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Random accomplishments, pros & cons of different job scenarios

February 4th, 2012 at 07:23 am

January was the best month I ever had in terms of doing online surveys. I earned $146!

I filed my federal tax return online and with the combination of modest deductions on the home office form (thanks to Dido for all her help) and the medical expense reimbursement, the most I could get back in a refund was $425. (I had a lot of untaxed freelance income.) But then I owed $205 on the state form (largely due to the fact they decreased the maximum deduction for mortgage interest and property taxes paid to $300,down from $500), so my net will only be about $220 this year. How sad.

I think I spent about 23 hours on taxes, which is close to the average of 20 hours. I feel like I learned a lot by doing them myself again this year, particularly with the home office deduction. I will try to keep better records this year.

I got a final sign-off on the latest press release I did and can release it today. Then I can bill them. Smile

I decided to slightly raise my freelance rates this year. Not across the board, but some things seem a little out of kilter. So I'm raising my fee on press release writing and distribution from $135 to $141.75, a modest 5% hike. These take a little more time than I think I'd allowed for, plus I often send my client links to places where I see the PR published, which I've never included or charged for becus I can't always access certain online publications which charge an access fee, and stuff like that. Plus I just don't have the time to monitor publication hits. But I do it enough for my one client so I figure, the rate increase is justifiable, especially since I haven't raised my rates since 2007-2008.

I may keep the rates on everything else the same, for now. Press releases probably represent about 50% of my freelance work, so the rate increase should be noticeable in my bottom line.

Besides distribution of the press release, the other big thing I want to accomplish this weekend is ghost-writing another article for the real estate exec. It will be the third such article I'll write under his name and which will appear in CT Builder Magazine. I like doing these becus I can charge a little more.

I didn't hear back yesterday afternoon from the woman at investment management subsidiary whose name/email I got from the woman who hired me Q4 2010. I sent my resume and a writing sample, one of the stories I wrote analyzing state housing trends for CT Builder Magazine (see above). I hope she doesn't look at my heavy marketing background and decide I'm not well-suited for writing white papers. That's why I sent that particular writing sample, to counter that possible impression.

Now the woman who hired me last time talked to me on the phone and then I was hired; there was no in-person interview. It would be nice if this worked out that way as well; if it's off-site work, it makes it even less necessary to meet me in person. I have no way of knowing how tenuous a thing this referral is, so I'm trying not to count on it.

In the meantime, I have a Monday appt. to go to the potential transcription job and do a typing test using their special transcription equipment. I'm a little irked, becus in their email they said it was a full-time job, but on the phone she said full-time now, but it could slow down and become part-time later. I really need to pin them down on just what the average hours might be, because I might have to decide between the transcription job and the 25-hour-a-week publisher's job, where I start on Wednesday. The transcription job reportedly pays $2 or $3 more an hour, but that's an estimate and it's all based on word count; it's not an hourly rate, so I have no way of knowing for sure til I do it. If the transcription job ends up average just 25 or 30 hours a week, it might not be worth it to take it even though it could pay slightly more, due to the longer commute...about 40 minutes vs. 20 minutes to the publisher's.

So it's a bit of a toss-up between those 2 jobs, unless I can pin them down and learn that the transcription job is likely to be at least 30 hours a week, on average. One thing against it is that I have to drive to the transcription job to do that work, while I will be able to work at home some of the time to start, maybe more later on, at the publishing job.

Yet another complicating factor just occurred to me. I'm due to start at publisher's on Wednesday. If in the near future I'm offered the transcription job, I may have to quit publisher job,and that may be problematic as to my remaining unemployment benefits. I have a remaining balance of about $7,000 now. Because if I work anything less than 35 hours a week, I may still receive a small mount of unemployment for any particular week.

Maybe I'll call DOL. If I explain I quit one job for a better paying job or more hours, that shouldn't penalize me. It's important for me to know, becus with either job, I'm likely to still rely on unemployment benefits in those weeks I work less than 35 hours.

Oh, the complications.

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