It's that time of year! My fourth annual freelance wrap up. If you'd like to see previous editions, I got you:
This is my second best freelancing year ever, of 16 years being a full time freelancer. Hooray! Maybe I'll beat $135k again, but I also work a lot less now than I did in 2019, which is a win for me. I'm glad that after two years of declines, I bounced back up a bit (even though my costs went up last year because my dog was pretty sick).
Here's the breakdown on my terrible chart. Graphic design is not my passion:
- Colleges and Universities: 37%
- Association Publications: 29%
- Research Institutes/Hospitals: 14%
- Business to Business Publications (B2B): 14%
- Consumer Publications: 3%
- Custom Content: 2%
- Freelance Instruction 1%
In October, I wrote about how I crossed the $100,000 mark but didn't feel like I had, in part because of Annie's vet bills, but also because I was on auto-pilot and taking what came to me, more floating with the current instead of trying to paddle in a specific direction.
That's not necessarily a bad thing. I'd built up my business to the point that I could coast a bit and still have my second most successful freelance year ever. I also was burned on writing about COVID, all the time, and then almost all the time. I still am — and the pandemic is still very much here, with about 500 people dying of it per day U.S., according to the New York Times — but by the end of 2022, I was starting to think about being more proactive again, and writing those pitches even though I know they're a time suck and don't land all the time. I'm writing this after I got my first big rejection of the year. But instead of putting it aside, as I may have in 2022, I'm going to pick it up, re-shift the focus, and pitch it to someone else.
Or maybe I need to keep coasting some more, which is fine too. The pandemic forced me to disconnect what I perceived my value from my job, and to prioritize me of what people might think about me and what I wrote.
But perhaps I went too far in the other direction in order to give myself time to heal. I spent part of last summer working on a travel-related essay series, which was the most creative writing I'd done for myself in a long time, but I haven't looked at it since. It's time to get moving on that, and push myself to try and get back more into the consumer ball game (though having my select pieces run in the New York Times, Washington Post and Oprah YES I CAN BRAG A BIT is not so bad).
But I also plan to take six weeks off this summer to drive to and from California, and may actually get to go on that Italy trip I've been planning (or not, if flying still doesn't feel right).
So that's it: my profitable but uninspiring — at least to me — 2022 wrap up. I'm still working hard on the next ebook, which will be about freelancing for laid off journalists. I'm sending off to my copy editor on Friday. There's also going to be some slight changes around here, but never fear: the newsletter will continue to be free.