2008 Postmortem, Part 1: Excuses, Excuses

(www.inkthinkerblog.com) — I don’t know about you, but for me, 2008 was a strange year. I started out with big expectations and a crazy idea, and I ended up around the same place I finished 2007. The difference between the end of 2007 and the end of 2008 is clarity. Let me explain.


In 2007, I made about $70,000 and change from my full-time freelance career. If you’re a freelancer yourself, you don’t need me to tell you that that’s not all money in my pocket; that’s gross income. And I broke it all down in a post that tells exactly where that $70K came from (and where it went).

My goal for 2008 was to make $100K, and I started out strong in 2008 by working on my time management skills and freelance efficiency, consulting some experts, and trying to diversify my income sources. But at the end of the year, I ended up almost exactly where I was at the end of 2007. And when I say almost exactly, I mean within $500.

I would have been another $6,000 over, had it not been for an unexpected personal emergency that pushed an invoice into January instead of December, so technically I could argue that I improved, but let’s get real here: I didn’t even get close to my goal of $100K.

The thing is, even though it was $30K more than I made the previous year, it wouldn’t have actually been that much more in the scheme of things. It’s only $2,500 a month more, an extra $600 a week (with a 50-week year). That’s just 6 more billable hours every week. I could had pulled it off.

What happened? I got complacent, I got lazy, and I lost sight of my goal.

Yeah, 2008 was a tough year. It was the fifth anniversary of my brother’s death, which totally sucked. My internet access was virtually nonexistent for the entire month of January. I had a lingering illness that just would not quit over the summer and fall. We lost family members and friends to death. Our dogs began systematically destroying everything we own. My husband’s company closed and he was (still is!) out of a job. The economy tanked.

But none of those are reasons I couldn’t have met my goal. And I’m not being hard on myself here. Honest. In fact, I wish I had been harder on myself last year, when it would have made a difference. As it is, I’m bummed. No, two consecutive years of solid performance is nothing to sneeze at, especially during a recession. But I’m a girl who likes to strive to something more, to challenge myself, and in 2008, I didn’t do that. I let just enough be good enough.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to talk about what I’m hoping going to do in 2009 to reverse the trend I’ve allowed to develop, and more about how the choices I made in 2008 contributed to the end result.

I’ll tell you now, though, one thing I’m doing to make a change this year is attending White Paper Success Summit 2009, which starts on February 3. I have always wanted to learn how to write white papers, and Michael Stelzner is the best in the biz. For me, registering for the Summit was a no-brainer, especially since I got so much out of Copywriting Success Summit 2008 over the summer. If you haven’t registered yet, now’s the time.

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King


11 comments… add one
  • allena Jan 28, 2009

    70K is nothing to sneeze at! your year sounds hard! I hope this one is better. That’s a lot of suckish stuff to happen in one year.

    allena´s last blog post..FAQ: Do You Show a Subject Their Interview First?

  • Kristen King Jan 28, 2009

    @Allena, thanks for the comment and the encouragement. The thing is, there are a million reasons every day not to do something. I don’t want to become one of those people who are victims of their own lives, you know what I mean? Stuff happens and you have to deal with it.

  • Michele Jan 28, 2009

    Don’t feel bad, Kristen. I didn’t reach my goals either – and I agree with Allena: 70K is nothing to sneeze at! ;-)

    I wish you the best year ever – in all areas of your life!


  • Ruth Jan 28, 2009


    I followed the link to that song you sang so beautifully and gut-wrenchingly on the anniversary of your brother’s death.

    I was always one of those nerdy music/choir people, and my dad was a classical music aficionado. One of the songs my father heard me perform (with choir) and loved was Rachmaninoff’s “Ave Maria”.

    My father died eight, going on nine years, and I cannot hear that song without dissolving into tears and noisy sobbing.

    Sorry, I know this post wasn’t about all of this, but I had to tell you, and, if you’re anything like me, you won’t be checking the comments on a post you wrote a couple of months ago.

    Ruth´s last blog post..Another of my poem’s: Ode to Van Gogh

  • Kristen King Jan 29, 2009

    @Michele, thank you. You are always such a great source of support!

    @Ruth, you are so sweet. I do read every comment on all of my blogs, old or new posts, but I’m still glad you left it here. :) Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Michele Jan 29, 2009

    You’re most welcome, Kristen. I’m honored to be a source of support! :-)


    Michele´s last blog post..Don’t Let Your Past Keep You from Your Future

  • Cory Jan 29, 2009

    Your honesty rocks. You’re right: There’s no reason why you can’t meet — or exceed — your income goal this year, regardless of the economy. You are such a talented writer that I’d enjoy reading your copy if it were about how to unroll toilet paper. Seriously.

    I look forward to your posts breaking down where you went astray last year and how you can avoid doing that again this year; I’m sure I’ll glean some helpful info that I can apply to my own biz.

  • Kristen King Jan 29, 2009

    @Cory, if I ever start writing about how to unroll toilet paper (unless it has to do with the dogs’ latest antics, of course), please slap me. :)

    Hope you can learn from my mistakes! That’s the whole point of writing about this stuff.

  • Devon Ellington Jan 29, 2009

    Kristen, I didn’t get to hang out with you, cyberly or otherwise, as much as in previous years, but my sense was that you were so intent on the end number that you lost the joy of the journey.

    I know when I obsess on the end number rather than staying open to tangents and the kind of work I WANT to do in order to reach those numbers (rather than what seems to be the trend), my numbers fall short.

    Yes, it’s important to turn down the peon jobs for pennies and keep strong boundaries, but one reason we chose this life over cubicle life is so that we have more choices, more opportunities, and more freedom. Too often, we build ourselves back into cubicle-style prisons.

    Devon Ellington´s last blog post..Thursday, January 29, 2009

  • Kristen King Jan 30, 2009

    @Devon, I think I lost out on a lot of the joy of the journey last year, but not because of being overly focused on the end number. I’ll explain in another postmortem post. It’s not something I’ve not thought about. Wait, did that make sense? It is something I have thought about.

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