Year’s end often prompts us to reflect on the old and plan for the new. After a 2014 that left me feeling like a well-used punching bag, I’m more than ready to rise from the ashes.
Below is a review of 2014 and the lessons I’ve gleaned to take me through 2015. I originally shared this in the forum on the Freelance Writers Den.
2014 – The Good
1. Started full time as a freelance writer after losing longterm previous job (memo to self – never again have your whole family’s income depend on a bi-polar millionaire). I came into freelancing totally the wrong way, no safety net, no plan, and 1 bi-monthly writing gig that paid 9 cents a word. But you know what? I’m still here, and things are getting better.
2. Joined American Horse Publications. Since my niche is horses, this was a very good move. Attended the seminar this summer, met with a few fab editors, which led to…
3. Published in 3 of my bucket list national pubs – really the holy trinity of horse magazines for a dressage person: Dressage Today, The Chronicle of the Horse and The United States Dressage Federation’s Connection.
4. Got to guest post on Carol’s Make A Living Writing because of #3 (Still so proud of this – thanks, Carol!!)
5. Took bootcamps, Article Writing Masterclass (which ROCKS – if you’re on the fence about signing up for it – find a way and MAKE it HAPPEN – you won’t regret it), and generally soaked up tons of goodness from the Den. Also worked with Linda Formichelli in her (all too short lived) email mentoring program. Great investment. Also joined Danny Iny’s Audience Business Masterclass. Invested a lot in myself on this one, and it will pay off handsomely (however, see #2 in The Bad and the Downright Ugly).
6. Continued to be published in every issue of the regional horse magazine that started it all for me a couple of years ago. Pay is low, but I like this magazine, and it’s actually kind of fun calling someone for an interview (or just meeting them at a horse show), and having them recognize my name…
7. Started to look for better paying, non-horse ideas, have 3 queries going out this week. Have also started a spreadsheet with businesses and am sending out 5 LOIs per week (minimum) as well as 3 queries per week (minimum).
8. Got more active on Social Media, have my website up, started blogging more (which I LOVE).
9. Entered Jon Morrow’s Serious Bloggers Only Best Post of 2014 Contest (on a self-dare) and, to my amazement, received Highly Commended (3rd Place) in the Most Personality Category. Who knew? And it was from my NON-horsey blog!! Pretty cool. You can check out the results here.
2014 – The Bad and the Downright Ugly
1. Totally spaced on treating this like a business. Hence, income not exactly something I’m proud of. However, I’ve given myself a good talking to (and a swift kick), and have ACTION items and goals for 2015 broken down into 1 month, 3 month, 6 month and 9 month. I want to be able to keep track and correct course before the whole year is up!
2. Missed opportunities (again, because I wasn’t treating it like a business).After signing up for Danny Iny’s Audience Business Masterclass – which is a totally kick-butt program, I let it sit there. I still am trying to figure out where all the hours of 2014 went, because lots of them weren’t very productive…. The upside of this, I do believe I’ve learned.
3. Attitude. I felt completely steamrollered by circumstances in 2014. There was a lot of bad juju in my life, but I don’t usually let things get me down this much. Despite my attempts to be continually grateful and always look for the positive, I pretty much hit bottom, and felt powerless. I think the situational depression may have had something to do with the lack of productivity (and vice-versa). For 2015, I meditate FIRST every day, not if I feel like it after I look at the bills and try to work out a budget.
It’s all about being a business. Not spammy, sleazy, salesman business, but honest, valuable information and products to customers who are looking for what I have to offer and are willing to compensate me fairly for the benefits and value I add to their lives and businesses.
As a business I will:
1. Have action oriented, controllable goals. (I can’t control which editors accept my queries, but I sure can control how many queries I send out).
2. Keep track. Of my income. My expenses. My actions. What works and what doesn’t.
3. PPRR – Plan, Perform, Review, Repeat
As a business owner, I will:
Always, always, always care for myself – mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
So, it’s kind of long winded, but there you have my wrap up of 2014 and look ahead into what’s going to be a great year in 2015.
Love this roundup! Congrats on all your success as a freelance writer in 2014! It sounds like you kicked major butt when it came to finding a niche and really solidifying your career as a writer. Awesome stuff! Here’s hoping for an amazing 2015!
Thanks, Jessica! It’s been an interesting journey, that’s for sure! I’m actually looking forward to this year with a kind of “little-kid-going-to-Disneyworld” sort of anticipation. When I focus on my goals and my plans to get there, I almost get giddy. Not a bad way to feel at all :-).
I adore your blog and your voice, Jessica and look forward to reading more of your wisdom as 2015 unfolds. The very best to you!