Quarantine Confusion - Just Quit Job, How to Proceed?

Joined
Aug 10, 2015
Messages
74
Likes
102
Points
0
What would you do if you were me: keep trying to support my publisher site by freelancing or focus fully on the publisher site right now?

My plans before the virus
Before the virus hit, I planned on quitting my full time job to have much more time for my site that I monetize with ads & affiliate. Because I can't support myself fully with the site yet (it currently makes me a couple hundred euros a month), I planned on freelancing 3 days a week to make up the difference. Do online marketing for others, basically.

So, late Q4 last year I started preparing: researching the market, competitors, potential clients, making calls to people in my network, checking out freelance gig sites in my country (the Netherlands), etc. Based on this, I made several plans:
  1. Start: freelance for former employer for a couple months, 1-2 days a week.
  2. Use my network/contacts to get gigs, 1-2 days a week.
  3. Be the back-up for agencies that oversold (more work than employees) + trainer for junior people & interns, 1-2 days a week.
  4. I used to give IM trainings at several edu companies (companies that train professionals through workshops and such) through the agency I worked at several years ago > be their freelance trainer, once a month (1-3 days at a time)
  5. Last resort: use Dutch freelance gig sites and, if need be, international ones (e.g. Upwork)
My plan was to start with 1, build up enough work through 2 and 3 to replace 1, then supplement with 4. During low seasons I would rely on 5 if need be.

I figured preparing even more would be overkill, especially because my personal situation was looking kinda sweet: 1 year in savings, a gf who works full time as well (we live together), no debt either. So, I started.

I started, and then...
I was good to go after my cancellation period and started the next day, March 1st. Got my company registered, website up, sent out the first proposals, etc. and I'm barely 2 weeks in and a lockdown is announced in Holland. As for my plans:
  1. Former employer: investors pulled out, my proposal on hold, salaries unpaid, it's likely going belly up this month.
  2. My contacts went into survival mode: some lost jobs, most freelancers lost their work, and out of the few that were still doing okay came about a dozen leads. Most of those stopped returning calls, mails or put their companies on hold. Two leads left atm, 0 sales.
  3. Agencies in survival mode: same as above. Had to fire people, sent away freelancers, not returning calls. One lead left, wants to work "when things settle down" (whenever that is).
  4. Edu companies: one put everything on hold, one gone, one still going and in the maybe department. Again, one lead 0 sales.
  5. I responded to dozens of projects on Dutch freelance sites. Most got put on hold, some I haven't heard from, three proposals declined (that's on me) and then halfway through April... silence. One potential project a week in my area of expertise if I'm lucky. As for Upwork: haven't heard back from anyone yet.
In short: 9 weeks in, plans 1-4 seem pretty f*cked. I've got a few warm leads still and any new opportunity in these areas I jump on right away. It seems like Upwork is the place to be until businesses reopen and I can cold call & email them.

I don't meet the requirements for government aid for virus-hit businesses in my country btw.

Meanwhile
Website traffic went from 2-3k to 15k, revenue from 50-ish euros to 200-300 a month. This due to hustle plus a spike in searches due to the virus.

And this is where my confusion comes from: honestly, the impact of the virus took me by surprise. Most of my initial plans seem dead in the water now and that sucks, but I still have to hold myself accountable. Focus on what I can control, but the question is: what direction?

My end game is the site, not freelancing. By doing both, it feels like I'm p*ssyfooting around. When I go all-in on the site, I have to make it in 12 months (because, savings) or it's finding temp jobs while working on it from there. I am willing to do that btw.

Other direction: start advertising my services, ranking for relevant keywords and spending savings on getting things done on the freelance side of things. The end result can still be running out of savings in the current climate, perhaps faster than with the option above. I'm willing to do whatever is needed here, too.

And then there's staying on the road already traveled: closing leads whenever possible, using Upwork too and working on the site the rest of the week.

In terms of certainty of results, what I'm doing with the site is working and I need to do more of it (fairly certain), staying on this road is probably a 50-50 and the other direction is uncertain, as in... it can actually reduce the time I have before temp jobs come into play.

This is one of those rare times where I'm having paralysis by analysis. I feel like a fool for having it, but I'm the only one in my network that's in the publisher site bizz so the people that can relate most are here on BuSo. What would you do?
 
Joined
Mar 19, 2019
Messages
121
Likes
97
Points
0
So, your website is making money and growing, but you’re considering starting freelancing to support yourself? Or, are you at a point where due to the improved performance of your website, your website can almost support you? The thing is, you haven’t even started freelancing yet. Why start an entirely new project when you can just go harder on what’s already working for you, being your website? I feel like starting to freelance at this point is a little useless for you- it just feels like you’d be adding something into the equation that doesn’t lead to any income (due to the virus) while simultaneously taking time away from something that is working (your website).
 

CCarter

King of America
Staff member
BuSo Pro
Boot Camp
Digital Strategist
Joined
Sep 15, 2014
Messages
2,887
Likes
6,310
Points
7
Here is my logic - and take into account I'm in the 1%.

