I started April with nothing.
I had no work lined up.
Just the sound of silence from my editors and clients.
Since the middle of last year, I’ve had a recurring gig with a corporate client, which brings in around $2000 a month.
But in March, this client let me know that due to budget cuts they would be dropping my regular gig.
I asked if they might have other work for me, but they said they were working out their approach and couldn’t commit to anything.
At the end of March, I had made a plan, but to be absolutely honest, half way through the month (or even before), I ran out of puff.
IN TERMS OF FEATURE ARTICLES FOR MAGAZINES AND NEWSPAPERS, THIS MONTH I:
Pitched: 8 (this includes re-pitching ideas that have been rejected)
Commissions from pitches or query letters: 2
Offers: 1 (where an editor approached me with a commission – either editorial or sponsored content)
IN TERMS OF FEATURE ARTICLES FOR CORPORATE AND B2B CLIENTS: (I DON’T USUALLY PITCH THESE BUT THIS MONTH I DID)
Round up of April
Based on my plan that I made in late March, I did the following things:
- I reconnected with previous clients and editors (happily, a couple commissioned me)
- I also connected with potential clients on LinkedIn, but perhaps not surprisingly given the current climate, I didn’t receive any interest from new leads
- I opened up my coaching again and coached seven freelance writers
- I worked on three new resources for freelance writers
Lowlights of April
Strangely enough, I didn’t really have many lowlights in April.
I think, if there was a lowlight it was that there are so many amazing opportunities on offer, such as webinars or free courses or resources.
Why is that a lowlight?
Well, it’s because I haven’t been able to take advantage of all the cool stuff because I’m helping my kids with remote learning three days a week and trying to earn some money on the other two days.
I feel quite determined that I don’t want to have to register for any of the government’s support payments (because goodness knows there are people who need it more than me), but that has meant that I’ve put a bit of pressure on myself to keep earning.
Highlights of April
A tiny travel win
It’s a strange time to have travel pieces published, but I was really happy to see my name attached to this TINY excerpt in AFAR, especially because I was writing about one of the best places I stayed last year – Mt Mulligan Lodge.
I love AFAR and was thrilled to break in (in a small way) to this prestigious magazine.
Negotiating on rates
If you know me, you’ll know that I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to negotiating on rates.
So when I reached out to a previous client and asked if they had any work and they said yes, I assumed it would be at my old rate.
For this client, my word rate (even though I charge by article rather than by word or by hour) is nearly $1/word.
But they came back to me and said that their budget had shrunk and asked if I could produce 5 articles at a much reduced rate.
It was nearly $1000 less than usual.
My lovely readers, I know you won’t judge me when I tell you the number of conflicting thoughts and questions that ran through my head:
- You want me to write 5 quality articles (with interviews) and file within a week, yet you expect me to drop my rate?
- Are you willing to negotiate on the word count, the interviews or the time frame for submission?
- I should just take this because it’s around $2000 worth of work
- Other writers have lost all their work and I’m quibbling over money
- If I ask for more, I’ll look insensitive and greedy
- If I don’t stand my ground, I’m doing a disservice to all the writers who come after me
So, what did I do?
I wrote this:
Hi [content manager],
Thanks for the offer – I totally appreciate how tight things must be.
Without extending the deadlines or reducing the word counts, I’m wondering if it’s at all possible to meet in the middle – say $2.7k excl. GST?
Good morning Lindy,
Thanks for your understanding, I don’t enjoy having to ask you to reduce your rate.
Yes, let’s meet in the middle with the same words count and deadlines as per the brief.
So I didn’t get my usual rate, but for the cost of one quick email back to them, I earned an extra $500 from what they originally proposed.
I dislike these kinds of conversations (and I know I’m not alone), but I wanted to share this because if you’re polite and respectful (and valued), content managers and editors will usually try and make their budget stretch.
A resource I’d recommend
For a few months there I had stopped listening to writing and business podcasts.
I needed a mental break and consuming those kinds of media felt exhausting for my tired brain.
The way Rebecca questions and listens is masterful and I got so much out of hearing the way she prompted these writers to really interrogate their ideas.
I also really enjoyed this webinar from TravMedia where editors from top tier publications (and PRs) shared their experiences of how COVID-19 has impacted their business.
They also talked about their views about what the future of travel is going to look like post-coronavirus.
My income for April
Even though I now only have two days a week to write (and I know that you know that by write I mean pitch, connect, reach out, invoice, follow up and write) I still put my income target at $5000 for April.
Because why not, right?
My income for April was $6819 ($800 of this was from the Copyright Agency – a very pleasant surprise! If you’re not a member, make sure you join up – it’s free. Also remember that just over $1000 of that was from coaching).
I invoiced for $6323
I don’t know about you (and I may well regret saying this), but as we round into May, it feels like things are slowly starting to open up.
Editors are getting back to work, responding to pitches and corporate clients have steadied their ship.
I’m thinking lots about the kind of travel and writing I want to do, and how I can continue to help freelance writers earn a great living in this new world (ugh, sorry for the cliche).
How was your April? Were there any surprises for you this month?