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Chapter
5

Build your consulting calendar

Now that you have an idea of how much you need to earn at minimum in a given year, you’ll need to figure out how that affects and informs your rates. If you already created an hourly rate, you can use that to further define exactly how much work you need to do to reach your salary goals. 

Create your freelance calendar

Add your projects and earnings over the course of the year to see where you’re making enough to support yourself and where you might need to dip into your savings.

  1. Use the freelance calendar in your workbook to add in any work you already have planned and how much you’ll be paid for that work. 

  2. For the months you don’t have work, try estimating your income based on previous months or years.

  3. Add up all your planned income for the year and divide this by 12. That’s the amount you can expect to earn if it was equally divided across all 12 months. 

Try your best to predict your full year, if possible. Don’t be concerned if you haven’t secured any long-term clients or any work beyond the next few months. There may be days (or weeks) when you don’t have work — this is very common, especially when you’re starting out. Creating this calendar can help you become more forward-thinking. You can use previous months of freelancing to get a sense of what your work schedule may look like. 

Don’t forget to consider days off. Add to your calendar any time off you plan on taking. You’ll want a bit of wiggle room in your schedule. This will allow you to take advantage of potential opportunities, develop relationships with other clients and collaborators, and hunt for new work — all of which is invaluable in the long run.

Compare: Take a second to compare this number to the income range you created in the previous exercise. If it’s close to your ideal income — excellent! You’re off to a great start. If it’s lower, that’s where savings come in. You can also factor in your hourly rate or project rate to get an understanding of how you can build toward your ideal income. 

Remember that building a robust freelance client list doesn’t happen overnight and the transition to freelancing full-time often takes time and padding (i.e. savings) to get you to a place where your income matches your ideal salary. 

Consider the income that’ll make you happy

Take a couple of minutes to think about your goals and values. 

❓Are you okay with the minimum salary you identified because you want to carve out space for personal projects?

❓Or is it important to you to hit your ideal salary so you don’t need to make any lifestyle changes? 

❓Or maybe the right income is somewhere in between.

You don’t need to decide right at this moment, but it’s important to take some time and be thoughtful about this decision. This will drive many future choices so it’s key that you understand why and how you’re making this decision.

Recap

  • Built out a freelance calendar with your current and future work as well as planned time off. 

  • Compared your projected salary to your ideal salary.

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