A couple of months ago I bought a new toilet. It cost me $120 to have a plumber install it.
This month, I bought a new faucet. After crawling under the sink in a contorted position that must have qualified me for the Cirque de Soleil, I installed it myself. It was at least as difficult as a toilet, so I figure I saved at least $120. To celebrate, I cooked my husband dinner (chipotle lemon salmon), saving another $40. I even managed to take care of a little business while under the sink.
This is proof to me that my cost-of-doing-business is not just related to my business expenses. This tells me that anytime I feel like taking an assignment for an absurdly low fee, I can think about how I earn money when I don’t have work to do. Considering I end up re-investing about 50% of what I bill, I would have had to earn at least $320 to make up for the time I spent at home today. I rarely, if ever, accept an assignment for that low, but now I have good evidence of what my non-photo time is worth.
I also consider my time studying for law school to be enormously valuable for what it will earn me in the future, as well as helping me actually get the benefit of all of that tuition money.
So this is my new mantra:
A penny saved– by not having to call the plumber/electrician/landscaper/maid/ babysitter (someday)/restaurant/etc.,– is a penny earned — by not taking an assignment that devalues my work and my time.
Other ways to save/earn money while idle include:
- researching new marketing opportunities (groupon anyone)?
- contacting old clients to see if they have any upcoming needs
- standardizing forms and contracts
- updating my website
- working on SEO
- finding discounts on things I need (I could have saved $20 if I ordered that faucet online)
- sending in my lights for repair
How do you earn money when you aren’t shooting? Feel free to comment below.