Two months into my so-called sabbatical, and it looks less and less like a break. In fact, it probably just resembles a healthy, well-balanced work schedule. I very rarely work weekends, work a few evenings, and then have taken a few vacations. Thus, the past two months look distinctly different from my usual schedule, but it is not quite the sabbatical that I desired. This break has not been much of a break.
Let’s get into some of the details!
Weekly Income Goals
I am currently not working on custom projects. All my income is coming through my shop – packages, themes, and blog post templates. The shop orders make up a bulk of this revenue; hence, why it seems as if I’m always working.
At the beginning of the year, I decided that if I made $1000 from the shop each week, I would be okay. This amount covers my living expenses, business operation costs, and allows me to save a little bit each month. Last year, the shop averaged between one to five thousand a month. So, a thousand a week is an aggressive goal.
After talking privately with a few other entrepreneurs, I realized my email list is pretty significant. Unfortunately, it’s also very inactive.
In January, I decided to send out dedicated email blasts every one to two weeks, featuring various promotions of shop offerings. These emails included a mix of discount codes and sales. Digital downloads tend to do better with email blasts than the service offerings (packages).
Each blast included an image and a few sentences – nothing extensive – quite simple. It’s just a friendly reminder that my products are available for purchase. For some blasts, I have made as much as $500 in sales for that week.
Not Working Is Working
I receive package orders frequently since the beginning of the year. As a result, these shop purchases mean that I have doubled my weekly goal or get close to it since January. Each week, I do approximately two to four installs on shop packages. Each install takes nearly half-a-day to complete.
Therefore, I’m behind in my rebrand. Around mid-February, I decided to close all package, logo, and add-on orders by March 10th. If I continued to take shop orders, this rebrand might not launch!
I wanted a sabbatical so that I could focus intensely on my brand. I have yet to have the dedicated time to do it!
Even though package, logos, and add-ons will be gone, the site and shop will still be open for digital downloads. The themes are currently on sale for $25 each, and the blog post templates are available for $15 each.
My to-do list causes me anxiety. I don’t feel as accomplished at this moment as I would like. I have completed my branding and site design, and the build will finish soon. New shop products are still way behind schedule.
In December, I purchased Autumn Witt Boyd’s Get Legit Package to help me formalize legal components of my business. With Autumn, I’ve worked on a few different things including setting up my California LLC, updating my custom contract, a new digital goods terms, and affiliate terms. I haven’t hired anyone to help me with my business before, so this step was a big investment for me. It’s also given me a lot of piece of mind moving forward with my business.
Another goal of the rebrand is to emphasize the personal elements of my service and my brand. If you follow me on social media, you know that I’m mainly absent from this content. Another investment I made is working with a photographer for on-brand photographs. I struggled to find a photographer in Silicon Valley; I sent out several email inquiries about rates and availabilities that did not receive responses. Finally, I found two that I’m excited to work with on my rebrand!
What’s On Deck
Finish everything! I will have the website built before I leave for Hawaii on the 17th. All new shop products should be developed by the end of March. My focus will then be on finishing writing and testing. I plan to open my custom design booking in April for projects starting in May. I have a feeling that I will quickly book up for the year again.
I’m currently working on a personal project with Jordan of The Studio 9 Company. Jordan designed both Here’s The Skinny and For the Love of Fancy, which I developed. I plan to share more about this project in the summer.
If you are thinking about taking a sabbatical, here are my tips (now that I’m midway through it):
- Go full sabbatical not partial. I would love to have a few days of uninterrupted work on my brand. My rebranding tasks come second to filling orders. I’m looking forward to the end of March and April when I can work with more focus.
- Set a schedule: even though I’m on a break, I’ve been working typical work hours.
- Make time for those things you want to do, but haven’t. Since I became a full-time freelancer, I have rarely traveled. Therefore, I planned to take three big trips – Tulum, Maui, and Virginia.
- Read related to your sabbatical goals. Writing is a significant component of my rebrand, so I have been reading things in my free time related to my goals – such as Daring Greatly, Everybody Writes, and Tools of Titans.