Tip Sheets

Lunch and Learn 1/20/2022: How to plan goals and work income for the year

By Jeanne Erdmann, AHCJ board member and freelance committee chair

During AHCJ’s inaugural Lunch and Learn, we set out to find ways writers could keep their careers moving forward and generate a reliable income stream. With so much COVID upheaval, setting goals and planning out a steady income for the year has been a big emotional hurdle for some of us. While it might be difficult to imagine a future during a pandemic, we can still sit down and work out ways to meet our freelance goals and set up a workflow for the rest of the year that will bring a steady income. Here are some tips that came out of the discussion:

Goal-setting Tips

  • Begin working on the following year as early as December. If you use something like QuickBooks, see who paid the most and which clients were not worth the effort —for example find which publications had bad contracts — such as those with indemnity clauses. If the thought of planning for the upcoming year seems overwhelming, consider whether you may be burned out. One writer took three weeks off in December and came back refreshed.

  • Set goals by deciding what you want to accomplish for the year. Make a list of where you want to be at the end of the year by focusing on concrete objectives such as adding a certain number of new clients, firing clients with bad contracts or bad attitudes or applying for fellowships or grants. Make note of these goals somewhere. Some writers keep track of everything in paper folders and notebooks, others do so online.

  • Join LinkedIn for professionals. By signing up for the LinkedIn for Journalists group — invitations come out quarterly — you will have to sit in on a webinar— but you will also get free access to LinkedIn for professionals for one year. You can find sources, connect with other journalists and find editors looking for freelancers.

  • If you still don’t have a firm plan or haven’t thought things through, consider buddying up with an accountability partner — a colleague in the same boat.

Helpful sites and groups

Apps & programs for tracking hours