Saturday, September 8, 2012

The diminishing dollar

I had a rather disturbing meeting with my major client earlier this week. She heads a not for profit association for which I maintain the website, create graphic and DTP documents as needed, run the marketing campaigns and press releases, and some of the admin and events. I'm assisted by her sister who applied for a traineeship with us and was awarded the role. Now her sister is gradually taking on more and more of the work as her dollar rate is far less than mine.
This role pays me about $2500 a month and with my other design work tasks few and far between right now, it's my bread and butter.
My client has now asked me to review tasks and make sure her sister and I are not doubling up. She wants me to do less and her sister more. In addition, I can't claim hours that I spend at the functions this organisation runs, where essentially I help with meet and greet, take pics etc. That's a good five or six hours a month I've lost. Since I'm only getting $27/hour (and my usual rates for graphic and web design and marketing campaigns etc are $120/hour) my dollars are diminishing.
I suspect she wants to get me down to about $1500 a month on which I can't sustain myself given my company's bills, small though they are in relative terms - about $1200/month.
Thankfully G my husband is in a good job at the moment and we are now talking about income splitting to save him some tax and give me enough money to buy groceries and pay bills, particularly when he's away, which is quite often. I still want to be able to support myself and pay my share though, however it's getting increasingly harder. I'm earning the same money I earned 25 years ago. Ugh.
If I have to cut back my hours for this NFP organisation, I can be positive: it will give me more time to paint and write, even though that won't bring in an instant income, if any!!
I have started a CafePress shop with a couple of my designs and will add one a week - well, that's the plan. I am trying to sell on Zazzle too but am having trouble uploading and getting stuff into my shop there. I will also be putting designs on Dreamstime image library and getting paid every time someone downloads one. I don't expect to earn a six figure income from this lot, but frankly anything would help right now.
And I have to plot then write a novel. I have some material for it already, based on jokey newsletters/magazines I used to create and mail to my friends in the early 90s, those pre-internet days. Now I just have to weave a story around those and create fictional characters or rather fictional versions of ourselves, and make their lives somewhat more interesting!
I was in a reasonably depressed state yesterday thinking about my lack of funds, and feeling sick at the thought of having to look for part time work outside the house to make my ends meet. More than anything I need to be successful with my own creative enterprises, not work for someone else and be worrying about whether I'm meeting KPIs and having to deal with people in my space and the subsequent interruptions that are a part of office life.
G wants me to write and is willing to help me financially with that, so I suspect that writing, drawing, painting and graphic art will be taking a bigger part of my week for the next twelve months as I really concentrate on building an income stream out of it. I'm lucky I have someone so supportive. I do hate asking him for money though; it's against my nature.
Herbert, a plea: let me be successful. Send people my way to buy the goodies my artwork will be on. Most of all, send me a bloody plot!

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