It's depressing, but not the end of the world. It just means we should have spent less time (mostly me - Tony is working on a new SA Auction site for a client) trying to improve our sites in case a few locals popped onto them to take a look (after reading the article), and should have spent more time on looking for more work. We've had a few okay months since starting to work from home in February 2008, but quite a few pretty bad months too - this month is one of the not so hot ones. Even our next Adsense cheque is not quite yet due, and even then, it takes about 7 weeks before it arrives in the post.
Back to oDesk, I guess, for now. oDesk is a freelance site where all sorts of work can be done, or people (Internationally) looking for freelance workers can hire them. I've been a member there for about a year now - take a look at my profile there - and have picked up some fun and interesting little freelance jobs - some not so little - we did work for a Florida US personal injury lawyer, recently, that lasted over 4 months and paid well.
So, how do we survive at times like this (it's happened before) - while waiting for, or trying to get the next client?
As a divorced mom of two boys, the children get a maintenance at the end of each month (about half of what their living expenses are when they're with me, their primary custodian - they're with me 18 nights in a 28 day period) This amount pretty much immediately goes on our telephone and ADSL account, and our rent at my parents, where we live. Those are two biggies that need taken care of immediately each month. There's a little already set aside, in a fixed savings, for the boys' future, which is "off limits" and doesn't even exist in my mind. That's not being touched. It's for the boys - and actually still needs to be so badly added to.
Another biggie is petrol. It's a 22 minute drive to school, but at least it's not all one big monthly cost, and we take it as it comes.
Back to oDesk - if we pick up a little job there, that we can manage, say, today, and hope the "oDesk buyer" pays today too, we can only access our earnings 6 days later. So, if we have money for only 4 days, what do we do for the inbetween 2 or 3 days, before accessing oDesk earnings?
We make a plan, and this is what all people struggling for an income should do. Make a plan.
market ourselves silly and sleep just 4 hours a night, to get a local client before the 4 days are up;
if 4 days go by and no local client, then we skimp and save and cut all we can, to get through the next 2 or 3 days while waiting for an oDesk payment;
although we don't like to borrow money from friends in case we struggle to pay it back, there is a friend or two who could and would help us out for a day or two - the boys even have a little birthday money over they wouldn't mind helping us out with for a day or two - but this is pretty much a last resort (they will tease they want interest when we pay them back, lol!);
other options are to hang a sign on the front wall to sell something we no longer need, or sell a few plants - we pretty much started out selling plants;
And we get by. We make a plan, and get by.
Our reputation of good service is growing, and so is our portfolio.
This article is probably putting people off thinking of quitting their regular job and trying to work from home, and, in a way, that's good. Working from home does not suit everyone, but, at the same time, one should also realise: where there's a will, there's a way.
Other articles on our sites that may be of interest to you:
How Difficult is it to Find a Decent Job in East London, South Africa?
Don’t spend forever trying to find work. Just work.
© copyright Teresa Schultz 2010