A year of business admin—more exciting than you might expect
In mid-May of 2020, I began offering The Editor's Affairs (TEA), my system of Excel spreadsheets for freelance editorial professionals, for sale to my fellow freelance editors. After celebrating my one-year TEA-nniversary last week, and after seeing colleagues posting on social media about taking solo business retreats (a brilliant idea that I hope to try one day!), I decided to check in with myself and reflect on what The Editor's Affairs has meant for my business so far.
As editorial freelancers, we're encouraged to monitor "success metrics" such as income, client feedback and editing efficiency, but does the wellbeing of one's business always translate to personal job satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment and a healthy work-life balance? If we had bosses, it would be part of their job to check in with us about these things; since we work for ourselves, that responsibility – and that power – rests with us.
The following suggestions helped me transition from working in-house, where I not only had a line manager but also managed my own team of editors, to working for myself alone. If you're anything like me, you may find an extra layer of structure and accountability keeps you focused and motivated when the going gets tough.
I’m an editor, not an accountant or an administrator. My job satisfaction primarily comes from helping authors deliver their messages to their readers as clearly as possible, not from crunching numbers. And I doubt many of my fellow freelance editors started their own businesses simply for the joy of budgeting and tracking their allowable expenses.
With all the spinning plates that editing and proofreading involve – plus all the COVID-related anxiety, responsibilities and cabin fever we’re dealing with right now – keeping on top of your business affairs might not be your highest priority.
Now is certainly not the time to wag a disapproving finger or put pressure on anyone to be more productive or organized. But if you find yourself wanting to think about your business’s health as a distraction from the constant conversations about physical health, the tips in this post can help you overcome the following barriers to adding regular admin check-ins to your working life.