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?