Monthly Assessment: November 2015

What’s on the iPod: Asimbonanga sung by Woolies and Soweto Gospel Choir

Hard to believe it’s been two years since the world lost Nelson Mandela (tomorrow is the anniversary of his passing). It’s funny how the brain works — I started humming this song about a week before I realized the anniversary of Mandela’s death was upon us. I’m including the video below. Gorgeous tribute.

Why does it feel like I’ve been running to catch up with this monthly assessment lately? Maybe the past holiday did it, I don’t know. But here I am, four days into the new month and I’ve yet to send out the last invoice. I’m counting it for November, but sheesh. I’m slow.

Also slow this month was the workflow. Not unexpected and certainly welcome after that wild October. I thought December would be the same. Nope, I’m already looking at meeting my earnings goal in three projects that just showed up (one unexpectedly).

Before I get ahead of myself, let’s look at November:

Two queries, one assignment. It’s going to pay in February too, so I’m happy to have a good start on the new year. The other query I’ll follow up on because typically, this editor likes to discuss things over the phone.

I sent 14 LOIs and followed up on just about as many previous first contacts. Also, I got back in touch with four people I’ve had conversations/meetings with in the past (one I actually did some projects for). At the moment, just one is in talks with a particular client I’d referred to his company, so some work may be coming from that.

Social media:
I connected with three new people and got back in touch with two existing contacts — just wishing them well and starting the conversation.

Job postings:
Zero. And I’m proud of that. 🙂

I picked up a new client this past month by way of a former client. It’s a small job, but I never discount small jobs. Those people have connections, as well. My goal is to make them look good and leave a good impression. That’s my referral secret in a nutshell.

Existing clients:
One ongoing gig and a few smaller projects made up the bulk of November earnings for me.

New clients:
Just the one, but I did lay the foundation for another one, so fingers crossed…

I got a few rejections here — no surprise. I did manage to get a few more poems in front of editors (three — one for every week I worked), so I’m content with that for now.

I thought this would be a month of lower earnings. It was, but by just $1,600. I can live with that after that phenomenal October.

Bottom line:
A slower month, and I was almost glad for it. The earnings could have been higher, but they were certainly more than I thought I’d have given the week off last week and the lower-key marketing effort.

December is already full of projects, and I do have a good solid head start going into January with that one article assignment. There will be more work as a regular client is funneling it my way shortly. Still, I’ll be getting in touch with the network of contacts, creating some quality contacts through social media and email, and trying to surpass my earnings goal this time around.

So let’s hear it. How did you do in November?

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  • Paula Hendrickson December 4, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Like you, Lori, October was really busy and productive for me. It was nice to have a couple of slow weeks, and things have begun picking up since Thanksgiving. I'm hoping for a consistent, but not too rushed, pace between now and about the 20th. After that, I can say I'm taking the rest of the year off.

    The only catch? Few of those invoices send in October have yet been paid.

    Queries: Sent two, one was assigned, due early 2016.

    LOIs: None. I know. Shame on me.

    Social Media: Got some good social media interactions/traction out of a couple of articles that ran in November.

    Job Postings: Only replied to one. A baking-related listing at a well-known company. No reply, of course.

    Referrals: Zero.

    Existing Clients: Wrote four columns. Picked up a couple new assignments.

    New Clients: Zero.

    Earnings: My actual income was way less than half my modest monthly goal. That would sting if I didn't have a big stack of invoices that should be paid this month – enough for December's earnings to be double my goal. (That said, one of them, for a new-to-me client is paid on final acceptance; the editor said all articles typically have a revision before, but my piece was pushed from January to March, so they haven't yet requested the revision…and that's a big check. If it doesn't come until 2016, I'm fine with it. Let it be a good start for the new year.) The dollar amount of the new invoices I sent in November was just $700 shy of my monthly goal. Not too bad for a slow month.)

    Bottom Line: Looks as if I'll end 2015 with a strong quarter, despite the holidays. I need to continue that trend throughout 2016.

  • Cathy Miller December 4, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Simple answer to November results = 2 weeks off + 3 Days – 60 Miles. ☺

  • Paula Hendrickson December 4, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    But you did a LOT of good in those three days, Cathy!

  • Lori Widmer December 7, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Paula, it sounds like one of those ridiculously busy months where the invoices don't match the stress. 😉 Had one or two of those myself recently.

    Cathy, that's one hell of an accomplishment!