the month in review

June – my income for the financial year and the month I got my cake

By July 4, 2018 June 29th, 2019 14 Comments

The last day of June marks the end of the financial year in Australia, and editors and clients are either putting a freeze on commissions or are hurriedly trying to spend their budget. I deliberately set my income target lower this month in an attempt to bring back some balance into my life, and for the most part, it worked. But happily, my invoice total for the month was the most it’s ever been. And if you’ve been following my blog over the past few months, you’ll be glad to know I got my cake!  

June – the end of the financial year and the month I got my cake

I rounded the corner into June and deliberately took my foot off the gas.

I wanted to see what work would flow my way and concentrate on pitching strategically to certain publications.

By pitching strategically I mean sending more query letters to an editor of a publication that I have written for once (but want to write for more), as well as pitching editors of travel publications/sections.  

In terms of feature articles for magazines and newspapers, this month I:

Pitched: 10 (this includes re-pitching ideas that have been rejected)

Commissions from pitches or query letters: 2 (and 2 “maybes”)

Rejections: 4

Offers: 1 (where the editor approached me with a commission)

In terms of feature articles for corporate and B2B clients: (I don’t pitch these)

Offers: 15 (13 of these articles were offered in a ‘bundle’) 

Filed: 35 (I know this sounds like a lot, but 13 of these were 400 word articles)

Lowlights of June

One of my favourite editors, who works for an inflight magazine, got in touch to let me know that the airline is stopping their routes to Australia in a couple of months.

It’s such a pity – I have loved working with her – she has such a clear vision for the magazine, I adore the way she carefully and prudently edits my work and curates the perfect images to accompany the articles.

But, as I’ve written about before, the sand is always shifting when you’re a freelance writer, and the best thing you can do is be proactive and acknowledge that editors don’t last forever.

Of course, I’ll keep in touch with her, but it was a bit of a blow as I felt like I was positioning myself as her ‘go-to’ Australian writer for certain destinations.

I’m also still struggling a bit with my reduced hours.

Even though on paper, I’m being just as productive and making as much money in 3 – 3.5 days a week than I was in 5 (who knew that was even possible?!) I find that while I get the necessary work done, I don’t have as much time as I’d like to work on this blog. 

I have so many ideas for this blog, but my “busy-ness” has meant that I haven’t got around to developing all the resources I wanted to by the middle of 2018. And I’m terribly hard on myself about that.

I think sometimes we freelancers think we can have it all and do it all. 

I was listening to this recent podcast of Amy Porterfield‘s where she interviewed Brooke Castillo about the importance of taking action.

One of the things that Brooke talked about was that freelancers tend to get trapped in the “busy hustle” where we are working hard but not necessarily producing anything.  

“Productivity means you are producing a result,” Brooke said.  

So I’m going to take that on board and really work at producing some more valuable content and resources for you all over the next six months. Hold me to account, okay?! 

Highlights of June

I’ve had heaps of highlights this month.

I am part of the wonderfully positive and supportive Ladybirds group for women writers on Facebook and was part of a Q&A a few weeks ago about freelance writing. The group is full of writers of all kinds, and they are so encouraging and kind. I loved doing the fast and furious Q&A. 

I was also invited to be on a panel about navigating the freelance jungle at the Emerging Writers’ Festival. Neha Kale and Matilda Dixon-Smith were also on the panel – they are both uber smart and savvy freelance writers who are kicking lots of goals; Matilda writes lots of ‘hot takes’ and Neha is an experienced editor and freelance writer who works predominantly in the art and culture space. I loved hearing how they manage their work-life balance and their take on what makes them feel successful as a freelance writer.  

The audience had some great questions too, ranging from how to get started in freelance writing and  how to build solid relationships with editors, to the best way to find out about a publication’s editorial and content calendar. It’s always great to be part of days or events like that, either as a presenter or attendee- it can be lonely being a freelancer and it’s so nice just to take the time to connect and meet others who are walking the same path. 

In other news, I received two offers of famils in June.

One is an international press trip (my first) at the end of July, and originally the other famil was going to be in mid July, but we’ve pushed it back to later in the year.

I do think being part of the Australian Society of Travel Writers has really helped me getting these offers, because membership is highly regarded within the travel and PR industries.

Oh, and if you’re anywhere near Castlemaine in a couple of weeks time and fancy doing a 3 hour introductory course with me on freelance writing, come along to this event at my co-working space (I may even bake some cookies).

I’m really looking forward to working with a small group of aspiring freelance writers.

But what about the cake?

Lots of you have been asking me about when my partner is going to make the Katherine Sabbath cake he promised  – well, the moment arrived last week.

