In a number of ways, it’s fitting that I wrote my first draft of this blog on the train. I wrapped up the second week of my new job and I’m pretty pleased with it so far. DreamLine is a bit more corporate than most other places I’ve worked at with a somewhat more conservative dress code and specific clock in/clock out instructions, but then again I’ve always worked at game or entertainment companies in a contracting role. Soon I expect to be full-time so some additional corporate goodness, like agreeing to their new rule book, is expected.
Actually, Turbine (a Warner Brothers studio) was super corporate. So… I take that back.
There is literally no way to explain around this. Q2 was terrible. I was paid late by clients, had money pratically stolen from me, found out PayPal is a terrible company for freelancers, and was knocked around so badly that I chose to get out of the freelance game. I felt like a fighter who had suffered a string of defeats, all by knockout.
Thanks to some adjustments I made to budgeting and savings, I was able to float on my lower than expected Drexel income. In fact, I only had to dip into savings this week (and it will be repaid next week and then some). While it does not feel good to do that, I should be a little happy that I managed my cash flow decently.
I do plan to write about DERP and the specifics of what happened this quarter in the future. I’m hoping he does right and pays me for the work I’ve done and that he is using, but I personally expect to not be compensated. This means I’ll have to try to settle my debt with PayPal. I will not pay them the full amount. They don’t deserve it until they update their policies and consider all the evidence for others in my situation, as it is not unique.
My commute might suck sometimes but I should refer to this post and my most recent blogs as a note to myself that the commute is indeed worth it.
- Hours worked: 347+-12
- Billable Hours: 293+-8
- Average Efficiency: 83%
There are a few notes with my time efficency breakdowns I need to mention. First, the end of May and June were not tracked as closely as normal. Between interviews at DreamLine, meetings with a few potential clients, and burnout and frustration dealing with DERP, I had multiple days, and even weeks, where I was just not working. Mixed in would be time I spent grading or working on Drexel projects. I didn’t track them very closely in June, hence the +- signs in my hours worked and billable hours. Likely, the time not tracked wouldn’t affect my efficiency, but its hard to tell.
This wasn’t a good quarter for proper tracking much like everything else.
If the first quarter turned out well enough, the second quarter was a snowball of awful. In April I had negative income. Due to the PayPal dispute, I had all of the payments from DERP removed from my account, leaving me with a negative PayPal balance. I invoiced GameTextures for a decent amount and was paid by Drexel, but it wasn’t enough to balance out that loss. May and June I was only paid by Drexel and since I was teaching two classes, I was losing money every month.
%difference in income vs. historical averages: -71%
That’s right, this past quarter wasn’t a decrease of 5% or 10%. That’s understandable almost expected when freelancing. -71% is a number that highlights a structural flaw and bad approach to business. Yes, I got screwed over, but I had a role in that as well, and I was responsible for NOT having alternative options available. A lot of the failure of this quarter was out of my hands, but I had enough control that I should have been able to recover better.
Onward and Upward
Well, my freelance days are over for the time being. DreamLine has started and while the commute can be brutal in the evenings (as mentioned before), it’s well worth the extra security. As a nice benefit, I’m using tools that I love to use while at work and the people I work with are pretty cool. I’m looking forward to finding better ways to get home a bit earlier and optimize my life so I maximize the time I do have.
While I’m doing that, I am continuing to work on my personal art in the form of sell-able asset packs. A small amount of pocket change every month or two is always appreciated. And you never know, perhaps I can lay a small ground work for a re-focused freelance business (or some other type of business) in the future.
Along those same lines, I’ve been noticing a trend of quality AAA artists to offer ‘mentor-ships’ for a month. They usually run a few hundred dollars and are aimed at already employed artists looking to boost their skills. I’m considering opening myself up to that, but with a slightly different focus. I would probably charge a little less but look to mentor artists who are at the beginning of their careers. I’d be looking for students who are about to enter college, feel their college course work doesn’t address their career goals, or have just graduated. Additionally, I think I could offer these services locally as well as in a remote position. I’m going to wait until I settle in at DreamLine before I decide on this. I liked teaching at Drexel and want to continue to share my knowledge but it does need to be done in a way that fits with my current schedule.
Onward and upward as they say.