Friday, May 16, 2008

Is instability stable for my business?

I was bemoaning the up and down nature of my freelance business yesterday, when my husband said something interesting. He said, "The instability is your stability." Let's think about that.

It's true that every freelance business has busy times and not so busy times. Well, it has been certainly true for me over the last decade. I can't really plan what my workload will be very far in advance, because just when I think I know what's on my plate, something gets canceled, or moved ahead or pushed back, or something else drops in my lap that I couldn't turn down. I think it's part of my charm, and part of my success, that I take on last minute work whenever possible. But it's also to my detriment that every slow period gets me very bummed out.

Yet if I look back on my total billings for the past five years (this is my judgment period, because in the years before that I worked less cuz I was having babies), they've been pretty steady year over year, and in a good way. Even this year, when things were scary slow for, I thought, two or three months, I'm on track to do as well as I did last year. And even my month-over-month billings haven't varied too much this year.

So is my husband right? The one constant in my work life is that it's inconsistent, that I go through peaks and valleys, that these ups and downs make me alternatively depressed or stressed? I guess so. Now the big question, is that a stability I can live with?

Hmmmm. Gotta think about that one. Although I guess in truth, that's what this blog is all about, thinking about whether I can stand another 25 years of instability as the basis of my work life, in return for the freedom freelancing allows. I don't know the answer today, but I'm still young, I'll keep trying to figure it out.

Happy long weekend!

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