Happy May 1st! It’s the beginning of another month and a beginning of new goals. Each month I list my article writing goals on my income tracking sheet. I list sites that I write for, how many articles I anticipate writing during the month and as I write them I log them on the sheet. The spreadsheet calculates how many more I have to write to reach my monthly goal.
By the end of the month, I usually reach my article number goal (and sometimes surpass it), but the article distribution usually changes. I wrote more for some sites than anticipated and less for others. Throughout the month I become passionate about a particular topic and I find that the particular topic works better on some sites than others. As long as the bottom line monthly goal is met, I’m satisfied.
Goal Setting Goes a Long Way
That’s the great thing about being a freelance writer. You can schedule what you write, when you write and how much you write. That’s also the bad thing about being a freelance writer. You can get lazy and not schedule anything, write on a whim and earn next to nothing for the month.
Over time I analyze which sites are the easiest to write content for and the sites that produce the most income. I do sort of an effort vs. reward calculation. The effort is strictly subjective. The reward is strictly financial. I try to balance the effort/reward system to get the most enjoyment and money from my freelance writing.
In order not to get burnt out, I find its best to spread my writing around. I usually follow my passion. Once I’m all passioned out, then I go to some of the more labor intensive sites and off-line projects to write an article or two. I tend to stay away from too many difficult writing projects because burnout is a very real and very costly condition. If you have ever suffered from burnout, you know what I’m talking about.
Keep the Big Picture in Mind
When setting goals always remember where you want to be 5 years from now. If your ultimate goal is to live off of your residual income, look at where you’re spending the bulk of your time? If your written goals have you spending 10% of your time writing for residual sites and 90% of your time writing for up front pay (active income) sites, guess what? It’s going to take a very, long time before you can live off of your residual income.
If you didn’t meet the goals you set last month, it’s okay. At least you set a few goals. If you didn’t set goals last month at all, that’s okay too. You can start this month.
Personally, I found that my freelance writing income really started to improve once I started setting and achieving monthly writing goals. It took me awhile to understand how to write realistic goals (I’ve burnt myself out a few times trying to live up to unrealistic goals).
If you’re not in the habit of setting goals, make it a goal to start setting goals.