A Crazy Idea

by Kristen King on December 27, 2007

So I’ve been thinking about my strategy for next year as I review how things went this year, and I have this crazy idea. What if I decided to make $100,000 in 2008?

I know talking about money is all taboo, but I don’t care. If it makes you uncomfortable, stop reading. I made about $70,000 this year from freelancing only (including my blogging income, which so far is on the negligible side, but has increased every month), averaging around $6,000/month. Considering that 2007 was my first full calendar year of freelancing, I think that’s pretty darn good.

To bump it up to six figures next year, I need to earn more like $8,000/month, which breaks down to $2,000/week 50 weeks (yes, I’m trying to build in 2 weeks of paid vacation next year!), or $400/day 5 days a week. (See what I mean about breaking things down into attainable chunks so you know what you’re doing?)

Originally I was thinking I’d shoot for $80,000 next year, because that was my goal for 2007. And I would have made it, too, had it not been for a really terrible month right around the move this spring and a month of being desperately ill from August to September. So coming in just $10K below my goal and setting the same goal again just doesn’t seem like enough of a challenge.

I would have to work harder, and smarter, to make it. I would have to be more productive, more efficient, and more consistent. In other words, I would have to do all this stuff.

It’s a tall order, but I think I’m ready. I think. Maybe.

What do you think?

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Sonja Cassella December 27, 2007 at 9:15 pm

Hi Kristen.

Can you make $100,000? Others have, and I guess only you can answer whether you’re ready to become one of them, based on what you know about your work history and current relationships, billings, and opportunities.

I guess I would look at a chart of income over the 12 months, see what the running direction of the chart is, ask myself what I was willing to sacrifice to make the goal — and then if it looked like it would work, go for it!

I’m raising my much-smaller earnings goal 45% higher this year. How did I arrive at this? I don’t know. I just had a gut feeling.

Maybe you do too? Then go for it!

Sonja

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Deb December 27, 2007 at 10:17 pm

Maybe you’d like to buy the rest of us a cup of coffee.

Happy New Year!

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admin December 27, 2007 at 11:30 pm

Sonja, I like your logical approach to setting goals. I think a combination of trends, opportunities, personal commitment, and “gut feeling” sounds just about right. ;)

Deb, I would like to, but unfortunately I’m averaging $300 a month in pet food and care and am about to drop a grand on a behavioral trainer for my out-of-control mastiff puppy (and his two siblings, who are following in his crazy footsteps) who doesn’t want to listen, so right now I’m kind of strapped. Plus having to buy Jesse a new computer after I blew the other one up, plus paying for grad school with no loans, plus having to buy myself a new computer after my laptop died, plus trying to save up enough money to get a moving truck and a driver to get out to CO, plus… Need I go on? :) At the rate we’re going, I’m going to HAVE to make six figures next year!

kk

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Jeff December 28, 2007 at 12:31 am

Wow! $100,000 a year? Most people don’t make that in stable salary jobs — even with advanced degrees. I say go for it! That would be amazing and inspiring to those of us who haven’t made the leap to leave our jobs and become full time writers yet.

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The Word Wrangler December 28, 2007 at 9:45 am

I’m constantly amazed and perplexed at how one can make that much money as a freelance writer. I guess some people have it in them and some people don’t.

Here’s wishing you the best of luck in reaching your goals for ’08!

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admin December 28, 2007 at 10:25 am

@WW – I disagree. I think everyone has it in them. Some people do something about it and others don’t, but everyone is capable. If I fail to meet my mark next year, it’s not because I “don’t have it in me.” It will be because I didn’t stick with it.

Thanks for the kind wishes.

kk

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Susan J. December 28, 2007 at 2:08 pm

That is ambitious, but if anyone can do it, it’s you, Kristen!

Since you’re so open with your financials, I’m curious where the bulk of that income comes from. If not from blogging, then from speaking? Or print work? Or consulting?

I think we all know that it’s tough to get rich relaying on blogging or consumer pubs, after all.

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Chryselle December 28, 2007 at 3:35 pm

Go for it, KK!

I’ve raised the stakes 100% for my freelance income for 2008. I have a ‘day’ job, so this is a first step towards moving away from it.

I made more this year than I expected, despite a case of severe laziness – and thanks to your Query Challenge, approached SO many new markets that I feel like I’m on a roll!

If *I* feel this enthusiastic about my freelancing career, I can only imagine YOUR confidence.

So, once again, go for it!

(And to second Susan’s comment : tell us your secrets!) :)

Have a Healthy, Wealthy and Happy 2008!
Chryselle

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Chryselle December 28, 2007 at 3:37 pm

PS: Any specific (hidden) reason why you linked to ‘A Woman’s Little Black Book of Romantically Crazy Ideas’?

