The longer I stick with this online freelance writing, the better I am able to prepare for the dips (This post was inspired by Ken’s recent comment).
When I first started writing online, I would compare last month’s earnings to this month’s earnings to get an indication of how well I was doing. In my first year of writing online, it was the only method of comparison that I had.
Senior Year of Online Writing School of Hard Knocks
Now that I’m nearing the end of my senior year of online writing (I’ve been at it for just shy of 4 years), I compare my numbers in a much different way. I compare apples to apples instead of apples to oranges. In other words, I compare January 2007 earnings to January of 2008 and so on.
I’ve found that comparing my December numbers to my January numbers doesn’t give me an accurate picture of my earnings growth. Seasonal fluctuations should be compared to other months with seasonal fluctuations. Doing so will allow you to better prepare for the dips.
Learning Your Dips
I’ve found that one of my sites seems to do well in June, July and August, drop in September and October and then start to pick up again in November in December. That December high is followed by a January low that lasts well into May. In my first year, I worried myself sick thinking that I did something wrong or that Google had pulled the plug.
I worried for nothing because the site followed the exact same pattern the following year. Only the second year’s numbers were better than the first. That site taught me three lessons:
- Worrying is useless (I knew that, but apparently I needed a reminder)
- Build up content during the dips so that when the boon times come, they’ll be boonier (I know that’s not a word, but you get my drift).
- Build an offsetting site. An offsetting site is a site has a different set of seasonal fluctuations. If Site A does well in the summer and winter, Site B is targeted for the Spring and Fall, this way there’s a steady stream of income all year long.
Stats and Numbers
This all leads me to encouraging you to take time to track your numbers. It may seem like a royal pain at first, but it is well worth it if you want to work smart. Although I started tracking my numbers in my freshman year of online writing, it wasn’t until my junior year (last year) that I started seriously tracking my writing efforts in addition to my income.
Tracking each separately is good, but they become a powerful duo when you track them both. One without the other is like Batman without Robin, or Ren without Stimpy or Bert without Ernie or…(uh oh, too much coffee…sorry).
Keep the Big Picture in Mind
There’s not much I can guarantee when it comes to online writing, but I can guarantee there will be dips. You’ll see them daily, weekly, monthly and seasonally. In your first year those dips can throw you for a loop because you’ve got nothing to compare them to.
Take heart and just keep pushing on. The first year can be the toughest because you’re not quite sure what to expect or what you’re doing, but stick with it. Don’t let the dips stop you.