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Freelance Writing, My Fourth Year

Online WritingIn my four years of online writing I learned a lot about freelance writing but I also learned a lot about myself.  Actually, I think I learned more about myself than I did about freelance writing.

Freelance Writing

My fourth year was met with a bit of burnout.  I wasn’t totally burnt out to the point where I would consider giving up writing, but just singed around the edges enough to realize I had to make a few changes.

Since it was the first year that my Suite earnings were lower than they were the year before, I compensated by taking on DMS assignments (big mistake).  The time I spent on DMS should have been spent adding to my residual base, but I was short sighted.

At the end of the year I analyzed my numbers and my annual progress.  I saw just how big of a mistake it was to write so many DMS articles.  All in all, I earned more in my fourth year than I did in my third year, but my residual income growth slowed down just a bit.

Fourth Year Freelance Writing Burn OutBurn Out

I’m not sure if I’m still suffering from singe out or not, but I no longer have the desire (nor am I inclined) to write 4 or 5 or 6 or more articles a day.  I’m learning to write when I’m inspired to write. If I don’t feel like writing, I don’t.

The only reason I can pick and choose what and when I write is because early on I spent a lot of time building my residuals.  Without them I would have to bang out several articles a day whether I was burnt out or not.

Self Discovery

First and foremost, four years of freelance writing taught me that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to accomplish.  No, I haven’t reached all of my goals as yet, but I’m getting closer to them instead of further away.

Here are a few other things I learned along the way:

  1. Complaining doesn’t fix a situation.  Planned, focused action does.
  2. Listen to my gut instincts.  My gut has been correct more times than the “experts.”
  3. Do not engage in debates with nay sayers.  It’s better to prove them wrong than tell them they’re wrong.  Plus, debating generates too much negative energy.
  4. Patience (‘nuff said).

Final Numbers for Year Four

Here’s a chart of how my daily residual income has grown over the past 4 years.  As you can see, there are ups and downs, but in the long run, as long as you stick with it, the income will grow:

Residual Earnings Graph

In my fourth year of online freelance writing I earned $26,736.59.  Of that amount, $22,881.59 came from residual earnings.  The remainder came from DMS up front payments.

My goal going forward is to continually increase my residual earnings and eliminate all up front payments (unless someone makes me an offer I cannot refuse).

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{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Ruth - Web Career Girl February 23, 2011, 3:47 pm

    I absolutely love reading about your journey and your insights. And those four points you listed are absolutely true. You are definitely proving those nay sayers wrong 😉

  • Bristolboy February 23, 2011, 4:12 pm

    Well done on your increasing earnings – it must be good knowing you have the residual income coming and so you only need to write when you want to! I also like the fact you have tracked your earnings for every month for the last four years!

    • Felicia February 23, 2011, 4:24 pm

      Bristolboy, tracking the earnings was a survival technique. It helped me to continue and think about the big picture.

      On those days when my earnings dropped from say $2.00 one day to $.03 the next day, I had to look at the big picture in order to keep going. It’s very easy to give up in the beginning. 🙂

  • Will February 23, 2011, 5:50 pm

    It’s inspiring to see how much you’ve earned from residual income, but I can only imagine how much hard work and patience it took for you to reach this level of success.

  • Ken February 23, 2011, 7:58 pm

    Gotta love that earnings tracking. Great numbers on year four and already looking good for this year. Yay! BTW – Your tracking sheet has become my new favorite spreadsheet..lol

    • Felicia February 24, 2011, 6:29 am

      I’m glad the spreadsheet is working for you. I find that I tweak it a little each day to track (numerically or graphically) something new. The good thing about the spreadsheet is that you can change it to make it do what you want it to do.

  • Prerna February 24, 2011, 3:21 am

    A-mazing.. Thanks for sharing your journey with the rest of us, Felicia and while I don’t have your head for numbers, I do agree, that some basic form of tracking income does help to focus on the big picture.

    So, what does the future look like? More sites? A Book? Speaking engagements? Pls share:-)

    • Felicia February 24, 2011, 6:27 am

      Prerna, right now the future looks pretty relaxing. I’m going to take time to enjoy a few things that I put on the back burner while I was writing like a fiend.

      I have a few books roaming around in my head and I’m also considering public speaking.

      Writing and creating websites is now part of my DNA so I’m sure I’ll continue to write and build websites here or there, but I’m taking things down a notch for a little while.

