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Today's case study features Katherine Kirk.
A bit about yourself
Katherine Kirk, Gecko Edit
How long have you been an editor and a freelancer?
Which editorial services do you provide?
Proofreading, copyediting, line-editing, manuscript evaluations, and developmental editing.
What are your niches?
Fiction (science fiction, fantasy, contemporary fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction and more) and game content (tabletop roleplaying games and magazines, board games, text-based games).
A bit about your TEA package
I started using TEA in the first few months of my membership after it was recommended in a CIEP virtual meeting, and haven’t looked back! I’m in my second year of using it now.
Do you have any customizations for your TEA?
No. It has everything I need, and then some! But I did ask for it to be in US dollars, which keeps things simple for me. I think next year I’ll ask for a slight tweak: it would be helpful to have a section for quotes and estimates that’s separate from the confirmed work, maybe as a dummy/blank month at the start of the sheet.
Your quest for TEA
I was spending too much time trying to figure out how much to charge, drastically undercharging as a result, and as my business grew and I got busier, it was getting hard to keep track of everything on the go. Another editor mentioned it in a CIEP virtual meeting, so I moseyed over to have a look and had bought it before the meeting was even over.
Were there gaps in your admin processes that TEA helped you address?
Definitely! It has worked wonders with my scheduling, pricing, estimating the length of time a project would take, and keeping track of inquiries vs confirmed work. I don’t feel comfortable quoting a fee unless I’ve used TEA to make sure it’s fair and aligns with similar projects I’ve done before.
What is your TEAtime routine?
I keep the spreadsheet open all the time. When I get a new query, I pull up the TEA Income and Expenses window so I can record the details and generate a quote. I also use it to help keep track of the length of time a job takes. This is great for seeing if efficiency tricks I’ve tried have paid off, and also comes in handy for CIEP members who are working through their membership upgrade.
Do you use the TEA Project Timesheet template to start a new timesheet for each project?
Now that I’ve got a pretty regular workflow each month from certain clients, I know that I’m definitely going to have certain jobs each month. So, I copied the tab and named the tabs with those categories (for example, PublisherName CE), and then I’ll over-write the information in the sheets when I finish one job and start another. This stops me from having too many tabs in the sheet, which got confusing, and also saves time on renaming the tabs every time I have a new job.
Do you take weekly, monthly, or quarterly “admin afternoons” to check in with your business expenses, CPD goals, and client communications?
Yes. At the start of each month I check that everything is up to date, invoice numbers match, and nothing is outstanding. About once a quarter, I go through it with my bank statement to make sure I’ve recorded all the expenses.
What’s the current state of your business affairs now that you use TEA?
I’m much more organized, and I’m really glad I got to grips with TEA early on. Now, using it is quick and easy, which is a relief now that I have more work coming in.
Do your rates reflect your expertise and hours of work on each project?
Yes, definitely. It also helps me to give per word rates to clients who ask for it, though I prefer to think of it in per hour terms myself.
Is your quoting quicker, easier, and more standardized?
It’s a breeze. It takes much less time and I’m much more confident that I’m being paid fairly.
Is tax time less taxing?
Groan... I see what you did there, and yes. Everything I need is in one place, and I know it’s accurate because I’ve been staying on top of it all year.
Do you have business admin goals that TEA is helping you work towards?
Yes; I want to start keeping track of my marketing and how it pays off in actual jobs a bit better, so I need to be better about asking inquiring clients how they found me. I also am not quite where I want to be with tracking expenses, so putting them in TEA keeps me accountable.
Do you have an anecdote you’d like to share about how TEA has helped you?
I made a math error in a quote once, which had some ridiculous ramifications: I’d put things into the wrong columns by mistake and it resulted in my drastically undercharging for a huge project, something like a tenth of my actual fee. Luckily the client caught the silliness of the number, and it was quickly and easily fixed by correcting the error I’d made in TEA. A really good idea is to freeze the top row of the sheet so that you can always see the column headings no matter how far down you go, and then pay attention to them!