Happy first of May! It’s hard to believe that May Day (or Lei Day if you’re in Hawaii) is already here once again. Besides being a sure sign that summer is right around the corner, the end of April was significant for this blogger because it marked the first full month that I captured full quantified self analytics on five areas of life I really wanted to put numbers to: business miles driven, hours worked, photo shoots completed, miles walked, and miles ran.
The purpose of adding these numbers to each monthly recap blog this year is to add another layer to blog by showing a more in-depth perspective of what the freelance lifestyle actually looks like. Rather than just saying “I worked a TON this month,” I now have the data to tell you what “a TON” means to me. In addition to providing perspective, doing these monthly statistical recaps is also proving helpful as a form of accountability, making sure I actually do my accounting at the end of every month. So here’s a snapshot of what the month of April looked like, with some comparisons to March.
Business miles driven.
121 miles less than March
*tracked by MileIQ[/tw-column]
172 hours, 54 min
Hours worked for the month
110 hours,41 min more than March
*tracked by Toggl[/tw-column]
Photo shoots completed
Same as March
*tracked by Sunrise Calendar[/tw-column]
10.56 miles more than March
*tracked by FitBit[/tw-column]
41.6 miles more than March
*tracked by Strava[/tw-column]
What Went Well
+ A nice range of photography gigs
I was blessed with 16 photo shoots in April, and they all ended up being a nice mix of restaurant interiors, food, corporate event, and concerts. Some of my favorite shoots are linked below. All of my photography recaps are published on my photography site, so all of the below links will take you there:
- Brett Morgen, director of Montage of Heck, a documentary about Kurt Cobain
- We Day Seattle 2015, an annual event of celebrities including Laila Ali
- Stone Temple Pilots (with Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington as lead singer) kick off their spring tour in Seattle
- Kraken Congee restaurant opens in Pioneer Square, Seattle
+ Diversifying income beyond photography
Although I worked significantly more hours this month compared to March, the total number of photo shoots I did remained the same. Not to mention, last month included two and a half weeks of vacation, so the fact that I crammed 16 photo shoots into less than two weeks is pretty mind blowing. At any rate, these stats indicate one of two things: either last week’s photo shoots were shorter than this month’s, or there was more work to do this month that wasn’t related to photo shoots. In this case, the latter is true, as my Toggl time tracker indicates that a majority of the paid work was dedicated to (in this order) photo shoots, social media consulting, web design, and blogging. Hooray for quantifying diversity of income streams!
+ Collaborating with others
An interesting stat that stood out from April was 32 hours dedicated to what I dubbed “freelance consulting advice,” or having meetings with other like-minded creatives with the idea of possibly working together on projects. While on vacation last month, I resolved that it was time to start building teams to split responsibilities and ultimately have more time and (wo)manpower to tackle bigger and better projects. Apparently that goal truly manifested itself in April since 32 hours were spent meeting and conspiring with 5 other creatives. At the moment, nothing super concrete has come of any of those meetings, but I’m confident that many of them will blossom into fruitful partnerships.
+ Reigniting the endorphin addiction
Since opting for the self employed life two and a half years ago, exercise has regrettably taken a back seat in daily life, until recently. Thanks largely to this abnormally warm winter and spring season in Seattle, I’ve been doing 3-5 outdoor runs every week. Usually that doesn’t happen until June or July every year. The result has been a renewed passion for running, as well as some incredulity that I ever could have done it on a daily basis. Realizing I’m not in the best shape ever has been a tough pill to swallow, but at the end of the day, it’s enough to simply have found a friend in outdoor running once again.
+ Learning to code
I’ve dated enough software engineers and developers here in Seattle to know that hard core programming and coding is definitely not for me. However, one of my resolutions for the year was to at least have a foundation in basic HTML and CSS coding for the sake of advancing my budding skills in web design. I started seriously taking a structured approach to learning the basics of coding this month and have surprised myself with how much I already knew, as well as how much I had yet to learn. Thanks to the interactive and affordable online learning tools I’ve been using as well as the support and guidance from my boyfriend, learning to code has been an enjoyable experience and I look forward to continuing my studies this year.
P.S. I’ve already begun drafting an upcoming blog that will summarize my journey of learning to code with tips and tools on how anyone can get started.
What Could Be Improved
For the first time in a while, I can’t think of much to add to this section, other than:
– Devise more effective follow up plans
I suppose the biggest factor that I know needs improvement is follow through and developing better sales pitches. The fact that I spent 30 hours chatting with potential work partners is a great stepping stone, but to really maximize that investment of time, I need to work on closing sales and following up.
How did your month of April go?
What were some of the challenges and wins you faced on April? Are there any topics or resources you’d like to see added to this blog that would help you out on your own journey? Let me know in the comments below, or shoot me an email!