For people in the Southern hemisphere, last Saturday represented the ticking over to a new financial year. For me, it also signified the end of my first six months of being a full time freelance writer. I’ve received lots of positive feedback about my monthly reports, so I thought I’d lay it bare for you – this is what my income looks like after six months.
June – my income report after 6 months of being a full time freelance writer
But first, here’s a round up of what I’ve been up to in terms of feature articles:
Commissions: 4 (a couple of these were pitches from last month that were commissioned this month)
Offers (where the editor approached me with a commission): 6
You know in May I thought that perhaps my lack of pitching was going to bite me in the bum? Well I’m happy (and relieved) to say that it didn’t.
I was commissioned over $9000 worth of work in new June, and again, editors have been coming to me with article commissions. Only $1300 of that was for research work, and the rest was for feature articles.
When I started freelancing full time at the beginning of this year, I didn’t think I’d be able to make the majority of my income from feature writing, but over the past three months this has been the case. This has surprised me a little bit, but I think it’s due to two factors:
– Having six publications I write for pretty regularly +
– Those publications paying a good word rate (at least 80c/word)
This is the key I think. As a freelancer you only have so many writing hours in the day and you have to decide where you time and energy is best spent. I probably spend only about 2 – 3 hours of each day writing. The rest is admin – pitching, following up, interviewing, researching, transcribing, social media.
I need to make sure that when I am writing, it’s well paid.
This month I also:
- Had coffee with Ellie Marney, who is one of Australia’s most popular young adult (YA) authors. Ellie is just about to self-publish her first book called No Limits (after releasing three books through Allen & Unwin). It was fascinating to talk to Ellie about her journey to self-publishing – she writes a blog describing this process, which is well worth subscribing to.
Ellie also encouraged me to surface a non-fiction book I started working on in 2009. So stay tuned …
- I had a planning session for a webinar that I’m part of for the small business festival. The topic is about being a freelancer in a regional town. I’m super excited to be in conversation with Rhonda Chapman, who runs the fab co-working space I’m part of (and also happens to be an amazing leader in international development) and Cass Ewing who has such a fresh take on freelancing in a small town. It’s on Monday 7 August and it’s free to listen in.
- We also held a micro-launch for Jenny Valentish’s book Women of Substances. Jenny is part of the same co-working space as me, and her book has received rave reviews. Jenny is a super experienced full time freelance journalist and editor. There’s a Q&A with her on this blog coming up soon.
- I have been doing lots of long phone interviews lately, and I have come to the conclusion that I didn’t want to transcribe my interviews anymore. So I’ve made a shift to having all my interviews transcribed and it has made the world of difference, both to my sanity and to the hours it has freed up. I use Rev, which I would really recommend. Rev is based in the USA and the turn around is less than 24 hours. You pay a $1 per minute of audio.
- I am about to head off on a famil or press trip for four days, and have been doing lots of planning and thinking about that. I have two commissions so far, but to make it financially viable, I think I’ll need at least two more. That’s the tricky thing about travel writing – you really need to find multiple story ideas for each trip you do.
While I’ll be away each of my days will be jam-packed with activities (mostly food related), but I still need to find time to write up the articles that have been commissioned as well as pitch new ones. I haven’t quite worked out the balance of how you do this and then maintain momentum with pitching and writing ‘regular’ features.
But the big news is:
In the 6 months from January 1 to June 30, I’ve had over $50K of work commissioned. The majority of that has been freelance featuring writing work, following by some corporate writing and a little bit of research work.
That doesn’t mean that all that has landed into my bank account, but I think the end of the financial year meant publications and organisations were keen to clear their backlog of invoices, so 90% of it has been paid.
I’m not sharing this to gloat or boast, in fact it makes me a little uncomfortable to be so open about finances, but I know lots of people reading this blog are freelance writers who are wondering if they can earn a living from freelance writing.
You can make good money from freelance writing.
If I can, you can too.
How have your first 6 months of the year been? What are your goals for the second half of 2017?
Congratulations Lindy! That’s wonderful and really heartening to hear how well you’ve done. I’ve just finished my second month of full-time freelancing and if I can do half as well as you by the six month mark I’ll be pleased. Your posts are really helpful and inspiring. Best wishes for cracking 100K by October 🙂 Jess
Thank you Jess! Well done for getting through month two! Not sure I’ll be hitting 100K by October … but perhaps by Dec with any luck … 🙂
I love how candid you are Lindy and reading of your successes is very reassuring. You’ve shown freelance writing can be done successfully (and with a satisfactory income) provided there is discipline around how you write and who you write for. You’ve also inspired me to set some goals for the second half of the year and chase them!
Thanks so much Jennifer. Set those goals and go for it! Let me know how you go.
Congratulations Lindy – you’re an inspiration!
Ah, thank you Emily! I’m not sure about that!
Lindy, thank you so much for sharing, it really is so very encouraging to a new freelancer like me. You’re doing absolutely brilliantly, well done on all the commissions. I hope you can find a couple more commissions for the trip and that you have a good time. Good luck with getting it all done – busy is good though I think! And I’m wishing you continued success for the next six months. You really are an inspiration.
Thank you CJ! I’m on the trip at the moment and I’ve met some great people and had some amazing meals. Now to translate that into some stories! Hope your work is going well.
Not very literary, but you are AMAZEBALLS!!!
Seriously, well done! I am so pleased for you, but I have to say I am not the least bit surprised by your success. You have bucket loads of talent, but you also work darn hard. And the rewards show. Congratulations, my friend xx
You made me laugh Mich! Thank you 🙂 It’s been a huge 6 months and I feel so glad that I’ve made it work so far. Now to take a break …
Lindy great read, I like that you share your information . I work with a lot of micro business and that is the sort of detail they find very helpful. I will share you blog link with them too.
Thank you Vicki! I’ve always loved reading other freelancers’ blogs when they are open about their work, so I’ve aimed to do the same. Thank you for sharing the link!
Congratulations on your fantastic results. I love reading your blog and find your openness so refreshing, not to mention completely inspiring! I’ve just come back from a 3 week break in Vietnam, and have to admit that I’d lost my mojo completely before we left and decided that freelancing wasn’t for me (hello imposter syndrome! Actually, that would be a good post, if it’s an issue for you), but reading your blog has inspired me to perhaps keep going. Congratulations again. xx
Oh, thank you Collette, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the posts. Did your break in Vietnam refresh you? I often feel a bit flat about freelancing and my place in the world either before or after a break.
And yes, I definitely suffer from imposter syndrome – I’ll put it on the blog post idea list – thanks! Keep writing – it’d be such a shame if we didn’t get to read your beautiful words.
You’re so lovely, thank you for the encouragement. Vietnam was great – although on my return I have been struck down with a bout of food poisoning from the final day’s street food! I’m just starting to recover, and am eager to get back in to formulating some ideas and pitching. I just reread your post on Cat Rodie – another inspiring writer that makes me feel perhaps I should keep going. xx
Oh you poor thing – food poisoning is the worst. I hope you’re recovering ok. Go easy on yourself – it takes energy to get back on the pitching horse again. Let me know how you go.