the month in review

November – taking time to work on my business (not in it)

By December 2, 2020 2 Comments

Even though I’m pretty organised, I’m not someone who likes to do a huge amount of forward planning.

The problem with this is that it means I have items on my ‘to do’ list that inevitably get put to the bottom because they’re not urgent.

On my to-do list I have things like updating my website (don’t look, I’ve haven’t uploaded stories since August). I also have tasks like completing non-essential, but nice-to-have updates on my online course, Write Earn Thrive.

As I mentioned in last month’s round up, I blocked out the first two weeks of November to work on my business, not in it.

That meant re-recording some of the videos in my course, creating and adding new templates and resources. And I generally got my business in order (and yes, that should have probably meant updating my website).

What I realised during those two weeks is that I can’t squeeze this kind of work into the cracks of my regular writing routine.

I need dedicated days to work on big projects.

So that’s something I’m actively going to schedule in for 2021.

I also spent time last month focusing on feature writing and running a short 4-day flash sale of my course – Write Earn Thrive.

I’m really enjoying this diversification of my business and I’m fascinated by just how many freelance writers are doing similar things.

Have you noticed?

So many freelancers are setting up other arms to their business – like newsletters, databases, pitch resources, webinars, courses, masterclasses, templates.

I find these resources so inspiring and I love seeing different freelancers’ ingenuity and resourcefulness.  

Okay, that was a longer intro than usual!

Let’s get into November’s round-up

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

Pitched: 2

Commissions from pitches or query letters: 1

Rejections: 0

Offers: 1

In terms of feature articles for corporate, B2B clients and sponsored content (I don’t usually pitch these – the clients come to me

Offers: 7

Filed: 6

As you can see, it was a pretty light-on month for me in terms of pitching and the number of corporate articles I wrote.

But I pitched two feature stories that I feel really excited to write (if they both get commissioned).

Highlights of November

The best part of November was that I won an award for my writing.

I mentioned in my October round up that I was a finalist in this year’s Australian Society of Travel Writers Awards for Excellence.

It was for a story I wrote about a vegan food adventure I had in India with Intrepid Travel.

The awards are usually held as part of the society’s annual convention and AGM, but this year they were held virtually.

I know everyone says this, but I really gave myself 0% chance of winning.

Once I had read the finalists’ entries, I didn’t think I had a chance.

This meant I didn’t prepare a speech.

Why would I, right? I wasn’t going to win.

Except I did.

And when I did, I blathered on for a minute and deeply regretted not writing something down first.

Remember what I said about not being a great planner?

Lesson learnt.

Previous client renewal

I know I talk A LOT about the importance of professional relationships and connections, but it’s true.

It’s much, much easier to rekindle a relationship than start from scratch.

I was thrilled this month when a previous editor of mine asked if I’d like to write four articles for a new magazine she was editing.

I’d written for this editor in early 2019, but hadn’t since.

I made sure I casually kept in touch on Instagram (you can read my tips for finding work on Instagram here) and LinkedIn.

Do I know for sure that it was because I kept in touch that she reached out to me?

No.

But I do know being polite, being interested, curious, engaged and regular in your communication is super important.

It helps you stay top of mind.

Flash sale

I held a four-day flash sale of my course Write Earn Thrive in mid-November and was so pleased at the number of people who made a commitment to their writing.

It feels really exciting to start helping all these writers reach their goals.

I noticed this time that lots of people emailed if they could or should join, even though they didn’t have any published writing experience.

Write Earn Thrive is really for people who have had at least some articles or corporate content published.

It’s about taking the next step to ensure that your freelance writing is not a hobby, but a business.

A business that brings in a great income and gives you flexibility, sustainability and stability.

But it got me thinking – maybe I need to also offer a foundational course in freelancing?

If you think that’s something you’d be interested in, just hit reply and let me know.

Lowlights of November

One of the few things that bugs me about freelancing is to do with money.

In particular, chasing money, which I’m doing at the moment. For an $800 invoice that is long, long overdue.

I’m also finding that more clients I work with (corporates but also agencies) are starting to use their own invoicing systems.

Are you finding this too?

In the last month two of my clients have let me know that I now have to invoice (and manage invoices) through their new platform.

This means I still need to create an invoice using my own software so I have a record of it, but then on my clients’ platform, I need to set up a profile, create quotes and invoices using their system.

I totally get it from their perspective, but it’s adding at least 15 – 20 minutes on to my process for invoicing each time.

And this extra time and faff is making me very grouchy indeed.

Resources I’d recommend

I’m not a science writer, but I’m really loving the level of love that goes into The Science Writing News Roundup.

Each (free) newsletter is divided into sections, like ideas (where you can find the latest articles and podcasts about science writing), opportunities (self-explanatory really), tips, resources, new, videos, events and career opportunities.

Great, huh?

My income for November

I took the first two weeks of November completely off so I set my income target at $4K.

I came in just over that at $4334.

In November invoiced for $4,210.

As I shared last month, it was a quiet October so I saw the results of that in November.

My expenses for November

Subscriptions: $119

Miscellaneous (this includes things like subscriptions, stationery items etc): $37

Contractor expenses: $240

Accountant fees: $1150

(You might notice that I haven’t got my Superannuation/pension contribution included – that’s because I didn’t authorise the payment until 1 Dec – oops!)

Expenses total for October: $1546

A request

I’m having a planning and review day with planner extraordinaire Cass Ewing at the end of this week, so if you have any thoughts for what you’d like to see from The Freelancer’s Year in 2021, drop me a line!

Contact me: lindy [at] lindyalexander.net

How was your November? Do you have a planning or review session coming up in December?

2 Comments

  • Hi Lindy,

    Iv’e started reviewing my professional year 2020 already – I usually do it in January – as I felt the need to put things into perspective… and learn from my mistakes or painful experiences this year. I’ve also set my professional intentions for 2021 – but there are so many of them I should probably narrow them down!!…

    I’ll email you about what I’d like to see on your blog in 2021. Thanks for keeping at it! I admire your regularity as much as your generosity.

    Much love from Lyon, France!

    • lindyalexander says:

      You’ve got a head start on me Anne-Liesse!Is there a particular process that you follow when reviewing and planning? Thanks for your kind words – I always appreciate your comments.

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