As 2019 wraps up, I needed to say thank you for 4 awesome years of freelancing and reflect on what has gotten me this far. This year was my best year of business (I know I don’t have much to compare to, but it feels like a real business now!), and all of the years have finally grown to this point. Let’s walk through it.
Unlike most people, I knew what copywriting was long before I thought of leaving the corporate world. I tried to apply for copy positions where I worked, but unfortunately they wouldn’t move me to the position.
Interestingly enough, they said I needed to fit the job requirements exactly. For a primarily female company, I found this super annoying. Part of the “problem” in the modern workplace is that men have no problem applying for jobs they aren’t fully qualified for, while women wait until they check all the boxes. This female-owned, female-run company was perpetuating that concept.
So I left at the end of 2015 and started with SEO and marketing at Cafe Pierrot part-time, and attempted to grow my blog Mostly Sewing with the rest of my time.
I sewed A LOT that year, had a great time blogging, and rediscovered some favorite hobbies. I attempted to open an etsy shop to sell quilts ha, taught music lessons, and worked as a hyperlocal journalist while learning more about copywriting overall.
2015 had not been a great year for my mental health, so I spent 2016 (and beyond) recovering and “finding myself.”
I made almost no money this year and spent a lot of money on craft supplies. Something needed to change!
During 2017 I cut back on the craft supplies because my house was overflowing, and my budget was not so conducive to the spending. Also, I was making stuff I didn’t love just so I could have something to blog about.
I don’t know how people blog full time. It’s a ton of work, and you spend SO MUCH MONEY before you start making any. Don’t ever think it’s easy — even influencers have to buy stuff before people start giving it to them for free.
So I started focusing on my business more and slowed down on the sewing. Eric and I traveled a lot, and I took on a few new clients. Honestly, I was still struggling with depression this year, and it made growing my business very difficult. I worked on developing a routine to get back in control of myself, I ran a lot, and I got a puppy. Therapy dogs are very effective ? So thankful for my feisty bestie.
Back to Business
Overall, 2017 was only slightly better for my business. I did have new clients, but I wasn’t making much at all. The year was such a struggle for my mental health, but I found some great resources and managed to overcome it, then went into 2018 a little stronger.
This year, I decided to get serious about growing my business. Everything before was difficult. I was making invoices on my husband’s computer through Quicken, so I was always behind in sending them out. I didn’t have a way to receive online credit card payments, and felt very unprofessional.
I discovered Wave, which was a free accounting software, and started tracking things officially. I did a few more things networking-wise, and just became more confident in general.
This was the year that two kind clients asked me to revise my proposals, because I wasn’t charging enough (some people also told me I was on the high end, but they were wrong).
In August 2018, I started working part time for the youth orchestra I grew up in. That boosted my income significantly, and kept me SUPER busy.
By the end of 2018, I felt like a real business owner, I was over imposter syndrome (because I wasn’t an imposter! I had seen the results of my work!), and I was ready to hit big goals in 2019.
This year, I finally matched my income from my previous corporate job (without commuting 4 hrs each day). While I’m not a 6-figure copywriter (yet), just making the same amount of money means I’ve stopped looking at job boards. I’m living the life I imagined four years ago.
And I’m so grateful.
Yes, I’m tired sometimes, but most of the time I’m so excited I get to write for a living — and a good living. I literally sit at my computer and praise God this is my actual job.
When you’re an English major, most people assume you’ll be a teacher or a lawyer. When you respond with, “No, I’m going to be a writer,” they get very concerned. Do people not realize they still read things everyday? Anyway. I always assured them I would be fine. And here I am. No, I don’t make as much as an accountant (again, YET), but everything is good.
Whenever I face writer’s block or a huge project I can’t imagine completing, I stop and say thank you again.
Gratitude practices have definitely improved my outlook, as well. If you’re feeling depressed, listen to this podcast episode and start being grateful.
I still have available hours in my week/month, so I have plenty of room for growth in 2020. Maybe one day I’ll transition to teaching or coaching, but for now I’m happy actually doing the work.
This may surprise you, but I’m not a big business planner. I have vague plans for each quarter, but things always change. For me personally, I can’t look too far ahead without getting overwhelmed or disappointed in myself. My primary goal each year is making myself and my skills the best they can be, and I know my business will grow in that pursuit.
I’ll do another blog post with my actual goals for the year, but that’s the how I approach everything I do… and it’s been working so far.
Thanks for following along with my business journey… and the best is yet to come! Looking forward to a fun 2020!