Income report #3 | My first €1k freelance writing income!

January was a very busy month but thankfully in a right way. One of my goals for the first month of the year was getting more freelance jobs. I worked hard for this, and I am so so happy that it worked out so well!

So far the good news 😉 The targets for my websites were a bit too ambitious…

Did I reach my goals?

  • Increase my freelance writing income to €800 per month. → YES
  • Write weekly blog posts for Samen de Wereld Ontdekken and Digital Nomad with Kids. → YES
  • Develop a freebie for Digital Nomad with Kids. → NO
  • Get 100 email subscribers for Digital Nomad with Kids. → NO
  • Find 1 or 2 paid guest blogging jobs for Samen de Wereld Ontdekken. → NO

So, two successful targets and three failures. Doesn’t sound very promising, but overall I’m happy with these results. Let me give you some details!

Freelance writing results of January 2017

As mentioned in my previous income report, I started searching for clients on Upwork. I know you’re probably giving me the evil look now, but it is kind of working for me. I say kind of because it has it’s downsides as well.

Plus side of Upwork

The plus side is that I am Dutch. Therefore, I only apply to jobs that require Dutch language skills. The competition is so much fewer than for English jobs! On average, I am 1 of 10 applicants, so I make a decent shot at getting the job.

Downside of Upwork

The downside is – like you probably know – that Upwork clients want to get expert level freelancers for entry level fees. The first two weeks I accepted small payments out of insecurity. Now I know better, so I reject these kinds of offers and continue applying for higher paying jobs.

My success rate on Upwork

In total, I’ve sent 27 proposals, and I got two jobs. The other 2 Upwork jobs are from clients I already worked for in December.

Two assignments out of 27 proposals is a very low success rate. But the reason is very simple: the client and I couldn’t agree on the fee, so we parted ways.

There are high paying jobs on Upwork. I know, because I found a few. But I admit, it is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Thankfully, I found another regular paying client (outside of Upwork) as well.

Want to know more about Upwork for starting your freelance writing career? Read my blog post about the 3 things you need to have success on Upwork

Expenses

I didn’t have any expenses related to freelance writing.

Income

I had seven assignments last month: four through Upwork and three from other clients. Of these seven jobs, four are recurring, and I think this is the biggest win of last month. It is not all about the money; I like to have some stability as well, so I’m happy I found a few (reasonable paying!) regulars.

My freelance writing income for January 2017 is €1106.

This income is VAT excluded, but I have not yet deducted taxes. I have no clue how much I’ll earn this year, but I keep 36,55% (the tax percentage for the lowest earnings in the Netherlands) aside for taxes.

Time spent

In January, I worked a total of 125 hours:

Time report January

The label ‘Other’ is 3.5-hour administration and 1 hour for a Facebook group for Dutch digital nomads I recently started.

As you can see, I’ve spent almost 68 hours on freelance jobs, which is nearly twice as much as in December 2016 (38 hours). Here’s the breakdown:

  • 5.5 hours of sending proposals on Upwork
  • 9.5 hours pitching for agencies and applying for other freelance jobs
  • 53 billable hours

With 68 hours spend on freelance writing, my hourly fee is €16.26.

Not that bad for a newbie freelance writer, but I hope to increase it the next month.

Niche blogging results of January 2017

I have four websites and get so much energy from working on these (you find more details here). I hope I can monetize them soon!

Expenses

I didn’t have any expenses for my websites besides the usual monthly costs:

  • Domain name registration and hosting €17
  • Subscription KeySearch €9

Total costs: €26

I expect these to increase the next month because I want to invest a bit in my websites. Scary as hell, but as all big bloggers emphasize, you have to invest before you make any money.

Income and time spent

Huisoppas Europa

We received a few messages about an error on the website. My husband fixed it in 5 minutes, so it was nothing major. But it did gave us a little boost. We had 0 expectations of this website.

No, let me rephrase that. We know the site looks brilliant (props to my hubby!) and the idea is great, but there is a lot of competition in this niche, and we have this website very low on our priority list, so that’s why we had zero expectations. But as it seems, there are people enthusiastic about it. Not a lot, but still, we’re happy with it and intend to put more energy in it later this year.

Europe Family Camping

Is it still up and running? Let me check…

Yes, it’s still there, but it looks hideous. I really need to start working on this website. Not my priority at the moment, so it has to wait a few more months.

