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the month in review

How I exceeded my income target in July (without any commissions)

By August 6, 2019 8 Comments

I barely pitched in July. I didn’t get any commissions, yet I exceeded my income target. That’s the dream for every freelance writer, right? I’d like to tell you that it was the result of a well executed plan, but the truth is, I got lucky. A high-paying corporate client who I’d written for previously got in touch and offered me a chunk of work, which pretty much made up my income target for July. It is fortuitous, but you know what else I think it is? It’s the result of building strong, genuine relationships with editors and clients.

How I exceeded my income target in July (without any commissions)

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

Pitched: 3

Commissions from pitches or query letters: 0

Rejections: 2

Offers: 3 (where the editor approached me with a commission)

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

Offers: 17 (It’s worth noting that 15 of these were a batch of articles between 400 – 500 words)

Overall number of articles filed: 8

Lowlights of July

I hate saying ‘no’ (and I’m not very good at it), so it was hard when a travel editor emailed me in late July offering me a spot on an overseas press trip. I would have loved to go, but the trip itself was 9 days, which would have meant at least 11 days (including travel) away from my family.

My kids are pretty young and I’m still trying to nut out how to make travel writing work for me in terms of income and time away from other work, but also for my family. So I said no. And like I’ve said before, you always hope that this isn’t the last offer you get.

Needing to be more assertive

You know how I’m not very good at saying no?

Well, I’m also not always very good at being assertive.

As lots of you know, I’ve been transitioning from a Squarespace website (this one) to a WordPress one. It’s taking forever.

I’m not working with my initial web developer anymore because despite being lovely, he was so slow to reply and action anything, so I switched to another developer, who is also lovely but only works three days a week and is juggling a young bub.

I’m really waiting for my site to be done so I can upload my course, but I’m not very good at moving beyond gently prompting emails to actually get some action. When I look at my site, it’s 90% done, it’s just the next 10% that needs to done before we can launch. Can you send me some backbone please?!

A famil that fell through

I was super excited to have a commission to write a food story for one of my favourite travel magazines, especially because I was going to be experiencing what it was like to live on a working farm in Europe.

Unfortunately, a misunderstanding between me and the PR meant that the trip has fallen through.

The reason?

I mistakenly assumed that the company would cover flights and it wasn’t until I had the commission and we were talking about flight dates that the PR mentioned they could only cover flights once I was in Europe. A good lesson for me (and any other relatively new travel writers) to not make any assumptions about what is/isn’t included. It’s so disappointing though to miss out on writing this story and to let the editor down.

Highlights of July

I spent the first 10 days of July in tropical north Queensland with my family (I know, it’s a hard life), which was just what I needed. I did the bare minimum amount of work and spent most of my days reading, walking, eating and swimming. Most years we head north for a little bit to press pause on winter where we live, and there’s nothing better than stepping off the plane into warmth and sunshine.

A famil of a lifetime

On the way back from our holiday (literally, I was on the plane about to turn my phone onto flight mode) I got an incredible offer from an editor of one of my favourite travel magazines.

She emailed to ask if I would like to go to Phuket for the launch of Family by JW Marriott. The best news was that the family-focused nature of the trip meant I could bring one of my kids. I leant over to ask my son if he wanted to come to Thailand with me and you should have seen his face.

A week (yes, a week!) later we were boarding a plane (business class no less) to Thailand. I felt so grateful and lucky for being offered that trip.

Extraordinary Routines

Do you follow Madeleine Dore from Extraordinary Routines? Madeleine is a gorgeous writer, interviewer and thinker about creativity and imperfection. I was thrilled when she interviewed me for this piece on ABC Life about how much money you need to earn when you’re self-employed.

A resource I’d recommend

The resource I’d recommend this month is internet-based.

It’s Ecosia; a great new search engine that uses their profits to plant trees. Their servers run on 100 per cent renewable energy and (you have to love this) they don’t have any third party trackers. A fellow member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers highlighted the search engine, and I’ve been using it for the past few days. So far so good.

My income for July

I’m still working three days a week and for the first 10 days of July I was on a family holiday with my partner and kids, so I set my income target at $5000 for the month.

I came in over that, having had $7209 worth of work commissioned.

I invoiced for $6416 in July.

This month has reinforced to me yet again how important it is to have long term, strong relationships with the editors and clients you are writing for. Without having to pitch, my income pretty much came to me this month. I know that’s not always the case (in fact it rarely is), but with one domestic trip and one international trip in July meaning I was away from my desk, those offers of work (without pitching) came at the right time.

How was your July? What have you got planned for this month?


  • Wow, Lindy, what an inspiration you are!
    I love the saying "The harder I work, the luckier I get." Which certainly pertains to you.
    I did the Aust Writer’s freelance writing course after seeing your recommendation a while back and have found it really helpful, thank you.
    Good luck with your talk in Sydney:)

    • Lindy Alexander says:

      Oh thank you Wendy. I’m so glad that you found the AWC course helpful – I’ll look forward to reading your articles. Thanks for wishing me luck for Sydney – I’m nervous and excited!

  • Elesha says:

    Wow! Congrats an amazing July Lindy 🙂 How awesome that you were able to take your son to the trip in Thailand! Really enjoyed the ABC Life article – I resonate with the tips about frugality – that’s definitely me – at least during this stage where I am building my business. I’m grateful that I am happy to live with less to give me the flexibility to pursue my own business 🙂 All the best for a great August!

    • Lindy Alexander says:

      Hi Elesha, yes we were so lucky to take that trip together. I don’t think he realises quite how lucky he was! Frugality is such a good skill to have and it sounds like you’ve got the perfect mindset for making your own business work. All the best and keep us posted 🙂

  • I’m having a hard time finding work lately, but your blog inspires me. I’ve been doing this 30 years, and I should be accustomed to the slumps by now, but it’s still stressful. Congratulations on a great month.

    • Lindy Alexander says:

      Hi Carmen, yes, I’m not sure that those stressful slumps ever get any easier to deal with. It can be exhausting hustling and looking for work – take care.

  • Tara De koning says:

    I have only just started freelancing and my July (my first month) blew me away. My ex-employer (who made me redundant) became my biggest client. Plus I reached out to organisations where I attended job interviews and they gave me work. All in all a very profitable July. Hope it stays this way.

    • Lindy Alexander says:

      Tara, what a wonderful start to your freelance career! It’s great that you’ve been able to tap into existing connections. Long may it continue!

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