      • Grandma February 24, 2011, 4:49 pm

        Oh I would like to see you, Felicia, on something like Oprah, or The View or The Talk tv show!

        • Felicia February 25, 2011, 7:08 am

          Oh Grandma, that would be funny. Me on TV…Can you spell ‘Deer in the Headlights?’ 🙂

  • Master Dayton February 24, 2011, 1:44 pm

    Hi Felicia,

    Great post and very encouraging! As far as passive income goes, I’m part way through my third year. The hardest part for me consistently is the January and February months, which always go backwards in income for me before beginning to climb once again. Thanks for sharing this with us!


    Shane “Master” Dayton

  • Grandma February 24, 2011, 2:37 pm

    I just have to post that becoming part of the NJFM family on this blog website has really been inspiring and brought me to new avenues for cash. I finally got involved in the residual income on top of the ebook and other writing websites. I sometimes am slow to get going, but when I do, I can move mountains.

    Thanks to Felicia, and my other NJFM friends like Mandy…this is really a support arm, and a good thing for me. My last ten years have been mobile, to say the least, with moving all over the country every few months, and I feel like a bag lady living out of my car. Hope to solve that problem this year. Also having high hopes for residual income efforts. Must have been meant to be, because my ducks just landed from nowhere, all in a row.

    • Felicia February 24, 2011, 3:57 pm

      Grandma, I’m just thrilled that you finally decided to try your hand with residuals. I’ve been trying to encourage you to do it for quite some time. I’m glad you finally joined the rest of us.

  • Mandy Robinson February 24, 2011, 3:03 pm

    You are such an inspiration!

  • William Tha Great February 26, 2011, 10:47 am

    Hey Felica,

    Your story really is inspirational, and you make me want to even consider freelance writing again!
    The fact that you have been able to stay focused for 4 years straight shows a whole lot about who you are. I think everyone wishes they have the power within to stay dedicated to a goal for the that long. I bet now you know if you have a passion for anything you can stay focused no matter what.

    I don’t think it’s good too write everyday anyways. I think you should just write when you feels like writing. I stopped forcing myself to write a while ago. I have found out oddly by not focing myself I feel like writing. I know that helps in not killing my desire to write and loving what I do!

    Thanks again!

    God bless,
    William Veasley

  • Brian March 15, 2011, 3:54 pm

    Felicia, I’ve enjoyed digging into your archives and reading up on some of what you have to say. This post is a testament to your perseverance – I love it!

    Awesome job! It’s really cool how you’ve slowly and steadily achieved some successes over the last four years. Here’s to the next four years – I hope they work out even better for you!

  • Christina Crowe March 20, 2011, 5:42 pm

    Hi Felicia,

    This was really an inspiring series. Not only did you convince me to create a journal, but it was also interesting watching your growth as a writer (that graph is especially motivating!).

    I’m glad you didn’t give up, even when things looked dark and dreary. Watching your progress is like walking through a dark cave and watching the light ahead get brighter and brighter, until all of a sudden you make your first step outside.

    Thanks for sharing your findings, mistakes, accomplishments, and wisdom. Your honest perception of things and tendency to not leave anything out are what keep me around.

    So, to make the long story short, keep doing what you’re doing! 🙂


    • Felicia March 21, 2011, 7:57 am

      Thanks for the encouragement Christina.

  • Joni July 11, 2011, 7:52 pm

    I read your last four years posts about your freshman through senior years in freelance writing when I first found your site at the beginning of the year. I have learned so much from your site and several others that as I read all four posts again just now they made so much more sense to me. I didn’t have to look up the definition of any words!
    I was going to start my first blog in June but I realized how much I still didn’t know. I know I cannot continue to use that as an excuse because I will never feel that I know enough. However, I cannot get over how much I’ve learned from you, Kenneth and others in just a short time. I am working on my first blog, singing up for residual, up front, and a mixture of both every day. I am excited because I understood most of the posts I read now about how it’s done. I could not say that several months ago.
    You are so motivational, if you do not mind speaking in public, it seems like that would be a good fit for you (one of them). Thank you again for being here and thanks to everyone who adds their wisdom.
    Take Care,

    • Felicia July 13, 2011, 8:35 am

      Glad to see you’re growing, Joni. A year from now you’ll be sharing your first year’s journey.

      As far as public speaking. I often toy with the idea, but am not so sure I’m the public speaking type. I’m pretty much a hermit, but I might give it a whirl at least once to see if I like it.

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