Samen de Wereld Ontdekken

Every Monday, I publish a new blog post. It was one of my goals to continue this, and well, I did. I didn’t do any guest posts this month, but the 4 of December did their work: my DA is now 15 (it was 13 in December).

What I’m especially happy about is the growth in referrals via organic searches. At first, most visitors came to this blog via Facebook, in December it was almost 50/50 Facebook and Google, but now Google has surpassed Facebook. Hooray!

Here are the numbers:

 December 2016 January 2017
Hours spend  42  23
Page views  2295  3505
Income €0  €10.25
Twitter followers 323  411
Pinterest followers  34  34
Facebook followers  401 413
Instagram followers unknown  243
Email list subscribers  169  169
Social media

I’m not sure what to do with all the different social media accounts. Some are working for me (like Facebook), and others are not (like Pinterest and Twitter). You also must understand that this is a Dutch blog; things that work for English blogs are not necessarily valuable for Dutch blogs. I need to make a decision about it because updating my social media accounts is time-consuming. Before the end of February, I will make a choice.

Affiliate program

The income of €10.25 is solely from the Dutch “Amazon” called Bol.com. As mentioned in my previous income report, I am using an intermediary for my affiliate links. I noticed that some leads were not registered, and other leads were not approved (and the intermediary couldn’t tell me why). I decided to use the affiliate program of Bol.com separately, and I had a few leads within a couple of days. Although the amount is not much, it is still better than 0, so my intention to leave the intermediary is by now confirmed. I’ll give this my priority in February.

Paid guest blogging?

One of my goals was to find two paying guest blog jobs. I looked into it and found a few, but it just didn’t feel right. All the things they would want me to write about, I want to publish on Samen de Wereld Ontdekken. So I decided not to apply.

Digital Nomad with Kids

In December, this website was not high on my priority list. My DA is still 13. I put some more hours in Digital Nomad with Kids in January, but 30 hours per month is by any length not enough.

 December 2016 January 2017
Hours spend  11  30
Page views  281  665
Income  €0  €0
Twitter followers  1249  1505
Pinterest followers 77 78
Facebook followers 29  37
Instagram followers +/- 30 107
Email list subscribers  2 2
Email list

My page view has doubled but is still not much, so I got a lot of work to do! I especially believe in growing an email list. I had already put that on my target list last month, but as you know by now, I haven’t finished this. So I put it back on the list to continue working on it.

I did work hard on this, though, as you can see in this overview of tips for creating a free email course.

Social media

As with Samen de Wereld Ontdekken, I have my doubts about the potential of a few social media accounts. I think Facebook isn’t the thing for this website. But before I make any radical decisions, I’ll ask around for advice.

To whom you might ask?

Small Blog Big Income Mastermind

I’ve got some exciting news! I signed up for Carol Tice’s Small Blog Big Income Mastermind group 🙂 I’m so looking forward to getting active in this group! I expect to learn a ton of useful info, and I promise I’ll give updates regularly.

Goals of February 2017

While discussing my income, I already hinted at some new targets for next months, so some won’t come as a surprise:

  • Maintain a freelance writing income of €1000 per month. I intend to put more energy in finding recurring clients that pay a regular fee, which means less Upwork, more pitching. Pitching to Dutch clients is different from pitching in the US, so I have to find a method that works for me. It could also mean my income drops in February, but I hope to compensate for it in March.
  • Write weekly blog posts for Samen de Wereld Ontdekken and Digital Nomad with Kids.
  • Get the affiliate programs for Samen de Wereld Ontdekken right (including adding a few more).
  • Build an email list for Digital Nomad with Kids, which includes creating a landing page + finish writing the email course + putting up a notification bar & subscription box.
  • Start with the Mastermind group, hooray!
  • Make a decision about my social media accounts.

 Conclusion

I am very happy with the results of my freelance writing, but my websites can use a bit more love. It’s hard to balance both (even though our baby is excellent in taking long naps!), but I hope writing these income reports and goals helps me with prioritizing and focusing my energy on the right tasks.

How are you doing these first few weeks of 2017? Happy with your results? And what are your goals for the next month?


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Comments 2

  1. Natalie February 5, 2017
    • Nanouk February 8, 2017

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