Taking stock

The freelance life can feel pretty perilous, bobbing about on the waves of economy. I’ve just about kept my head above water so far, but I recognise the dangers below. It wouldn’t take too much to sink me. Rather than powering on blindly, I thought it wise to take a moment to pause, tread water, and take stock of my situation. See how I’m doing—really. In short, I’ve just given myself a Quarterly Review.

This is something I planned for as part of my Business Strategy – partly as a means to formalise my intentions and partly to spur me on. That meant clearly defined Goals, measurable Targets to gauge success, and meaningful Actions devised to help achieve them. I call it The Ambition Engine.

I’m not going to bore you with the stats; this is a blog, not a formal report. Suffice it to say, I’ve hit most of my Q1 Targets and I’ve missed a few. I overburdened myself with Actions, essentially. There was too much background work getting in the way of my paid Editing. I’ll learn to balance these better as I go on.

The headline is good: I’ve managed to pay my half of every household bill for the past 4 months, the majority of which was covered by my earnings. That’s a strong indicator I’m on course.

However, if I project the underlying trend forwards through 2021, I am gradually sinking. I’m going to need to either increase the number of jobs I’m getting or raise my prices if I want to make it to the end of Q2 in good condition. To that end, the next three months will be focused on outreach – expanding both my network and my services. I’ll let you know more as these plans develop.

Fundamentally, 2021 is all about putting into place the infrastructure, habits, and activity needed for The Fine-toothed Comb to reach self-sufficiency by the end of Q4. If I have to shift the timing of a few Actions around as I go, or if I need to restrategise on a larger scale at my Q2 review, so be it.

I remain focused, energised, and determined to succeed.

That’s it for now.

All the best,

Next week at The Fine-toothed Comb: Spotting the Signs (Cracking Isolation, part 2)

thefinetoothed.com Your work, elevated.


If you’re interested in my business journey, you might want to head back to the early days when I was still stuck at the bank, dreaming of a freelance life, hovering On the wind.

And for a glimpse at what’s coming next, check out the Update at the end of Getting serious.

If you’re more interested in my personal journey, you might want to read the first part of my Cracking Isolation series, The Bewilder-boy.

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4 thoughts on “Taking stock”

  1. That’s a really great thing to do when you’re self-employed. I did something similar for years, using the Best Year Yet book’s first 3 questions – basically a YAY, Ahhh, What Have I Learnt reflection. Keeping that overview is so helpful. And congrats on your first quarter!

    • Thanks, Megan. None of this background stuff comes naturally to me, business-wise. I’m getting used to spotting my blind spots and challenging myself though: what I can do better, how I can measure my success etc. I need to do more than just keep ticking along. Can I make to to the end of Q4 with my safety-net intact and untouched? We shall see…


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