with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
Did you shop this past holiday weekend? Did you check out the Thanksgiving Door Busters, the Black Friday Deals, the Weekend Bargains, and the Cyber Monday Specials?
I did. And I wasn’t even shopping for me.
I’ve been running Want Not for about two and a half years, now, and there’s one thing I’m finally learning: There’s nothing that will ruin my love of shopping more than the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. It’s exhausting, trying to track all of those deals in the space of just a few days. I worked harder and longer hours this past long weekend than I have all year. And I wasn’t even shopping for myself!
I’m all shopped out.
Except, of course, I don’t get to be all shopped out, because there are still three more weeks until Christmas, and as a bargain blogger—particularly in the current economic climate—I am likely to do a huge amount of business in those three weeks. As long as I keep doing my work.
For the most part, I consider finding shopping bargains possibly the most purely fun gig I have. I’ve always loved sniffing that stuff out, and sharing it with other people who are similarly delighted is like playing Santa. Here’s a coupon for you! And free shipping for you! And a nearly-free item for you! Ho ho ho! I do love it, most of the time. But sometimes I would like to just take a break, and invariably the time when I really want that break is right at the height of the shopping season—the wrong time to slack off.
I’ve been lucky enough to have Want Not featured by several media outlets lately, too. And each and every time I get asked how much money I’m making. And if you’ve been reading me for any time at all you know how much I love it when people ask that. Look, I just find it rude. I do. I know why people ask, but I still find it obnoxious.
And the truth is that in December Want Not will make three to five times as much as any other month; that’s the nature of the beast when you’re making a commission on sales, and most Americans are shopping more for the holidays. But the other truth is that I will be working longer hours to facilitate that; I will be breaking my no-working-on-weekends rule; and—this is the one I think people don’t really get—I don’t see it as a windfall. It’s just another piece of my overall revenue.
As a freelancer, I look at the money I earn from various contracts throughout the year. I don’t sit around going “Man, December was awesome!” and then go buy myself an expensive pair of shoes. Heh. (Maybe I should!) Instead, I basically amortize those earnings over the year, to figure out my average monthly income from that work. And some months things are quite lean, so the added revenue from holiday shopping “fills in” those holes nicely. Don’t get me wrong; I’m lucky to have this work (and I know it), but it’s not like every year I sit down with a wad of cash and then go on a spending spree.
Last year, most of what I made in December ended up going straight to the IRS. Because I’m a wild and crazy spender that way.
And maybe this is part of why the “How much money are you making?” question irritates me so, because as a freelancer it’s never just “I made X number of dollars this month,” it’s always more like “This month I made X but this other month I made Y and next month my tax payment is due and last month I finished out a contract I haven’t replaced yet,” etc. It’s complicated.
And also I am really tired of shopping. The end.
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