The reason I’m back in Buenos Aires and stopped for a month is to put some time and effort into the freelancer on the move operation and see where it gets me. I’d always intended to give this a go having read a few inspiring books, blogs, articles and what not – just not quite so soon in the trip. But Brazil seduced me and then robbed my blind, so my hand was forced! There’s nothing like a bit of pressure to focus the mind anyway and I’m feeling it every time I look at my online banking. Things aren’t actually that bad, but I do definitely need a boost if I’m going to do everything I want on this trip. So coming to the end of the month where am I at?

The decision to stop and work was sparked by an enquiry (from the UK) that I got in Sao Paulo about taking on a branding project. I knew that this would cover my rent and some of my basic expenses, which would buy me time to try and pick up the extra work which would allow me to turn a profit for the month. Having got this request a few weeks before arriving in Buenos Aires I’d also managed to do most of the work, so I was off to a very good start.

One thing I was fully aware of prior to stopping is that the world just doesn’t work the way you want it to most of the time. So jobs weren’t just going to fall into my lap and clients needs weren’t necessarily going to revolve around my 4 week work window. There are a few sites like elance, oDesk and peopleperhour which are well set up to bring clients and suppliers together, but I hadn’t used any of these to secure any work before now, so this was a step into the unknown. I set my target for this first trial month at a modest £1000, just over a third of which had already been taken care of – in theory it sounded very plausible, but it was going to take a bit of luck and a lot of work.

The first week was spent making contact with old clients, writing job proposals and tidying up my online presence. I spent a few days completely re-working my portfolio site and refining the profiles and portfolios on all of the aforementioned job sites. I put some time into researching what other successful digital nomads where doing as well as the more successful providers on elance. I also signed up to the behance creative network, Twitter and LinkedIn – just to start building as many little virtual links as possible. To be honest I’m only just starting to get my head around using social networking and blogging as a way of generating business. Twitter in particular still seems fairly pointless to me! I think you really need a smart phone to engage with it, which is not something I’ll have for a while. I’ll persevere though – like with Spanish I’m hoping it may just suddenly start to make sense. Not happened for either yet – maybe I should tweet in Spanish to help hurry things along.

By week two I was starting to get a little frustrated. I had a few leads, but none of them were turning into jobs and it was starting to feel like I was chasing lost causes. Elance seemed to be the best of the three job sites, but similarly I was missing out on the better jobs and wasting time writing long job proposals. But then towards the end of that week a couple of things fell into place and things began to look up. I got my first elance job, a logo design (for a ridiculously low fee, but the advice I’d been given was that I just needed some points on the board so to speak) and also a web page re-design job from a contact in Spain (much more realistic fee, although still not full whack). As much as anything I was excited to be working at last.

Two more elance jobs followed last week and the Spanish web work lead to another small job. Another UK client also came through with a project which will fit in nicely with my next planned stop (and should be a decent little boost to my savings) – having that conversation now has allowed me to spend some time thinking about that early which is useful.

In terms of money, I’ve fallen short of my target by a couple of hundred pounds. But looking at my spending for the month and what I’ve earned, I’m up by more than £100 and I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons I think. The online administrative tasks I got through at the start of the month are out of the way now and more than anything, I feel confident that I could come back here and try and make this work for a bit longer next time.

I’ve also got a couple of bits of work lined up already for the next time I stop (in about a months time to learn Spanish in Bolivia) – and longer term I think that is an important thing to note; to make this work realistically I need to fit my travelling around the work not the other way around. There will obviously be times when I’m dropping off the radar for a bit, but there are other times when I may need to re-work my plans to accommodate bigger projects. There were a couple of really big jobs on the cards that didn’t quite come off this month, so I need to be ready if they do come back around.

In conclusion I’d put this month down as a success, I’ve found out a lot about this city and about working in this way, got myself well set up for the forthcoming months and I’ve turned over a very small profit.