Monday, August 13, 2007

Freelancing pays (a little)

My first wedding anniversary is coming up in a few weeks. This morning it occurred to me that this means I'm celebrating another anniversary. Exactly one year ago I quit my full time job and struck out on my own as a freelancer. (Yes, I quit my job just a few weeks before the wedding. And Farrah married me anyway. Go figure).

At the time I'd just accepted a position writing for PVR Wire. The pay was low, and I was told that I couldn't write more than 50 post a month, so I really didn't expect to make more than a few hundred dollars a month blogging. Primarily I hoped to be able to scrape together enough radio work to make a living. Blogging was just going to be something I did on the side. Now it turns out that my work for Download Squad and TV Squad makes up about half of my revenue.

I checked my records this morning, and in the past 12 months, I've made pretty much exactly the same amount of money I would have made at my old job. Actually, I made a little bit more than my old salary, but when you account for the fact that I used to do a little bit of freelance work for NPR on the side, the numbers pretty much even out. When you take self-employment tax into account, I might be making a little less.

It's not entirely clear whether I'm living proof that freelancing can pay a living wage, or if I was just underpaid at my old job. Odds are both are true. My annual revenue doesn't take into account the fact that I made just $160 in my first month as a freelancer. It takes a while to pitch stories, have them accepted, report them, and then wait for paychecks to come in. And of course, there are business expenses. I've written before about building a home studio on the cheap. But cheap is a relative term. I've still spent hundreds of dollars to build my home studio, buy a new computer, and other various odds and ends.

Anyway, I expect that my fiscal 2007 revenue will be much higher than my 12 month report. But I'm glad I did my little budget check this morning.

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