In April 2022, I finished up a one-year contract at my day job, took a few weeks out to recalibrate, and then launched into this new, exciting, nerve-wracking job called freelance writing.
It was a true leap of faith. I’ll be the first to admit there was a steep learning curve, but the more I do this freelance thing, the more I’m certain it’s the right place for me to be. Nine months later, I’ve settled into it. I have some good experience under my belt, I can pitch an article and sell my wordsmithing without a blink, and my regular clients include a historian, a website design studio, and this cool Dunedin-based money management app.
Looking over my PocketSmith dashboard, I have a number of goals there that tie neatly to my freelance goals for the new year.
With both money management and writing, I have a solid foundation. I’m self-taught in both areas. I’ve put hours into upskilling and furthering my education. It’s a strong base, but there’s always room for improvement. Whether it’s reading personal finance books in the vein of The Barefoot Investor, spending time in PocketSmith’s Learn Center, or overhauling my website portfolio to better showcase my client work, I’m looking forward to finding ways of building and growing everything I’ve started this year.
Nobody likes a steep drop, let alone an unexpected one. That stomach-in-your-mouth feeling is never a good one. PocketSmith’s forecasting gives me a good idea of what my money will be doing in the future, but they’re only as good as their inputs. I have the capacity in my work schedule for a few more regular clients. Growing my client base would stabilize the forecasts even more, as well as help to even out the dip-and-rise rollercoaster that is so common to freelance income. It would also build a bit more resilience into my systems — both freelancing and financial.
In the OCEAN psychology model of personality traits, a person can rank high or low on ‘openness to new experiences.’ I’ll be actively working on this in the new year. Personal finance and freelance writing are big worlds, and there’s so much I feel I haven’t tried yet. From exploring academic thesis editing, to playing with new PocketSmith features, to looking at making a move overseas… who knows where the future might take me?
Let’s just say it’s a good thing PocketSmith has multi-currency support, including currency conversion on account balances and filtering transactions by currency.
Freelancing and personal finance, if we don’t keep on top of them, can quickly become chaotic. It’s not just about the money, either. As our schedules fill up and our lives only get busier, it’s important to step back, take a breath, and ask ourselves “why”.
Why did we start on this path in the first place? We need the money, sure — but for me, I certainly don’t plan to trade one 50-hour desk job for another 50-hour desk job. I love my work. I also love the flexibility of setting my own hours, learning new things, taking on jobs that interest me, and challenging myself to write a better piece than last time, come up with fresh ideas, or approach things from a new angle.
When I tell people what I do for work, the reply is sometimes along the lines of, “Wow, that’s the dream! I’d love to have your job. If you hear of a position like that opening up, could you let me know?”
This response intrigues me. See, I used to say it too. But now I’m here, and I’m doing it for real, and I can tell you — the opportunity doesn’t “just come up”. These positions don’t “open up”. They’re not advertised; they’re created. They’re forged out of grit and sweat and a hundred pitches launched into the void with no guarantee of a return.
But it’s worth it. It’s so worth it. I’m now nine months into this freelancing thing, I’ve learned so much already, and I can’t wait to see where another few years will take me.
Here’s to those 2023 goals, and to whatever is next.
Rachel E. Wilson is an author and freelance writer based in New Zealand. She has been, variously, administrator at an ESOL non-profit, transcriber for a historian, and technical document controller at a french fry factory. She has a keen interest in financial literacy and design, and a growing collection of houseplants (pun intended).