I’ve never been so glad to see the end of a year like I have with 2020.
Which is weird in some ways because I’ve had my most financially successful year ever (in the middle of a pandemic – what?!) and I feel more balanced with work and life than I have in a long time.
But I’ve seen 2020 take a devastating toll on so many people.
Friends have lost people dear to them, others haven’t been able to see their family for months, peers have lost all their work in a matter of weeks, family and friends have been hugely impacted by the stress of consecutive lockdowns and living with the unknown.
So, this week I’m ready to wrap up for the year and clock off early.
I’m going to give you my end of month and end year income report a few weeks before I’d usually do it.
Because the truth is, I’m ready for a break.
I’m ready to turn off my computer for a good couple of weeks.
Let’s get into it with my December figures:
In terms of feature articles for magazines and newspapers, this month I:
Commissions from pitches or query letters: 1
In terms of feature articles for corporate, B2B clients and sponsored content (I don’t usually pitch these – the clients come to me)
It was very quiet in December, which suited me just fine. I took days off and relished the slower pace. I only pitched three articles (one I pitched to a different publication after the first one was rejected).
At the last minute, I was approached to do a several articles for different publications but even though I was tempted I ultimately said no.
I’m trying to listen much more to my gut and recognise that future Lindy would resent present Lindy for saying yes!
Highlights of December
I had an incredibly productive planning day with fellow sole trader and entrepreneur Cass Ewing.
We spent a whole today reviewing our businesses in 2020 and planning for 2021.
When I was a social worker, I would come home from those kinds of meetings with a pounding head, utterly exhausted.
But when Cass and I finished up at 4.30pm, I still felt energised.
Cass said she felt the same.
I think because we had 100% skin in the game, working on our businesses, sharing our hopes with each other and encouraging the other to dream big.
It made me realise how important it is to have people who will cheer you on (and challenge you) in your business.
Do you have someone like that?
And remember last month I mentioned I was chasing an outstanding invoice for $800?
Well, it finally got paid.
On 20 December.
The article was published in July and I invoiced at the end of July.
Five long months of following up and chasing (and a little bit of swearing. Okay, a lot).
So, don’t give up if you’re owed money.
It’s a pain in the rear end, but it’s yours (the money, not the pain or the rear end).
Go after it.
Lowlights of December
Is it possible that I don’t have any lowlights this month?
It might be just that I’m too tired to remember them, but I don’t think I have any.
My income for December
Knowing that I wanted a quiet month,I set my income target at $4K.
I came in under that at $2157.
In December I invoiced for $2249.
This is very low for me at this time of year (compared to this time last year where I was commissioned over $11K worth of work).
But I think it’s an indication that things are shifting.
A shift in my business
I love that more and more freelance writers are sharing their income so openly now.
I’ve been sharing what I earn every month for the past four years.
I was initially very reluctant to be so open about money in the beginning, but I’m glad I did.
(And if you want to take a trip down memory lane here’s my first income report from March 2017).
I can’t tell you how many freelancers have told me that they’ve doubled or tripled their income simply by knowing that it’s possible to earn over $100K a year.
It’s been incredibly encouraging to see loads of freelancers sharing how they’ve earned money this year.
Check out the hashtag #freelancepie on Twitter – which I think was started by the legendary UK-based Sian Meades-Williams of Freelance Writing Jobs.
My income for 2020
As you’ll see from my income report for 2020 below, my income has truly diversified this year.
When I started this blog in 2017 to detail what it was like building up to full time freelancing (and subsequently hitting $100K each year) I had no idea what it would become.
I’ve written over 200 blog posts, I’ve coached over 100 writers (a service I no longer offer) and this year I’ve launched Write Earn Thrive – an online course that helps writers boost their income by landing high-paying clients.
And next year I can’t wait to launch my foundations of freelance writing course [although I might need a snappier title, eh?]
In the last four years my writing world has changed so much.
When I first started freelancing full time my income from feature writing and corporate writing was about 50/50.
As you can see below, this year it’s a different story.
My course brought in a whopping 47% of my total income and feature writing/journalism for magazines, newspapers and online outlets only 15%.
I’m always going to write and I’m not ready to give up features or corporate writing, but I’ve recognised that part of being a creative professional is trying new things.
So next year I’m going all in on my digital products – I’m going to be revisiting all my blog posts to make sure they are up-to-date and I’m going to be launching my new course for beginner freelance writers.
I’ll still be blogging, but it won’t be as regular, and I won’t be sharing my monthly income reports.
But are you wondering about the income that goes along with the pie above?
Well, I’m still wrestling with my accounting software over the exact numbers, but at this stage it looks like my income for 2020 was over $130K.
Approximately half from writing and half from my course.
I also invested heavily in professional development this year – I spent over $15K on a year-long incredible group coaching program that has helped me make enormous shifts in my business.
While I’m ready to down tools for 2020, I can’t wait to see what 2021 will bring.
Thank you, as always, for reading.
If you’re taking holidays, keep well and safe, and I’ll see you next year.
How was your 2020? What are your plans for 2021?