I know I’m subjecting you guys to some blog radio silence at the moment — and here you are, only halfway through your business plans! It’s the usual holidays-work-travel pile-up but I promise we’ll get back to that soon.
In the meantime, I’m delighted to report that several of my posts have been reprinted over on We Are the Real Deal, a project of the nonprofit NORMAL, which raises awareness about eating disorders, body image and self-esteem through the arts. We Are the Real Deal is “an educational blog universe” where a roster of over 40 contributors blog about body image, self-esteem and nutrition for young girls and women.
I know this has already made the rounds on Facebook, but I think it’s worth sharing here, too.
I don’t have to tell you that the story of Sandy Hook is a tragedy beyond comprehension.
But Sandy Hook is also a story of helpers.
And now it is time for all of us to be helpers, too.
Liza Lang was helping when she wrote “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother,” to show how poorly our country misunderstands, mistreats and ignores people with mental illness.
Mayor Bloomberg and the Campaign of Mayors Against Illegal Guns (and many other activists) are helping by demanding that President Obama and Congress come up with a plan to end gun violence.
I’m going to interrupt the Business Plan Writing series real quick here, because I want to show you this. Brace yourself. It’s a lot.
I’m posting that as big as Dashboard will let me — if you’re all squinty and can’t read it, click the image and it should get bigger in a new window. (If that doesn’t work, try zooming in your computer screen’s view.)
This, my friends, is the amazing color-coded spreadsheet that runs your entire Freelance Life. Now that you’ve learned how to set your income goals (or are maybe still digesting all of that), I thought it would be helpful if I showed you exactly what tracking those goals all year long looks like.
This spreadsheet is not a requirement. There are many good systems (Quicken, a big wall calendar, an intricate series of emails to yourself… ) but this is the one that I live and die by and have been refining for the past seven years.
So what the hell are you looking at?
Let’s break it down by looking just at Quarter 1:
Today we’re going to talk about part two of your business plan: Financial Goals. This is where sh*t gets real, people. Break out the calculators! (I am so amused by me talking authoritatively about math, I can’t even tell you. Somewhere, my high school math teacher Mrs. Hayes is having the best day and she doesn’t even know why. It’s because all those hours you spent in after school study help, dragging me through quadratic equations were not a waste, Mrs. Hayes!*)
So let’s break this down.
The Brilliant Business Plan Top in Gold, by Mod Cloth.
Previously on The Freelance Life, we talked about useful resources and what you need to have in place before you quit your day job. But as I said at the end of that post, after you’ve started pitching and making connections and saving a start-up fund, there is still one more entirely critical thing that you need to do: Write a business plan.
Here’s a fun one that I wrote for Organic Spa Magazine, a new mag about all things eco-beauty and wellness. It’s no secret round these parts that I live with migraines or that I’ve actually had to go the fairly aggressive route to deal with them and the related issues. There was that surgery, which, alas, is turning out to have mixed results. Plus my neurologist injects my shoulders, neck and scalp with 25 to 30 shots of Botox every three months, which makes me feel vaguely like a car getting its oil changed (oh so painfully) but does seem to be working.
I get this question so often. People are miserable with cubicle life, itching for a more flexible schedule and ability to be outdoors in the daylight hours, and they want to up and drop everything and hang out the freelance shingle.
So let me cut right to the chase and give you the short but sad answer: Probably not.
At least, not right now.
This is because pretty much nobody should quit their day job in the current economy without having already lined up their next job. Not if they are responsible for say, rent, or feeding themselves and perhaps other people. It’s too damn dicey out there.
Ever since my article “The Pink Pyramid Scheme” ran in the August issue of Harper’s Magazine, I’ve been getting the best emails (and blog comments and Facebook messages) from you readers. (Okay, I also get some funny and not so friendly feedback… but the positive outweighs the negative by a significant margin.)
If I haven’t responded to your note directly, please understand that it’s only because I get such an onslaught and I am but one medium-sized person. But I love and read them all because hearing your thoughts and experiences has a major impact on the work I do. Anyway, I thought I’d share this one email, from a reader who asked to be anonymous,* because she’s in a pretty vulnerable spot. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to quit an MLM-style program and reconcile your losses (whether it’s money, self-esteem, friendships, or a combination thereof). Her experience is pretty much why I wrote the article in the first place — to help women who have been exploited by these scams see what they are up against and get out.