How much work does it take to overload a one-person operation?
I still haven't been able to formulate a solid answer to this question. My best guess is...it depends.
I've been a pretty good judge of workload-type situations in the 2 years I've been in business (full-time) for myself. Some weeks are busier than others: some are relatively slow, some are comfortable, and others are crazy-busy. This week is moderate. I'm working on two projects, a newsletter and a product review article. But I've got 3 meetings set up during the next two weeks for potential work (two possible web projects and a new marketing company, which could mean a variety of work if all goes well). Plus I received a call yesterday about some possible brochure work.
It would be great if all of these potential projects come through. The reality is, however, that every meeting doesn't necessarily lead to work. Some folks are just scoping out their options and others may decide to do it themselves (that's a professional copywriter's biggest competition, by the way). But it's important to continue setting up meetings because you just never know...work may result, your card may be passed along to an acquaintance of the person you met with, you may make an ally in the business world, etc. You just never know.
So, I'll attend these meetings, put my best face (and writing samples) forward, and hope for the best. Best being enough work to keep the cash coming in, but not so much that I have trouble meeting deadlines. Today's moral: know when to say when.