After watching Katherine on Masterchef, he knew he couldn’t put it off much longer.

He made an edited version (less buttercream, because I’m not sure anyone really needs one kilogram of icing in their life) of her birthday cake with raspberries and vanilla, and oh my goodness, it was spectacular. We are still eating our way through it.

 What do you think? He did a pretty good job, eh?! 

What do you think? He did a pretty good job, eh?! 

I’ve tested the waters and asked him about what happens if I hit another blog milestone, and whether I’ll get version 2.0, but I think at this stage, I’m lucky to have received this one!

Income report for June:

I was commissioned $7232 (I hit my income target for the month of $7K – just!)

I invoiced for $18,067

My income report for the first 6 months of 2018

Even though I’m working part time I somehow have managed to maintain similar earnings to last year.

I know that might feel disheartening to lots of you who are absolutely working your guts out to hit income goals, make a living or just want to feel that you are ‘making it’ as a freelance writer, but the key to making such a good income is really about forging strong relationships with editors and clients so they come to me with the work. 

If you’re constantly hustling and pitching, it’s exhausting. The only way for freelancing to be sustainable long term is to focus on building relationships so you become the go-to person for particular editors and clients. 

A big chunk of my income comes from work that I don’t pitch. (And I talk about how to do this in my coaching sessions if you’re keen).

From January to June 2018, I was commissioned $58,970 worth of work.

Income report for 2017-18 financial year:

 I was commissioned $120,036 worth of work

I invoiced for $116,242

My plan for this blog over the next 6 months

I really want to work on some more resources for you all and create super valuable blog posts. I am in the middle of creating a content calendar, so here’s your chance to let me know what you more (or less) of – and I’ll schedule it in.

One of the things I’m looking at doing is starting Q&As with editors as well as more posts on the business of freelancing, but please let me know what you’d like to see here. 

So that’s it for me for this financial year. 

I’m off to the beach for the first week of July, with only a couple of deadlines to meet so I’m looking forward to a quieter start to the 2018-19 financial year.

Thanks, as always, for reading. 

Happy writing.

How was your June? What are your goals for the second half of 2018? What would you like me to cover in my posts in the next 6 months?

14 Comments

  • Celina says:

    Hi Lindy,

    Your blog is amazingly helpful. Thanks for putting it out there. It’s a great resource.

    As you’re part-time now, I’m interested in how you manage time. I work 3 days a week, and the thing I struggle most with is, ironically, reading. I know that reading widely and a lot is critical to story generation and getting under the skin of publications, but it’s so passive I struggle to do it enough during my ‘work time’.

    How do you manage your time? What task do you find hardest to make time for?

    • Lindy Alexander says:

      Hi Celina, thanks for your comment – I’m so glad that you are finding my blog useful.
      I too find making time to read really difficult and struggle with the idea that I’m actually working when I am reading. Often in the afternoons I’ll put aside half an hour to read a couple of articles that I’ve saved via Endnote during the week (or click on tabs that are forever open on my computer with interesting articles!)
      But if I’m really tight for time, I must admit don’t tend to read an awful lot – I have a few newsy websites that I regularly visit and often that’s enough to get the seed of an idea. Then I use time to read specifically about that topic – enough to inform a pitch.
      In terms of what task I find hardest to make time for – it’s definitely developing resources for this blog. I have a huge list of things I want to do and find it really hard to prioritise those tasks over ‘paid’ work.

  • Kylie Orr says:

    Wow, Lindy! What an inspiration you are. Another fabulous year in terms of earnings, and more importantly to us freelancers, in terms of your generosity in sharing tools, tips, information and contacts.

    Love your blog and newsletters. Don’t be so hard on yourself for not updating as much as you’d like – life sometimes gets in the way, but you can always come back and add resources.

    Congratulations and thanks again for all you contribute to the world of writing. Enjoy your well-earned break. (And that cake looks bloody delicious!).

    Kylie.

    • Lindy Alexander says:

      Thank you Kylie! I must admit I didn’t expect that I would earn as much as I did this financial year.
      Thanks for your generous comments – I think I am quite an impatient person, and I want to leap immediately from "idea" to "done" with all my plans for this blog.
      We have just been for a wild, wonderful walk by the beach – so good to get out of the usual routine.

  • Michaela Fox says:

    Lindy, the cake!!! I was watching Masterchef hoping P was taking notes. Looks AH-mazing!!! In other news you are killing it. In every single way! xx

  • Claire says:

    That’s a very good cake indeed, and very well deserved. Well done on another brilliant year, your blog really is the most inspiring place to visit, I always leave feeling more positive about things. And I do learn a lot from you, I feel much more focused and clear about what I need to do from reading much of your advice. And I often cite your success to other newbie writers I’m talking to who are wondering if it’s all possible.