I didn’t *get* the connection. :(

Chryselle

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Susan J. December 28, 2007 at 9:15 pm

Yikes, pardon my typo. I meant relying. But do tell!!

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Marjorie December 29, 2007 at 2:16 pm

Kristen,

Thanks for sharing! I really do appreciate when people talk about their financials openly. As one personal finance writer has pointed out, she knows more about her friends’ sex lives, health issues, family issues, and purse contents than their income or money problems. It may be one of the reasons why women have such a difficult time with money — we’ve been taught to see it as something “other” people (usually men) handle.

Anyway, I love that you’ve broken down your goals for us. I made lots more money doing freelancing last year than I did the previous five years combined. but I honestly couldn’t tell you exactly how much I made. All I know is that it’s in the mid-four figures. Not much, but in previous years I was lucky to hit $1,000.

Your post has really galvanized me to organize my professional life more so that I can pursue a higher income goal than I’ve been used to in the past. I think the key is organization as well as motivation — the more organized I am, the more efficiently I can work and pursue the really lucrative jobs.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Cheers,
Marjorie

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Dave Gardner December 29, 2007 at 2:50 pm

A worthy goal! An attainable goal! I reached that level about 7 years ago… it’s been a long hard journey (took me 25 years to get there). If you’ve read any of Peter Bowerman’s books (The Well-Fed Writer, and The Well-Fed Writer:Back for Seconds) or Bob Bly’s books (Secrets of a Freelance Writer, Copywriter’s Handbook, Selling Your Services, Elements of Technical Writing), you can see that making a living with writing doesn’t have to condemn you to poverty. I read Bly’s books more than 20 years ago… and decided to switch to writing after getting a degree in biology/chemistry and being a public school teacher. I’m glad I made the move (but I still love to teach biology!) Best regards–
Dave (aka “EditorDave”)
http://www.squidoo.com/workingwords

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Hope Wilbanks December 29, 2007 at 10:34 pm

I totally believe you can do it! :)

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Jenn Hollowell December 30, 2007 at 1:00 pm

This sounds like a great goal!!! :) I’ve always been too scared to set goals with financials involved, but I think I need to break that rule. I haven’t come close to what you’ve earned, but I also don’t edit or do copywriting, either. LOL So, that’ll set me a little behind you if I’m not beefing up in other areas. :) What kind of goals do you set to achieve this numerical one?

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IrreverentFreelancer December 31, 2007 at 4:31 pm

Kudos to you, Kristen. If earning more money were at the top of my resolutions for the New Year, I’d be happy to aim for your *current* income. I, however, am actually striving to make work less of a priority in 2008 and anticipate my income will actually drop a bit. I will, however, be cheering you on in your $100,000 quest.

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Lori January 2, 2008 at 11:01 am

I think if anyone can do it, you can. It’s possible, for I knew a guy who made that in numerous years (prior to the 9/11 disaster). He didn’t have to work at it. In fact, he didn’t, and he lost all his business after 9/11 and ended up working at a health care company hating every minute of it. But that’s another story. He didn’t put the work into it.

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Sara January 5, 2008 at 7:30 pm

Kristen, your goal sounds ambitious, but doable, considering how well you did in your first year freelancing, but I’m curious how much you work, especially since I saw that working regular hours was one of your goals for 2008.

I tend to work irregular hours, seeing flexibility (and those thre-hour lunches) as a perk of being a freelancer. That doesn’t mean I don’t take my work seriously. For the past few years, I have set finanical goals. Most years I’ve come in range of my goal; in 2006, I far exceeded my goal. I’m still closing 2007 and setting goals for 2008.

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Allena January 7, 2008 at 10:44 am

THis post makes me want to work full time….but Noooooo!….I got into this business so I wouldn’t have to work full time…argh, you are killing me:}

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admin January 7, 2008 at 10:53 am

Thanks for all of your support, folks! I think we can ALL reach our goals if we just get out of our own way, you know? I didn’t get notification about many of these comments, so apologies for not responding sooner. Here goes:

@Allena – It’s all part of my evil plan. Muah-ha-ha-ha… ;)

@Sara – I’ll discuss hours in a future post.

@Lori – It’s all about committing to success!

@Kathy – Good for you! Life is about living, not about working.

@Jenn – More on goals in a future post.

@Dave – Good for you. Let me know if you want to share your wisdom in a guest post sometime.

@Marjorie – Go to it!

@Chryselle – It’s an Amazon widget that just links relevant stuff to the Amazon stock. Always a fun surprise to see what it picks!

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Cedii August 23, 2008 at 5:57 pm

So how’s your plan going so far?

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