Monthly Assessment: December 2012

What’s on the iPod: Too Close by Alex Clare

writing, freelance, marketing

Happy 2013! I’m writing this ahead as I’m trying not to spend two days in a row in front of the computer (no vacation if I’m constantly connected), so I hope we avoided a fiscal cliff, I hope the ball dropped without the Mayans’s oversight causing mass destruction, and I hope you’re all safe and sound and looking forward to a great new year.

Alas, I must look back one more time. December was a slow-as-molasses month, but thankfully good planning and serendipity resulted in a good earnings month. Here’s the short version of how it played out:

I sent none, though I did get work from two editors who send me assignments quite frequently. One job came from a query sent months ago.

Because the world goes on a psychological vacation from December 1st through January 1st, I didn’t bother. In the past, LOIs and queries have been ignored until January anyway, if answered at all. There’s something about the calendar page turning and the new budgets appearing in January that create this vacuous effect on projects in December.

Existing clients:
I didn’t necessarily need to find any new business this month as I had plenty of existing client work to keep me occupied. While even these projects were thin on the ground, monthly retainers and ongoing small projects were enough to keep the checks coming. These were the entirety of my earnings this month.

New clients:
I didn’t look for reasons listed above. I did, however, hear from a newer client who hired me for one project. The work, if my estimate is accepted, starts this month. See? New year, new budgets, new energy.

None this month.

Despite this being the slowest month of the year, I was able to surpass the monthly goal again. The retainer helped immensely, as did a magazine assignment and those smaller projects for a marketing client.

Bottom line:
January’s earnings are already pretty good as another magazine project will bill this month and a retainer from another client will kick in. I have four, possibly five large projects about to start and retainers will be part of three of them. If I get just two I’ll be in great shape. Still, I have to start marketing hard this month as I don’t count on a single thing until the contract is signed. Marketing was definitely put on the back burner in December, with much of it being just via social media connections. This month, LOIs and queries are going out in full force. There’s a trade show in April and I want to justify the trip to LA.

How was December for you? What’s happening for you in January?

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  • Paula January 2, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Despite a slow workload and LatePayer's best efforts (and lack of payment), I barely squeaked by in December.

    I sent one query to a long-time editor. Sent three LOIs. And – as hard as it is to believe – I replied to three job postings. All were right up my alley, and given it was Christmas week, I figured there wouldn't too many responses to compete with.

    Since a couple of my editors take the last half of December off each year, the workload was small, and somewhat guilt free. I turned in one article to Favorite Editor and wrote two columns.

    No new clients. No real referrals (unless you count a résumé for a colleague.

    Had Late Payer paid, I would have exceeded my modest monthly goal. As is, I was only $200 shy…thanks to a payment that arrived on December 31st.

    I really hope 2013 brings more assignments and more money. I can guarantee 2013 will bring LatePayer a boatload of trouble if I don't receive a check soon postmarked by Dec 31, 2012.