Monthly Assessment: September 2015

What’s on the iPod: Timeless by The Airborne Toxic Event

What a weekend.

Cape May, New Jersey in October is usually sunny, warm and busy. This year, skip the first two qualifiers. Imagine howling winds and driving rain in nonstop, multiple-day fashion.  It was wet — inches of rain three days out of the four we were there. It was windy — gusts went up to 55 mph at times (though winds we experienced were more of the 35-45 mph variety). It wasn’t a hurricane, but it was a Nor’easter like no other I’ve witnessed.

And naturally, the day we packed up to come home, the sun came out. The wind was still strong, but the rain disappeared completely. Still, we had a terrific time. Rain and wind don’t deter us much — not since we’d planned ahead and brought enough rain gear. We were outside most of the time.

I came home to five projects on Sunday. By noon yesterday, I had seven. Like the rain in Cape May, the clients are raining down on me. I’m looking for a bigger bucket.

It’s a nice departure from September, which was unusual. I had plenty of work the first week and a half. Then it dried up a bit and I started to get a little concerned. My marketing efforts weren’t producing anything concrete.

So I deployed the freelancer’s tried-and-true method of guaranteeing an influx of work – schedule time off.

Worked like a charm. I’ve already surpassed my earnings goal for October just in the projects currently scheduled.

So that makes my odd September palatable. Here’s how things went last month:

Queries:
I sent out three targeted queries, though more toward mid- to late-September. No word yet, though I do think one will be accepted.

LOIs:
In between projects, I sent out a dozen this month, mainly to exhibitors attending a trade show next month. Nothing yet, but I’m hoping to get somewhere with follow ups.

Social media:
I connected with about six more contacts on LinkedIn, the focus being on quality that I can offer as well as quality they can offer. On Twitter, I attended an industry Twitter chat and picked up a few more key followers.

Job postings:
Zero. And I couldn’t be happier about that. My work hasn’t come from job listings in so long — I can’t remember the last time I got a job this way.

Existing clients:
The bulk of my work came through people who have been funneling projects my way for the last few months to a year.

New clients:
None this past month, but I am working with two new clients of an existing client (I’m the subcontractor). In fact, this particular client has me working on four projects at the moment, with hints at a fifth. If that one comes in, I’m going to have to work long days to get it all done accurately and within deadlines.

Poetry:
I sent out two submissions and received one acknowledgement of receipt. Poetry takes a long time for responses of any sort, so the acknowledgement was a bonus.

Earnings:
Despite a ton of busy work, the invoices were just short of the goal. Had the one project billed, I’d have surpassed it by $400. Instead, I was short $1,200. No matter. It’s going to make for a great October.

Bottom line:
The slow pace of my marketing, while targeted and much more thoughtful, isn’t yet filling my calendar with new clients. If I didn’t already know I have another new client with ongoing work for October and beyond, I’d be doubling my efforts. With October already well scheduled, I’m going to continue the current pace and keep the focus on winning over the best-fitting clients.

Writers, how did you do in September?
Did your work pick up after summer ended? How does it compare to last year at this time?

What are you changing or continuing for October?

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Comments

  • Cathy Miller October 6, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    What are the odds of this? September had the exact same figure for income as August. Both were my 2nd highest months for income. The 3rd quarter was my highest for the year, which is a good thing because for me the last quarter is usually dismal. I'm gone a good portion of November for the 3-Day Walk and my regulars slow way down for the holidays.

    I've picked up on prospecting and have more than a few nibbles. I hope I can reel some in at least for the new year (if not sooner). I plan to use the slow last quarter for business site stuff and its new plan.

    I have to keep this brief. Lots to do before leaving for San Diego. All in all, not feeling too bad about the status.

    Reply
  • Lori Widmer October 6, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Cathy, that's fantastic! A strong third quarter makes for a much more relaxing holiday season.

    Good luck in San Diego. I know you'll excel at that walk — you always do. 🙂

    Reply
  • Paula Hendrickson October 6, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Summer is seldom a slow time for me, but September was busier than normal, thank goodness. October is shaping up to be even better.

    Queries: Only sent two.

    LOIs: Sent none.

    Social Media: I don't recall any earthshaking social media interactions.

    Postings: Replied to one freelance job listing by a place I've written for a few times. (I think the editor I worked with has left, so it was a good chance for me to introduce myself to the new team.)

    Existing Clients: Wrote two articles and turned in two listings, all to different editors. Wrote two columns.

    New Clients: Turned in my first assignment to a new-to-me client. Accepted assignments from two additional new clients.

    Earnings: Actual income was about $500 shy of my modest monthly goal, but higher than I'd expected, given the payment terms of my various clients. But the invoices I have out right now account for more than $600 more than my monthly goal, so it should balance out. Better yet, the projects I'm currently working on (most due in mid October) equals more than double my monthly goal.

    Bottom Line: Keep doing what I'm doing. Things are really clicking right now!

    Reply
  • Lori Widmer October 6, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    Sure sounds like things are clicking, Paula! Congrats on a good month.

    Reply