Two Days in a Row!

True to my newest resolution. I am posting to my blog two days in a row. I think this is a Briggs Blogs first. Exciting and sad at the same time.

In my quest to turn my freelance endeavors into a viable business, I’m being force to learn about what it takes to actually run a business. The more I read about profit margins, budgeting, invoices, time management, and office organization, the more I realize how unprepared I am to run my own business and work from home and make it work. (For those writers/editors out there: yes, I am aware that last sentence could be categorized as a run-on sentence, but it expresses my thought perfectly…so, it stays as is.)

With a current lull in my paying gigs, I’m taking some time to literally clean house. I’m organizing my files, dusting my “work station” (i.e., the corner of my bedroom that contains the folding table that acts as my desk and printer cabinet), and tracking down outstanding payments. While the actually cleaning and organizing is physically taxing, the tracking down payments is more stressful because of the emotionally and mentally draining nature of the task. Composing correspondence that both tactfully and forcefully conveys the need for a client to pay their bill without alienating anyone is a tightrope walk all freelancers need to make in order to ensure the financial security of their business. We need to be paid without burning bridges, after all repeat business is our bread and butter.

In my research, I have found that I am not the only home-based business owner who has to periodically “bring the hammer down” on delinquent payments. (And by bringing the hammer down, I mean asking nicely for the company to pay their bill again and again, getting just a hint more forceful with each correspondence.) I as of yet, have no horror stories of clients who refuse to pay. I have been very fortunate to work with some very great companies, and if any of you are reading this, “Thank you, for your continued business.”

Running my own business from home has been a blessing and a curse. It has allowed me to work my own hours, be my own boss, and spend time with my family. But it has also meant burning the midnight oil to get a job done after my kids go to bed, unpredictable income, the stress of being “at work” all the time, and no insurance or retirement benefits. All in all, it’s been a good trade-off.

After taking time off from blogging to reflect on what I want to blog (yeah, let’s just call it that), I’ve decided to use this blog to chronicle what I learn about running a business, how I handle working from home, and navigating the choppy waters of being self-employed.

I don’t claim to be an expert (on any subject really…except maybe grammar, unless you find mistakes on this blog and then, forget I said that). But maybe others can learn from my mistakes.

Here’s to the coming year and what it will hold for me and my “new” business (that I’ve technically been doing for fourteen years).


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