2013 is over, and what a journey it has been!
Since I've been doing more evaluating of myself and my freelance business I thought I'd take the obvious opportunity to review all of the important accomplishments and revenue streams I've experimented with over the year.
2013 was quite pivotal for me: It was the year I produced my first physical products like the Stay True shirt. It was the year I met many of my new followers (the people that read my blog, subscribed to Your Freelance Career, and interact with me on social media). I created a lot of content and even wrote my first ebook, Kickstarting The Next Big Step In My Freelance Career. It was also the year I got engaged to my amazing fiancé!
For my freelance business, 2013 was the year I really started to bring my ideas to life, and launch new products. I always watched and envied the work of others in the past, but I actually took action this time around.
I can honestly say that over the year I've learned more by just doing than I ever did in the two years I attended college. By making the time to work on my own projects, I'm getting closer to my end freelance goal: to not have to solely rely on client work to make ends meet.
I haven't been posting my monthly income reports for a few months now, and that's due to the change of focus I've been implementing around my site lately. I'm refocusing my content here around general business updates and client related posts.
My freelance writing is being transitioned to a whole new site I'm working on called Your Freelance Career.
Aside from blogging here, I've experimented with many other opportunities of generating additional income, and I'd like to give my thoughts on what's working, and what's not.
Freelance services: this is where I earn the bulk of my income. Majority of my new and best clients from 2013 came from my "Pro" Dribbble account, blog, and Twitter.
There's no secret to how I've generated these leads. I'm just putting myself out there on these sites and producing content on a semi-regular basis. After some time, the sites just start to work for you.
This year has been some serious growth in my freelance business: my processes have improved, my communication skills and workflow are more efficient, and I'm getting a better understanding of where I'd like to be in the future with my freelancing.
Blogging: everything changed for me once my writing efforts started to take off. I began the year sharing my entire experience with producing my own products, then I began to guest post on Graphic Design Blender on a weekly basis.
The actual revenue from blogging was pretty small (paid guest posts and BuySellAds), but the amount of exposure and knowledge learned along the way has ultimately resulted to where I am today in my career. Without putting myself out there and connecting with an audience, I'd still be an unknown designer in this massive market. I've met some of the greatest people through my newsletters, and I can't wait to connect with many more in this new year!
Affiliate marketing: The revenue earned here was pretty small, but I can see the potential of it once I continue to grow in my writing. I only shared three products over the year, and those were product I purchased and used myself.
I don't do any mass affiliate marketing or share affiliate links for the heck of it. If I'm going to talk about a product naturally and they happen to have an affiliate program, then I'll use it. I've yet to accept any opportunities where a company pays for me to write about their products, because I will only write about products or services I truly believe would be beneficial for others and something I could see myself personally using.
I'm going to continue to use affiliate marketing whenever possible, but don't see it being a huge money maker for me at this time.
Shirts and prints: the experience behind producing the Stay True shirt and the other physical products on my shop was more than worth the money earned. The amount of products I have to offer don't earn me much income (only get a few sales per month), but the process of shipping orders and actually having products to sell is very pleasing to me.
The experience earned here has opened so many doors, and I'm now way more educated in bringing my own ideas to life. I'm definitely going to continue to create more physical products, but it'll have to be more of a side project for now than a real money maker.
eBook: writing my first ebook, "Kickstarting The Next Big Step In My Freelance Career" was sort of a spur of the moment project, and the end result was a pleasant surprise!
I compiled my experience with building my Stay True Project into a free (pay what you want) ebook that I put up using Gumroad, and generously there were a handful of people that actually purchased it!
The revenue was next to nothing, but by starting with a small project like this, it's really giving me the experience to better prepare for much larger ones.
Digital goods: I've been selling a few digital products on Graphic River over the years, but I signed-up for Creative Market in April, and it's unique platform has really helped boost revenue in this stream of income.
I only uploaded two small priced products to my Creative Market shop (which I also sell here on my site), and I've earned more than I had expected. I'm definitely going to plan on producing more digital products this year, because I can easily repackage assets I create or just set aside a few hours to produce something completely new to put up for sale.
With the help of Gumroad and Creative Market, selling digital products is so easy to set up that it costs nothing but some spare time to create and start earning digital product sales.
Although I haven't publicly been posting my income reports, I still track and manage my earnings and expenses very meticulously to see what's working and what's not working for my freelance business. I'm thinking about posting my monthly freelance earnings again, except this time, I'll keep them off of my blog's main feed and put the links on my income reports page. If this is something you'd be interested in me continuing, let me know in the comments below!
What I'd like to accomplish in 2014
My biggest aspiration this year is to help others in their goals to start a freelance career.
I know what it's like to start from nothing, and wish to make a living by doing what you love. To do this I'll be sharing the techniques I used to get started in my freelance career, and what I plan to do this year to grow my business.
If you're interested in learning more about freelancing, and would like to introduce yourself on a personal level, sign up for the Your Freelance Career newsletter here and reply to your welcome email.
I want to thank you and everyone else that have read this far. Thank you for the support this past year. I'm looking forward to sharing my journey with you and I'm excited for what this year has in store!