Still chasing the elusive $10,000 a month, but I planned my work around my life, not the other way round.
You might have heard freelancers saying, “I want to make $$$$$ a month by the end of the year.” This article is about why you should NOT do that.
I know how counter-intuitive this sounds, but hear me out.
I started my journey as a full-time self-employed writer in September 2021. But I’ve been freelancing since December 2020. Since then, my writing has reached millions of readers worldwide and earned me thousands of dollars.
But I would have reached much greater heights today if I hadn’t been blinded by making money-centered goals at the start of my career.
In this post, I want to dissect the mistakes I made and share the lessons so you don’t get caught in the same trap. If you’re looking to build a career as a writer, read on for some valuable insights.
The Failure That 2021 Was
When freelancers start their journey, they always aim to make big money. I followed the same path. In 2021, my goal was to make $10,000 US a month by the end of the year.
There’s no reason why I chose the number $10,000. I’m from India, and less than a third of the amount is enough to live a lavish lifestyle here.
I suppose I chose it because it seemed within my reach, especially at the start of the year. I knew all I had to do was get more clients, outsource more efficiently, and I would reach that magic figure in no time!
If only life was as simple as calculations. It’s January 2022 now, and guess how much I made by the end of the year?
I made about $5,000 US in December, which is half of what I aimed for (and almost equal to how much I started with at the beginning of the year).
Does that mean I’m a failure because I couldn’t reach my goals?
Sure, I didn’t reach that magical number I thought I would, but I did some meaningful work and managed to live a well-balanced, spiritually-guided life.
The real success here is not increasing or scaling up my income every month.
The real success is maintaining a steady income stream for all months of the year that leaves me with enough time and energy to enjoy the little pleasures of life.
The real success is maintaining my lifestyle without overworking myself or burning out.
Scalable vs Passive Income
If the $10,000 number was so appealing to me, I could have gotten more clients and hired a few other subcontractors who would write on my behalf. But I didn’t do this because it requires a lot of work. It would be lucrative, no doubt, but would also demand incessant pitching, sticking to deadlines, and writing about topics I had no prior knowledge of.
I enjoy researching for a post. Completing articles gives me immense satisfaction. But when I asked myself if this is something I want to do for the next five years, the answer was no.
I love the freedom, flexibility, and fun that freelancing brings. But the legacy that I want to leave behind is not a stream of articles for somebody else’s website. The legacy I want to leave behind is an empire I built on my own.
And to do so, to really create something that never existed before, I need to have sufficient time and my mental health needs to be taken care of. That’s the reason I stopped chasing after clients in the latter half of 2021.
Instead, I devoted my time to creating products that would keep reaping rewards years down the line with little or no effort, aka, scalable income.
I don’t call it passive income because I don’t think I’m at that point in my career where I can get money without doing anything. Every income stream that I have needs some kind of active effort from me. Even if it’s an ebook or a course, I need to promote it, which always requires some amount of work.
The real success is maintaining my lifestyle without overworking or burning out.
My 2022 Goals Aren’t Centered Around Money
In 2022, I’m not going to make any income-related goals.
An older me would have been surprised. “How can someone be so uninspired or demotivated?” she would have thought.
In truth, I’m not demotivated. I’m just at a pivotal moment in my career. If I take the right steps now, I know I can create something truly remarkable.
If I just keep chasing after clients and looking for new projects, I would be another brick in the wall — one more writer in the sea of nameless freelancers who write the website copy and advertisements that you see on the internet.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that — it’s just a dream I’ve now outgrown. The 2020 version of Anangsha would have loved to be a freelancer who makes $10,000 per month.
But right now, my goal isn’t money.
My goal is doing something that I love to do something that’s truly mine and nobody else’s. And I want to be happy doing it.
2022 is going to be my year of massive effort where I put in work in building some things, but I can be proud of.
I don’t know what this year will bring for me, but I know what I’m going to do to make a better future happen. 2022 is going to be my year of massive effort where I put in work to build products I can be proud of.
I wouldn’t be counting how much money I made or how much time I spent working like I used to do in 2021.
This year, I’ll be counting how happy and fulfilled each project made me feel. I’ll analyze how sustainable the projects are in the long term.
If you are a freelancer or a self-employed solopreneur, I’d love to know your thoughts on this. How do you measure success in your field of work? Do you think money is the sole indicator of how well a person is doing, or do you think there are other factors involved? If yes, how do you measure them? Let me know in the comments.
On social media, people congratulate me all the time on how amazing I’m doing, but in my heart, I know I’m only just getting started.
There’s so much more to achieve and explore on this journey. I can’t wait to see how this year unfolds, but for now, I’m going to work.
I’m going to build my empire, brick by brick.
And I’m going to keep believing that the universe has something amazing in store for me in the future.