So, I usually blog about work…. ½ day excel courses, putting theory into practice, spreadsheet risk etc. but a new year and a new blog – my thoughts on how I deal with the unpredictability of the world of freelancing / project based work.
As most people who work on project based work might agree the only thing that is predictable is the unpredictability of it all. One month I can have the most successful month since I started on my own 4 years ago, lots of Excel and PowerPoint training booked in, multiple spreadsheet consulting projects and lots in the pipeline. Other months it can be a struggle to see where the next big project is coming from. Then when you are least expecting it, a client gets in touch in a big PANIC to say that their spreadsheet has fallen apart and needs help NOW. Often when this happens, when I say they “get in touch” I mean, they call, email and text – just to make sure I really know there is a PANIC in their lives and it needs fixing.
My one piece of advice to myself to deal with this unpredictable predictable situation is when work is quiet; to act like today is my last day off. I don’t mean this in a deep way where people say act like today is your last day on earth, (no offence, I love fixing spreadsheets, but if it was my last day on earth, I wouldn’t be at my computer, I would be on a beach somewhere eating a lot of Dairy Milk). What I mean is that I never want to be in a situation when someone contacts me for a new project, and all that goes through my mind is “Help! But I have to do my tax return! Prepare my accounts! Plan for a training session that was booked in months ago but I haven’t got round to planning yet!” Instead, I want to be able to quickly say, “Yes no problem, what do you need?”.
The downside is that I can spend some days when I can barely breathe because I am trying to get everything done. The next day, no new leads come up and I wish I had spread-out my to-do list, but when that panicked clients gets in touch and I am available to help, then I know yesterday’s running around was worth it.
If you have a spreadsheet you think could do with some love, please get in touch.