    It really is hard to fit everything into the time available, it’s something that I find particularly frustrating. But it sounds as if you’re making a brilliant job of it, and as Kylie says, don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not getting as much done on your blog as you want. I hope you have a lovely break by the sea, it is very well deserved. And well done on getting those two famils, that’s brilliant news.

  • Karen says:

    Hi Lindy – thanks to you I signed up for the Freelance Writing course run by the Australian Writer’s Centre in May. The course coincided with my partner and I buying our first yacht and sailing it down the east coast from Sydney to South Gippsland where we live. Having never sailed this far offshore before, with a couple of long, somewhat daunting overnight sails, it was a challenge to juggle writing and meeting the course deadlines when I could get reception. However, both experiences were amazing and took me out of my comfort zone!

    I’m yet to turn my hand at pitching stories and much more comfortable in the corporate space, having worked for many years in government and corporate comms, but it will happen. I have friends who live in Castlemaine and if it’s ok with you, would love to catch up for a coffee/drink (my shout) when I’m up that way.

    Cheers
    Karen

    Your blog is a tremendous source of inspiration and like so many others, I am continually impressed by your generosity in sharing your experience, and your overall success as a freelancer. Thank you. By the way, the cake looks fabulous!

    • Lindy Alexander says:

      Hi Karen,
      Wow, what an adventure sailing from Sydney to South Gippsland! I’m impressed that you managed to balance doing the course and sailing at the same time. I’m sure there would be plenty of stories that you could pitch from that trip?
      Thank you so much for your kind comments about my blog – I really appreciate your lovely words. And yes, of course, any time you’re in Castlemaine let me know and I’d love to catch up.

  • Collette says:

    Congratulations on a fabulous year! Thank you for all that you share so generously. It’s thanks to you that I have not completely walked away from freelancing, and as Claire said, I also come away from your posts feeling inspired and positive. Your blog is fabulous, so make sure you remind yourself of how many readers you have made a difference to when you’re beating yourself up over not doing everything you want to do here. The cake looks beautiful and I’m sure you enjoyed every bite. Enjoy your break at the beach. xx

    • Lindy Alexander says:

      Thank you so much Collette. I’m so glad you haven’t given up on freelance writing, although I do completely understand the temptation.
      Thank you for your generous comments – I so appreciate your encouragement. We polished off the cake a few days ago, and I loved that it lasted for so long. Felt like a real celebration! x

  • Congratulations, Lindy, on this fabulous financial year and keeping up the blog writing! Please do not beat yourself up (too hard or at all!…) – what you offer here, and have offered so far, is so precious. You do it for free and with loads of generosity and professionalism, and you keep it regular. What more could we ask for? I struggle to keep up with my (cooking) blog writing and am full of admiration for what you achieve here and on the freelance writing level.

    Only today I had lunch with an editor I’ve been working with for several years. She’s more of an editorial project manager than an editor really-being part of a communications agency. I enjoy meeting up with her on a regular basis (once a year usually), but hadn’t realized I had never thought about asking how I could get more work from her agency on a regular basis. I probably had different goals before, but have come to realize how precious it is to work for a client who’s so trustworthy and – rather – easy to work with, although the subjects I get to work on for them might not be food-related (those are my favorite subjects!!).

    I’ve been hustling too much in the past months looking for new writing projects and clients. I so agree with you regarding the building relationships part. I feel it takes a long time, though, both finding the people we can build those relationships with and building them per se. The best part of the job is when the built relationship meets the dream project!

    I’m not sure what my goals are for the second half of 2018. I can’t wait to go on vacation to get a clearer idea of what I really want. I tend to lose track of my dreams and goals when I’m so busy with the daily grind. Don’t you?…

    I love every post you write and do not have any special request for the next six months. I’m just looking forward to reading you – and hearing about your famils maybe.

    Enjoy the beach + your family!

    Love from Lyon, France

    • Lindy Alexander says:

      Hi Anne-Liesse,
      Thank you, as always, for your encouraging and kind comments. That’s interesting about your lunch with the editor – those relationships, that are mutually respectful (and beneficial), are like gold, and she obviously values you as a writer as well as a person.
      Sounds like your vacation is very well deserved; and I absolutely agree that having distance from your business helps with clarity and reinvigoration.
      I’ll look forward to hearing how your second half of 2018 goes (and I’ll have my fingers crossed for France in the World Cup!)

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