This is a long one, but it’s worth it! Promise 🙂 I do not like talking about my income.. I’m not here to shame you

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This is a long one, but it’s worth it! Promise 🙂

I do not like talking about my income.. I’m not here to shame you into earning more, I do not give a fewk how much someone earns.. If you’re happy with what you earn and where you are in life, then that’s perfect for me!

But I properly implemented a couple of things this year that helped my life be better, so am gonna overcome the weird feels cos this can help y’all..

In we jump!

In 2019 I had a great year of earnings..
2020 was a frickin’ challenge (as it may have been for you)
2021 I scraped by and barely got into taxable income

I had some repeat design clients, I mentored a few freelancers and I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted next..

I’d been cruising for a while, enjoying work as it came with no real desire to change.

Work often bled into my down time, I didn’t promote myself or my designs and I wasn’t charging for my time properly – I also hadn’t upped my prices in aaaages.

If am honest, I wasn’t that happy and I was acting avoidant.

Over my 10 years freelancing I’d tried lots, some had worked, some hadn’t. I’d had plenty of amazing clients but also did plenty of projects just to keep the lights on. I’d tried so may tips and tricks to get more clients or make my marketing pop! that I’d forgotten who I was as a designer.

I had disassociated from my work.
I’d lost the joy.
It was just what I did for money.

*this is a dour one eh?*

This time last year (with the prospect of a repeat client repeating no more), I figured I can’t keep on like this. I need to frickin’ do something or I’ll be destitute by June!

Here’s what I done..

I asked myself what I actually wanted from life and I came to this:

1. As much free time as possible
2. The headspace to enjoy it
3. Enough money not to have to care about it every month

Simple enough eh?

To try make it happen, I started at the bottom:

I worked out how much I need per month – my survival number. It turns out, I don’t need that much a month to not to have to care about my income..

Once I knew the monetary goal, I went to point 2:

What would give me headspace to enjoy life? Well lots of things but focusing on what I can control..

Having all my fixed costs covered by assured income would give me headspace.

So I spoke to my repeat design clients and pitched them an idea:

We’d plan their yearly expense and they would pay it in monthly instalments. Then when their recurring projects came around I’d be on-hand to design for them and they’d know it’s already paid for.

They get to plan their finances and I don’t have to worry about my bills being paid. Headspace, achieved!

Now: As much free time as possible..

Do you love a Friday off? Me too! The five day work week is capitalism telling you your only value comes from grinding in the system.. I wanted my Fridays!

But I also didn’t want to pack 5 days work into 4 days *eww*

I wanted 4 reasonably chill days where I can put myself in a good place and enjoy my work. I also wanted my free time to be guilt-free. No more checking emails to see if someone is expecting something from me!

So I did a few things:

1. I told my clients I’m not available on a Friday
2. All new projects I extended the deadlines – no more self-inflicted pressure
3. This is the scary bit.. I had some major introspection into how I priced my work and I decided to start charging for non-chargeable time – more on that here.

What I mean is.. if I work 30 hours a week, I charge for 30 hours a week..

Time creating marketing – I charge for that
Time spent reading work related stuff – I charge for that
Time writing proposals – I charge for that
Time on the loo – better believe I charge for that!

If it’s work related, if the client benefits even tangentially, that time is charged for.

So without increasing my rate, I was charging more! So I could happily take my Fridays off. Less time working, without losing income!

From this base of having my financial needs covered, more free time and more headspace for myself, I was able to develop my business in a more conscious way.

I was more relaxed about work. I was able to say no to things that didn’t serve me. No to clients who didn’t have the budget I wanted. I was able to focus on mentoring and actually building something instead of reacting to money pressures.

I started with what I actually want from life and did the work to give me that.

The result is I’m close to tripling what I earned in 2021, I’ve had more guilt-free time off than ever before and my headspace has been the best in a long time.

I don’t need £1,000,000 a year – I could do a lot of good with it but I don’t need it!

What I need is as much free time as possible, the headspace to enjoy it and enough money not to have to care about it every month.

And this year I made it happen 🙂

Feel free x

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