December - a quiet month to end a huge year
I don’t know about you, but I feel tired just thinking about 2018. After a full on November, I really eased up this month. I had a fair bit of work to finish off, but I didn’t want to pitch much, knowing that I was headed overseas for three weeks over Christmas and new year. Despite this, it has been an enormous year, and one that has definitely proved to me that you can earn a great income from freelance writing - even working part time.
December - a quiet month to end a huge year
In terms of feature articles for magazines and newspapers, this month I:
Pitched: 2 (this includes re-pitching ideas that have been rejected)
Commissions from pitches or query letters: 1
Offers: 1 (where an editor approached me with a commission)
In terms of feature articles for corporate and B2B clients: (I don’t pitch these)
As you can see, December was a quiet month compared to others this year.
I purposefully only pitched two ideas and one of these ideas got commissioned. I had intended to have a couple of days before I left for overseas to keep working on my online course, but I got a last minute commission which ended up taking more time than I anticipated.
Lowlights of December
I’m happy to report that I don’t have too many lowlights for December.
I did get offered a commission to write sponsored content for a digital news site, which I initially accepted, but when I saw the full brief I realised that I wasn’t the best person for the job.
I emailed the editor and explained that after reading the brief I didn’t feel I could do the article justice and suggested two other freelance writers.
In the past I would have pushed through and written the piece anyway because I wouldn’t have wanted to let the editor down or risk them thinking I was unreliable, but actually, the more time I spend as a freelance writer, the more I realise that it’s so important to recognise your limits.
Only time will tell if the editor comes to me with more commissions in the future!
Highlights of December
Are you using LinkedIn? I’ve had lots of conversations this month about the importance of LinkedIn for freelance writers (and its role in attracting high paying clients) and I was reminded yet again about how good it is to have a strong profile as well as being proactive when someone views your profile or reaches out to connect.
I just have a basic LinkedIn account (meaning that I don’t pay for any premium services), but I still regularly get leads and interests from people on the platform.
Earlier in the month, a PR from an international luxury tour company viewed my profile and invited me to connect.
I accepted the invitation and replied (with my standard response):
Thanks for your invitation to connect - lovely to be in touch.
Was there anything in particular that prompted you to reach out?
Look forward to keeping in touch, Lindy
I find this is a really simple but useful way to find out the reason behind people connecting. Probably about 70% of people reply.
The PR got back to me, saying that she was putting together a media plan and wanted to invite key journalists to experience their products in 2019.
We messaged each other back and forth a bit before speaking on the phone.
I’m now working with her on some story ideas for 2019 that I can pitch to my editors.
I don’t know if she would have taken the conversation beyond the ‘connection invitation’, but I do think it’s really important to be curious about why people are wanting to connect with you.
I’ll keep you posted on how that turns out.
A resource I’d recommend for freelancers
For a few months now, I’ve been signed up to Sonia Weiser’s Opportunities of the Week newsletter.
It’s an absolute gold mine of information, where Sonia compiles all the callouts on Twitter from editors looking for pitches.
For a suggested donation of $3 (USD) a month, you get a weekly email from Sonia listing all the pitching opportunities that you may have missed if you’re not on social media 24/7.
For someone like me who isn’t a huge fan of being active on Twitter, but knows the importance of it, Sonia’s newsletter is amazing.
My income for December
In terms of income for this month, my December income was quite low (in fact the lowest ever?!) - I was commissioned a grand total of $1953.
This time last year I had been commissioned $110K worth of work and had invoiced for $106K.
Amazingly, even though I have worked part time this year, I have earned more than that.
My income for the year
By the end of 2018, I was commissioned $120, 564 worth of work.
By 31 December 2018, I had invoiced for $112, 837.
So yes, it’s been a big year.
I’m overseas for another couple of weeks and then I’m back into work mode and focusing on launching my online course.
As I write this from my Airbnb in London, I wish you all a fantastic beginning to 2019 - thanks for reading this blog and for your support - I have loved hearing from lots of you, coaching some of you and writing these posts for all of you.
Happy New Year!
How was your December?