I began freelancing full-time in July 2019. Here’s a breakdown of my annual earnings since then.
- 2019: $8,314 (five months)
- 2020: $35,479
- 2021: $31,464
- 2022: $90,565
Adjusting for holidays and vacation, a normal month of work yielded about $9,000 last year. Allow me to toot my own horn for a second — I’m pretty damn proud of that.
By the most coveted metric (income), I’ve “made it.” Or, I’m financially stable at least. That said, if I could condense everything I’ve learned into an oversimplified lesson, it’s this: don’t glamorize the future.
Here are a few potentially hard-to-swallow lessons I’ve learned from building a (nearly) six-figure writing business.
Problem number one when I began my freelancing career: make money.
Translation: find clients willing to pay me for a service I was relatively inexperienced in providing. After three and a half years and hundreds of assignments, I don’t have that problem anymore. But steady income doesn’t mean I can turn on cruise control and just vibe.
Other problems have sprouted as I’ve evolved my business.
For instance, it’s great to have a longer client list, but I don’t have the same cushion for procrastination that I once unwittingly had, which means I need to operate with urgency and avoid distractions. It’s a different kind of stress.
Raising rates is another example. Money is an awkward subject as it is. Asking clients for more money for the same services? It almost feels wrong.
With plenty of “uncomfortable” conversations under my belt, I feel confident and justified in charging higher rates, but still — negotiating is a delicate challenge that has backfired on me before.
Maybe this is just my opinion, but compared to building a six-figure freelancing business, I think it’s a much more daunting…