June - my income for the financial year and the month I got my cake
The last day of June marks the end of the financial year in Australia, and editors and clients are either putting a freeze on commissions or are hurriedly trying to spend their budget. I deliberately set my income target lower this month in an attempt to bring back some balance into my life, and for the most part, it worked. But happily, my invoice total for the month was the most it’s ever been. And if you've been following my blog over the past few months, you'll be glad to know I got my cake!
June – the end of the financial year and the month I got my cake
I rounded the corner into June and deliberately took my foot off the gas.
I wanted to see what work would flow my way and concentrate on pitching strategically to certain publications.
By pitching strategically I mean sending more query letters to an editor of a publication that I have written for once (but want to write for more), as well as pitching editors of travel publications/sections.
In terms of feature articles for magazines and newspapers, this month I:
Pitched: 10 (this includes re-pitching ideas that have been rejected)
Commissions from pitches or query letters: 2 (and 2 “maybes”)
Offers: 1 (where the editor approached me with a commission)
In terms of feature articles for corporate and B2B clients: (I don’t pitch these)
Offers: 15 (13 of these articles were offered in a ‘bundle’)
Filed: 35 (I know this sounds like a lot, but 13 of these were 400 word articles)
Lowlights of June
One of my favourite editors, who works for an inflight magazine, got in touch to let me know that the airline is stopping their routes to Australia in a couple of months.
It’s such a pity – I have loved working with her – she has such a clear vision for the magazine, I adore the way she carefully and prudently edits my work and curates the perfect images to accompany the articles.
But, as I've written about before, the sand is always shifting when you're a freelance writer, and the best thing you can do is be proactive and acknowledge that editors don't last forever.
Of course, I’ll keep in touch with her, but it was a bit of a blow as I felt like I was positioning myself as her ‘go-to’ Australian writer for certain destinations.
I’m also still struggling a bit with my reduced hours.
Even though on paper, I’m being just as productive and making as much money in 3 - 3.5 days a week than I was in 5 (who knew that was even possible?!) I find that while I get the necessary work done, I don't have as much time as I'd like to work on this blog.
I have so many ideas for this blog, but my "busy-ness" has meant that I haven't got around to developing all the resources I wanted to by the middle of 2018. And I'm terribly hard on myself about that.
I think sometimes we freelancers think we can have it all and do it all.
I was listening to this recent podcast of Amy Porterfield's where she interviewed Brooke Castillo about the importance of taking action.
One of the things that Brooke talked about was that freelancers tend to get trapped in the "busy hustle" where we are working hard but not necessarily producing anything.
"Productivity means you are producing a result," Brooke said.
So I'm going to take that on board and really work at producing some more valuable content and resources for you all over the next six months. Hold me to account, okay?!
Highlights of June
I’ve had heaps of highlights this month.
I am part of the wonderfully positive and supportive Ladybirds group for women writers on Facebook and was part of a Q&A a few weeks ago about freelance writing. The group is full of writers of all kinds, and they are so encouraging and kind. I loved doing the fast and furious Q&A.
I was also invited to be on a panel about navigating the freelance jungle at the Emerging Writers’ Festival. Neha Kale and Matilda Dixon-Smith were also on the panel – they are both uber smart and savvy freelance writers who are kicking lots of goals; Matilda writes lots of 'hot takes' and Neha is an experienced editor and freelance writer who works predominantly in the art and culture space. I loved hearing how they manage their work-life balance and their take on what makes them feel successful as a freelance writer.
The audience had some great questions too, ranging from how to get started in freelance writing and how to build solid relationships with editors, to the best way to find out about a publication's editorial and content calendar. It's always great to be part of days or events like that, either as a presenter or attendee- it can be lonely being a freelancer and it's so nice just to take the time to connect and meet others who are walking the same path.
In other news, I received two offers of famils in June.
One is an international press trip (my first) at the end of July, and originally the other famil was going to be in mid July, but we’ve pushed it back to later in the year.
I do think being part of the Australian Society of Travel Writers has really helped me getting these offers, because membership is highly regarded within the travel and PR industries.
Oh, and if you’re anywhere near Castlemaine in a couple of weeks time and fancy doing a 3 hour introductory course with me on freelance writing, come along to this event at my co-working space (I may even bake some cookies).
I’m really looking forward to working with a small group of aspiring freelance writers.
But what about the cake?
Lots of you have been asking me about when my partner is going to make the Katherine Sabbath cake he promised – well, the moment arrived last week.
After watching Katherine on Masterchef, he knew he couldn’t put it off much longer.
He made an edited version (less buttercream, because I’m not sure anyone really needs one kilogram of icing in their life) of her birthday cake with raspberries and vanilla, and oh my goodness, it was spectacular. We are still eating our way through it.
I’ve tested the waters and asked him about what happens if I hit another blog milestone, and whether I’ll get version 2.0, but I think at this stage, I’m lucky to have received this one!
Income report for June:
I was commissioned $7232 (I hit my income target for the month of $7K - just!)
I invoiced for $18,067
My income report for the first 6 months of 2018
Even though I’m working part time I somehow have managed to maintain similar earnings to last year.
I know that might feel disheartening to lots of you who are absolutely working your guts out to hit income goals, make a living or just want to feel that you are 'making it' as a freelance writer, but the key to making such a good income is really about forging strong relationships with editors and clients so they come to me with the work.
If you're constantly hustling and pitching, it's exhausting. The only way for freelancing to be sustainable long term is to focus on building relationships so you become the go-to person for particular editors and clients.
A big chunk of my income comes from work that I don't pitch. (And I talk about how to do this in my coaching sessions if you're keen).
From January to June 2018, I was commissioned $58,970 worth of work.
Income report for 2017-18 financial year:
I was commissioned $120,036 worth of work
I invoiced for $116,242
My plan for this blog over the next 6 months
I really want to work on some more resources for you all and create super valuable blog posts. I am in the middle of creating a content calendar, so here’s your chance to let me know what you more (or less) of – and I’ll schedule it in.
One of the things I’m looking at doing is starting Q&As with editors as well as more posts on the business of freelancing, but please let me know what you'd like to see here.
So that's it for me for this financial year.
I'm off to the beach for the first week of July, with only a couple of deadlines to meet so I'm looking forward to a quieter start to the 2018-19 financial year.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
How was your June? What are your goals for the second half of 2018? What would you like me to cover in my posts in the next 6 months?