafts. I have a million drafts and very few finished posts. How about this: I easily have enough drafted content in the annals for 20 blog posts. So every weekday for the next month I will take one draft and turn it into one finished blog post.

     

    Education

    I have decided, once and for all, not to sign up for Lynda.com and not to feel guilty for not doing so. The content is great, but the course structure doesn’t work for me and I don’t need the extra expense. I have also, VERY regretfully, canceled my membership at Treehouse. I adore Treehouse, and I love the way they structure their courses and overall learning experience – but the content is very web design/development heavy and that just isn’t where I see my career heading right now. Sigh.

     

    Social

    I have been focusing on making sure that I get out of the house and trying to be more social. I worked in the park one day, and I have worked at the library a few times. I could really do better at this, though. I joined a book club – but didn’t open my mouth once I got there – and I haven’t been to any Meetups. Overall, my strategy for simply getting out more is going alright; my strategy for finding/building a better community is falling flat. My best social interactions of late have been with clients online, rather than with people in my “real” life. Maybe there’s a lesson in that?

    I have not done as well as I should at keeping my office clean. It’s a mess and needs a complete overhaul. Really. I’m talking new floor, new paint, new organizational system, and a serious de-cluttering. Perhaps this is my next opportunity to let other people help me. I could call on the talents of my creative friends and host a home office re-design weekend. (Question: Is that too much to ask of people? Where is the line between “asking for help” and “being a major imposition”/”making a nuisance of yourself”?)

     

     

     

    Adjustments/To-Do List

     

    • Work 1/2 day 2x/week somewhere, anywhere outside the house.
    • Build a stronger social community (but how??).
    • Spend significant time outdoors (hiking, biking, skiing, sitting in the park) twice per week.
    • Devote more time in the evenings to other web projects.
    • As much fun as magazine and travel writing would be, continue to focus your attention on blogging, for this next month at least.
    • Join organizations?
    • No more Elance.
    • 2x a week, take one draft and turn it into one finished (as in, publishable) blog post.
    • Home office needs a major re-design.