To try or not to try, that is the question

Golden opportunities don’t come around very often, but you have to ask yourself if it’s ever really the right time.

Recently I was presented with a potential golden opportunity in the world of career-changing offers. For a while (the last six months) I have been doing the occasional freelancing project for a local (and international) company; proofing the odd article and, more recently, creating a little content for one of their clients. The opportunity is not without its pitfalls while I am working full time, lack of sleep being at the top of the list, but the extra money is very nice, and is helping me to save towards my dream trip of Comic-Con 2018.

Well, back to the so-called golden opportunity. Last week I was asked to create some content ‘on spec’ it was a good 12 hours of work; what with the research into a subject I had very little personal knowledge or experience of, and the actual composition of the piece (including proofing, and formatting), and had I been charging I would have easily made myself nearly £400 (not to be sniffed at). I was told that this could potentially lead to a role generating 50-100k words a month. Yes, every month, that’s an average of 1600-3100 words per day (7 days a week).

On the surface this is brilliant, extra money way-hey. Unfortunately, on thinking about it I realised that this would not just eat into my spare time, it would destroy it. Now, the contract they are looking to win is for 9-12 months, that’s 9-12 months of extra money that I could save for my trip to San Diego.

We’re talking about my attempting a potential double NaNo every month for, possibly, a whole year, and we all know how much I struggled with NaNo. The difference, of course, between this and NaNo is that there was no research with the latter, which, in hindsight, was a bit of a mistake. However, for the content creation (if the spec piece I did is anything to go by) I will need to spend at least three hours on it for every 2,000 words produced. That’s a lot of extra time to account for, and try and fit into a life where I only have a few hours at home every evening before I go to bed. In fact, as sad as it is I worked out it will be 5 hours an evening every evening, though clearly weekends will be different, but there is still only so much a person can realistically fit in during a working week.

I guess that I have three choices here; I can either say “yes, I’ll do it” and say goodbye to all my free time, including weekends, evenings and sleep, I can say “nope, sorry, it’s just not something that I can fit into my schedule” and say goodbye to the possible forthcoming savings, and potentially any chance of further work from them, or I can say “yes, I’ll do it” and quit my job and risk everything on the possibility that the regular work really does ‘flow in my direction’ as they are telling me it will.

I get that this is likely the sort of dilemma a lot of people would love to be in, but the idea of setting up on my own is scary. I wouldn’t be able to survive on the promise of work from a single client; I would have to go out and find more, and more, in order to sustain a good work/life balance that includes paying my bills and ensuring my cat gets her designer (seriously, she is the strangest cat on the planet, doesn’t even like tuna!) cat biscuits every day.

The questions really are: “could I do it in a way that would ensure I can continue to live well and still save?” and “could I make it work?”

Once I have the answers to these two questions I will know what my answer is. I suppose I should start looking into creating a proper website for my work, build up that portfolio I have been talking about for an eternity, and see if I can make this work. Of course, if it doesn’t I know that right now I still have a job, so it’s not as though I don’t have money coming in to pay the bills and ensure my princess gets her food.

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