I was feeling a bit flat at the end of February. I hadn’t hit my monthly income target and even though I had potential for recurring income, clients were taking a while to get back to me and things were dragging.
But three months into the year, I’m starting to recognise a pattern.
March – the month I made $10K
And this month (drum roll please) I exceeded my monthly target by $2K. More on that at the end of this post.
In terms of feature articles, this month I:
Pitched: 20 articles
Commissions: 4 (with 2 maybes)
Offers (This is where the editor has approached me to write an article): 1
I’ve also been writing health and business content for corporate clients, including blog posts, press releases and feature-style articles.
Some of the stories I filed were for new editors, including a couple of international publications, so I feel like I’m on track with my goal to write for publications that are recognisable globally.
The power of LinkedIn and writerly connections
LinkedIn is fast becoming my favourite place to source potential leads – a connection passed on an opportunity to me the other day to write an article for a connection of hers. In the spirit of collaboration and appreciation, I’m going to pass on 10% of my rate to this connection. I think its best practice to do this – after all, the job landed in my lap with no effort from me.
I’ve also had a few Skype sessions with other writers, which has been great. It’s so inspiring to hear what other freelance writers are doing, how they organise their days and where they are finding work.
I’ve also had a phone call with a new writer who saw my post on breaking into food writing and wanted to ask me some questions. It was super to talk to her and I’m excited to see where her stories land.
Investing in me
I’ve made some big leaps this year, and one of the most important has been the decision to invest in my business and me. This has happened in lots of ways – I’ve been paying to get my (long) interviews transcribed, doing an extensive SEO course, outsourcing some of my social media tasks to a Virtual Assistant, booking a ticket to Problogger in Melbourne and increasing the number of days I work at my wonderful co-working space.
None of that is cheap, but what really hit home for me this month was that I have to set time aside to work on my business. In the past, when writing was my side income, I just pitched and wrote and didn’t think too much about the need for ongoing work. I didn’t think about the need to upskill or to use my time efficiently or plan to market my services and myself.
So in April, not only am I going to financially invest in my business, I’m also going to set time aside to send out at least 10 Letters of Introduction (LOIs) a week and make sure that I’m working towards having some recurring monthly income, because nothing is more daunting than getting to 31 March and realising despite a $10K month, you have to do it all again in April.
Yes – you read right. I had $10K worth of work commissioned in March.
$4K of that was feature writing related, $1500 was blog writing for other people, and the rest was a mix of corporate and research writing work. Please don’t think I’m saying this to brag – I’m not. And please don’t think this work fell in my lap – it didn’t. It was hard old work, sending out pitches and query letters, approaching people to see if they needing my writing services and seeing if existing clients had extra work.
But I think it’s vital writers talk about what they earn – content marketing writer Jennifer Gregory is very firm about writers needing to talk about what they earn with fellow writers and I agree. There’s a ‘starving artist’ take on writing for a living, but I disagree. You can make a good living, you just have to be disciplined, focused and know where the money is (hint: it’s not in one easy-to-find spot!)
But I do need to say I was seriously tempted to put my ‘excess’ $2K from March’s monthly target into April’s spreadsheet so that I’d have a head start on the month. But my partner talked me out of it, and I’m glad he did. This way I have a true record of my annual income from freelance writing, rather than a smoothed over version. I’m not sure when I’ll crack $10K a month again, but I’m hopeful that it won’t be too long away.
And if I can do it, anyone can.
How was your March? Did you achieve what you wanted?