Sorry that my 2020 wrap up is coming in a bit late, but in addition to running a 24-hour race, and trying to recover from a 24-hour race, I've been, well, occupied with the news. But I marked out a space of time to do a breakdown of my 2020 freelancing year. Let's get into it.
In 2020, I grossed $120,191, which is yes down from last year, when I grossed $135,288.
I can't say I'm mad or disappointed though, for three reasons:
- My goal for 2020, as it was in 2019, was to gross $96,000, which meant I'd have to bill $8,000 a month. I don't need to make $135,000. I don't live in a high cost area. I don't have student loan debt, and I don't have kids. Believe me, $98,000 is more than enough. Of COURSE the extra money is nice, but it's not necessary. I set the bar there because I'm committed to my 30-hour workweek, and taking time off, which I still managed to do in 2020. I don't want to pressure myself to work more for the sake of reaching some arbitrary number. So in hitting $120,000, I still overperformed.
- IT'S A FUCKING PANDEMIC. Yes, being able to write about science, health and supply chain was beneficial in keeping me busy, but my brain was a panicky mush for much of the year. This is despite memes about single people are learning all sorts of new hobbies right now – because, really? I am still a person trying to stay alive during a global pandemic, which takes a lot of time. On top of that, I am the point person on my family's COVID prevention/response plans. When someone thinks they're sick, or they or their kids have had an exposure, they call me. When they want to know if something is safe, they call me. I'm happy to do this since my work means I know more than the average citizen, but it still means I spend a lot of time keeping up on developments in science, medicine, treatments and testing so I don't tell them to do the wrong thing and they die. That I could work at this level, when I look back on it, is a minor miracle. And while we're here: just a single person doesn't live in the same house as parents and/or siblings doesn't mean they've been booted out of the family. I have some much family that they make me want to scream sometimes. Once I went to Target and didn't check my phone the whole time I was there, and came back to 23 missed text messages. I thought someone had died. No, my brothers were arguing about Captain America. Anyway.
- I had to fire my top client of 2019 for payment issues, and I still made up most of that income.
This is not all that different from 2019's breakdown. One notable change is "freelance instruction." In 2019, I had a "teaching" category. For 2020, I replaced that with "freelance instruction," which included freelance consults and sales from my ebook about how I made $135,000 in 2019. (I hope to start consults up again in 2021, but I need to rethink the format. Someone breached my trust, and I can't have that happen again. And if you are the person who did that, and you're reading this: I know who you are, and what you did. Kindly exit my freelance sphere).
Anyway, I don't know what conclusions I can draw other than:
- Previous marketing efforts paid of in 2020. I landed 10 new clients in 2020, very much because of emails I'd sent in the past. I call marketing planting seeds without knowing when they'll sprout. That's certainly been the case for me.
- I hung on. And sometimes that's enough.
Jennifer Goforth Gregory did a great blog post on writers who made more in 2020 than they had before. I highly recommend you check it out.
Until next time,
Jen A. Miller