99% of people are going to tell you to take the safe routes. They've taken the safe route their whole lives, so they're advice is worthless.

Whatever you do - you have to double down, and triple down during this "Nuclear Winter".

Always bet on yourself when the stakes are down. I had only 6 months of savings when I started my marketing agency, it took 5 months in till we "magically" got our first client. When the cards are down bet on yourself.

How?

Your current freelance scenario depends A LOT on other people saying Yes. It's literally 100%.

With your own brand/site - you control your destiny. When you control your business you control your destiny. If you want more customers - work harder. Find the areas that are juicy and pouch.

What about COVID?

There are lots of businesses flourishing during this virus. That's a reality. In the USA when Trump gave everyone their stimulus check eCommerce sales spiked that week. I was at Shorty's BBQ - and in the first time in 9 weeks I had to wait for take out. Waited 40 mins, cause there were so many people around.

So there are businesses winning - but you have to pivot and work hard. So if you choose to go down the Freelancer route - start proactively contacting people within the industries which are winning at the moment and offering yourself. However again this is 100% you being dependent on other people for your survival.

All those people that are employees that have been layed off are feeling what it means to be dependent on other people's decisions for survival. However when YOU own the business it's a completely different scenario.

But betting 100% on yourself means ALL the problems are your fault. If your business fails it's your fault.

You can blame outside circumstances like this virus but that's what the 99% do. When something goes wrong they blame others instead of themselves.

As a business owner you could have saved money, had cost buffers, got clients that were recession proof, made investments in assets that could withstand storms.

An example in logistics there was a shipping company that decided to switch a large portion of their client base to grocery stores cause in a recession people still need food. So they started soliciting and selling to grocery stores. This was 2 years before the COVID-19. Now as other logistic companies are dying, this shipping company is flourishing, cause they thought ahead.

So again - first take personal responsibility for where you are at.

Then bet on yourself. And THEN work 18+ hours a day for 7 days a week until the war is won.

I would concentrate on your site and concentrate on nothing but creating content that drive in revenue, that way you are measuring and generating money. In a year from now after 18+ hours a day for 7 days a week creating content and promoting it you'll be at a crazy advantage since you survived during the pandemic.

Never go backwards! Never retreat!



Always trust your decisions.

Never doubt yourself.

Always believe in yourself and your ability to overcome all odds - IF you truly want it.
 

Ryuzaki

お前はもう死んでいる
Staff member
BuSo Pro
Digital Strategist
Joined
Sep 3, 2014
Messages
4,203
Likes
8,079
Points
8
Other direction: start advertising my services, ranking for relevant keywords and spending savings on getting things done on the freelance side of things.
Whatever you do, don't turn freelancing into an SEO project. If you wait on Google to rank you for relevant keywords, the coronavirus scare will be completely over before you take on your first job. Use the sites like Upwork, the Dutch one, Fiverr, SEOClerks, the BuSo marketplace, the ProBlogger job board, etc. You don't need to reinvent the wheel. There are already places people spend money for marketing services. by using those you don't have to attract customers or do SEO.
 
Joined
Aug 10, 2015
Messages
74
Likes
102
Points
0
99% of people are going to tell you to take the safe routes. They've taken the safe route their whole lives, so they're advice is worthless.
This is so true. Whenever friends or family I'm closest to ask how it's going, there are times I tell them about the business side of things and I always come to regret those times because they've never been in the owner position. Never took big risks.

Always bet on yourself when the stakes are down. I had only 6 months of savings when I started my marketing agency, it took 5 months in till we "magically" got our first client. When the cards are down bet on yourself.

How?

Your current freelance scenario depends A LOT on other people saying Yes. It's literally 100%.
Well damn. I never quite thought of it like this, but you laid it out perfectly. I still have some "employee deprogramming" to do. Thanks for making me aware of it!

You can blame outside circumstances like this virus but that's what the 99% do. When something goes wrong they blame others instead of themselves.
This. This is exactly why I'm more pissed off after talking to people in my network about this virus instead of less pissed off. Here I am trying to come up with concrete things I can do and control, while I spot many of them saying they can't do this or that. I want to do, do, do right now, which is why I stopped reading or discussing any virus news and I stopped talking to people about the virus altogether (other than this thread).

So again - first take personal responsibility for where you are at.
You're right. My initial plan didn't work out and I'll own that. Time for a new plan.

Then bet on yourself. And THEN work 18+ hours a day for 7 days a week until the war is won.

I would concentrate on your site and concentrate on nothing but creating content that drive in revenue, that way you are measuring and generating money. In a year from now after 18+ hours a day for 7 days a week creating content and promoting it you'll be at a crazy advantage since you survived during the pandemic.

Never go backwards! Never retreat!
Yes! The more I think about it, the more I'm certain it's time to go all-in with the site. I had to check myself with this thread before I wrecked myself lol.