Monthly Assessment: October 2015

What’s on the iPod: Just As Well by Jackie Green

Welcome to November — another month, another reset of the earnings goals (for me, anyway). October was a crazy month. I had an unusual start to it, too. My husband had just confirmed reservations for a long weekend in Cape May. You know the drill — the minute a freelance writer makes plans to be away from the desk, the clients come knocking.

This time, they came in a flood of work. I went to Cape May because we were both overworked and exhausted. We’d put that vacation off three months in a row, and it wasn’t happening again.

That meant I came home to five projects, three of which had deadlines that same week. Two smaller projects came in while I was working my way down the list. Then a few more. Ten days later, I had nearly all of them done, another project coming in, and plenty of revision work to keep me occupied.

All that work made for one hell of an invoice total, too. Let’s get to the details:

For my corporate work, I sent none. For poetry, I sent six. I did get one poetry rejection that included an invitation to resubmit, so I worked up a new submission a few days later.

I broke all my rules this month. I sent three LOIs where normally, that would have been more like 18 or 20. I never thought I’d be too busy to market, but there I was — too busy to market. It will haunt me later, but I’m hoping some of the marketing I sent out before the onslaught will help me secure some projects.

Social media:
I did some tweeting and hit a few LinkedIn forums. Plus I attended a Twitter chat in my specialty area, picking up a few more followers as a result.

Job postings:
None in the corporate realm. In poetry, I was sent a few by a fellow freelancer, and I did send off some submissions. Nothing yet on any of them (poetry has a much longer lag time — months often).

I cleaned up here. I gained one new client through a referral from a former coworker, and that client has already signed off on a project draft and is talking about others.

Existing clients:
A favorite client came back at the beginning of the month with a small project. I always enjoy working with this company as they have great products and services and good people.

New clients:
Just as I was about to head off on a long weekend vacation, a new client contacted me through my website. He hired me nearly sight unseen (hence a good reason for us all to keep our websites updated). So far I’ve handled two of his client’s projects, and hopefully more going forward.

I’m trying not to brag, but dammit, it’s a big deal. I had a poem — my second one published — nominated for a Pushcart Prize. It’s not even my favorite poem, but the editors liked it enough to nominate it. I have no expectations of winning, but I’m glad to see the added validation — it makes it a bit easier to get published going forward.

By October 2nd, I had on the books enough work to surpass my monthly goal. By October 5th, I’d nearly doubled my earnings goal. In fact, I was just $1,000 away from doubling it. I tried to, because who doesn’t want to go into the November/December slowdown with a nice bank account? But I’m thrilled with October’s results. Exhausted, but thrilled.

Bottom line:
I want to clone October about ten times over. Until October, I was looking at a decent, but not earth-shattering year-to-date earnings. Not now — now, I’m posed to surpass my annual goal. That would be great.

Most of my work this month was from new clients. Ironically, I didn’t market to any of the clients that funneled work my way. This month is all about the big push for more projects. I’m trying to secure things for January in hopes that I can start 2016 strong. The annual conference is just five months away, so notes are already circulating to client prospects and current clients who will be attending it.

While it may be slow until the end of the year, I have no intention of taking it slow. I’m going to work like it’s April or September and assume everyone needs a writer no matter what time of year it is. Mind over matter!

How did you do in October, writers?
Did you surpass or miss your goal?
How are you mixing things up going forward?
Biggest surprise?

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  • Sharon Hurley Hall November 2, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Sounds like a great month, Lori. I did ok in October, but I had a week off at the end, so I've come back to a busy November. However, over the whole year, I've passed my earnings target, which is good news for Christmas shopping! 🙂

  • Cathy Miller November 2, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    And brag you should, Lori. Congrats!

    I hit target in October. I started a marketing plan of contacting a minimum of 3 LI contacts a week. That has led to interesting discussions. Nothing in actual projects – yet – but hope springs eternal.

    November is always bad for me as I'm gone for 1/2 of it for the 3-Day Walk and vacation time. And existing clients have been missing their target deadlines for submitting required info. So, the last two weeks have been an exercise in frustration.

    I have a blog redesign planned for next year and imagine that will take up much of the rest of the year. Thank goodness for existing clients as I have projects lined up into the New Year.

  • Lori Widmer November 2, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    That is good news, Sharon! Do you do like I do and start planning for the holiday expenses in August?

    Cathy, congratulations! Isn't it great to hit that target? And I love your idea of three LI contacts/week. Much more organized way to go about it!

    Good luck on the redesign — doing something similar myself right now.

  • Paula Hendrickson November 2, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    I tried leaving a comment before, but can't remember what I wrote other than: It was a very busy month for me, too. Two new clients, several existing clients with multiple projects. Actual cash-in-hand earnings were slightly over my modest monthly goal, but the total of the work I turned in this month was more than double that monthly goal.

    Good news from Favorite Editor, too: They're adding a 10th issue starting in 2016, so she'll be assigning soon and will need more ideas than ever.

    I've also been working social media to capitalize on a couple of major things that should run this week – several interviewees have huge followings and they'll tweet and retweet the heck out of everything.

  • Lori Widmer November 4, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    LOL! Paula, I'm sorry you had issues. I've not idea what happened. Glad you're able to get in.

    Sounds like a great month for you, too! Wow! Good news for 2016, eh?