Sharing the real numbers behind my freelance business is one of the most popular things I do. (Here are my final revenue numbers from 2022 in case you missed them.)
And I’m a little nervous to tell you what I’m aiming for this year…
Because they are my most ambitious goals yet.
See, last year, I got married and also moved to a new house.
So I wound up taking time away from my business (on purpose) to pay more attention to my personal life.
But now I’m ready to shift my focus back to my business in 2023.
And I’m Hoping To Hit Some Major Milestones Before The End Of December…
One of them will likely even happen in the next few months.
Because I’m roughly 2-3 months away from reaching a million dollars in freelance income over my entire career.
Take a look…
So unless I somehow have a catastrophic drop in my business, it shouldn’t take me more than 3 months to bring in the $30,000 I need to cross the seven-figure mark with my lifetime earnings.
On top of that, by the end of 2023, I hope that I will be able to make a quarter-million dollars a year for the first time ever…
But I’m Actually Not Going To Make That My “Official” Revenue Goal
Because a lot of things would need to go right for me to get there.
And I don’t want to be quite that aggressive with my goals…
See, I find that if I fall too far behind on my goals, it actually lowers my motivation.
Since if my goals get too far out of reach, I start to feel like there’s no point even trying.
On the other hand, if I can stay within striking distance of my goals, it motivates me to push harder.
Because in that case, I still feel like I can catch up if I put in a little extra effort.
So I’ve set my “official” income goal at $240,000 instead. And $250,000 is my “stretch” goal.
Plus I Also Want To Work No More Than 1,200 Hours To Reach That Goal
Since that’s the same amount of time I spent working in 2021, when I had my biggest year ever at $211,000 in revenue. (See below.)
So another way to look at my goals for this year is that I want to match the hours I worked in 2021, while earning at least $30,000 more. (And ideally $40,000 more.)
That’s a 14%-19% increase in revenue compared to my best year ever.
And It Means I Will Need My Effective Hourly Rate To Be At Least $200
Which is actually a slight decrease from last year, when I brought in about $207 for every hour I spent working.
That’s okay with me though. Since I may wind up having to be a little less “efficient” with my time this year in order to hit the revenue growth I want.
So how am I doing with my goals now that we’ve finished the first quarter of 2023? Take a look…
Update After Q1 of 2023
Revenue Projection After Q1
Right now, I’m projecting my revenue for 2023 to be $251,036. (But as you’re about to see, that’s an optimistic projection…)
Because to hit this projection, I need to maintain my current monthly client retainers and freelance coaching revenue for the entire year.
Then I need to book — and complete — three full sales letters for clients in the next nine months.
(Plus I also have time carved out to work on a sales letter for a project I’m launching myself.)
So that’s four sales letters in nine months. Which will be a stretch to fit in on top of my ongoing responsibilities.
Not only that, but I also need to boost my rates for two of those sales letters a little. Or to make more from royalties and performance bonuses than I’m projecting right now.
Which is why this is an optimistic — but not impossible — projection.
And hopefully, I can rise to the challenge.
But the good news is, as you’re about to see, I also have some extra time I can dedicate towards reaching my revenue goal…
Work Hours Projection After Q1
As of now, I’m projecting to work 1,177.5 hours this year. And that means I’ve got about 20 extra hours “in the bank” that I can use the rest of this year as needed.
Also, because both my revenue and work hours projections are on track, it means my effective hourly rate projection is in good shape for now, too…
Effective Hourly Rate Projection After Q1
Plus even better, if you look at my actual effective hourly rate — circled in red below — you’ll see I’m right at my goal of $200 per hour.
Which means as long as I can continue to bring in enough business to sustain this rate for the rest of the year, I will reach my goals by the end of December.
Now will that actually happen?
We’ll just have to wait and see.
But now that we’ve reached the end of Q2, things aren’t looking as good…
Update After Q2 of 2023
Revenue Projection After Q2
My projected income for the year has taken a hit.
And it actually may get worse instead of better.
First, remember that:
- I was planning to write four sales letters in 2023 at the start of the year. (Although one of them was for a side-project, which will come up in a moment.)
- I would also need to either increase my rates for a few of these sales letters. Or make more from performance bonuses and royalties than I expected to cover the difference.
Because now it looks like I will only be able to finish at best two sales letters.
That’s a big drop in my most profitable type of project. And it means my projected income took a hit.
But it also could have been much worse…
First, one of the two sales letters that I had to cut from my schedule was for the side project I mentioned. And I wasn’t expecting it to generate income for me this year anyway. So cutting it didn’t have any impact on my revenue projections.
That means I really only lost the projected income from one of the four sales letters I was expecting to finish this year.
On top of that, my royalties and performance bonuses have far exceeded my projections so far. Which has also helped make up for the projected income from the sales letter that I had to cut.
And when you put it all together, it means I’m now projecting a little over $245,000 for the year.
Q1 Revenue Projection
Q2 Revenue Projection
That’s a decrease of more than $6,000 from what I was projecting at the end of Q1, though.
And it means now I’m a little short of my “stretch goal” of a quarter-million.
But I’m still on track to hit my primary goal of at least $240,000.
For now, at least…
But I’m also worried my revenue projection will continue to drop over the rest of the year.
See, now I’m counting on my royalties and performance bonuses to contribute even more to my income in Q3 and Q4. Since that’s what they did during the first half of the year.
There’s no guarantee that happens, though.
So if my royalties and bonuses take a nosedive, they will bring my projected income along for the ride.
And that could put me at a real risk of missing even my baseline goal for the year.
At the same time, it’s not all bad news after Q2…
First, I Officially Crossed $1,000,000 In Lifetime Freelance Income!
This was a pretty cool moment…
Plus on another positive note, the other two metrics I use to measure the health of my business are still looking strong after Q2.
Work Hours Projection After Q2
For example, I’m only expecting to work 1,139 hours by the end of the year.
That’s well under the maximum of 1,200 hours that I was willing to put in.
And it means I have a lot of wiggle room to put in some extra time to hit my financial goals if necessary.
Q1 Work Hours Projection
Q2 Work Hours Projection
Plus if this number holds, it means I will only work an average of 22 hours per week this year.
Now I don’t know about you…
But making nearly a quarter million dollars a year while working roughly 4 hours a day sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.
That’s only possible because I’m able to earn a healthy effective hourly rate for my time, though.
Which brings me to the last number that I track to manage my business…
Effective Hourly Rate Projection After Q2
I’m on pace to finish the year with an effective hourly rate of $215. Which means I’ll make $215 for every hour I spend working. (Not just client work. But also doing my taxes, keeping my books, going to live events, and everything else it takes to keep things running smoothly.)
Q1 Effective Hourly Rate Projection
Q2 Effective Hourly Rate Projection
That’s $15 more than my target for the year of $200 per hour. Which once again means I’ve got some wiggle room for this to come down while still reaching my goals for the year.
And with that, you’ve seen where I stand halfway through the year for all of 3 of the key numbers I use to run my freelance business.
Will things get better from here? Or will they continue trending in the wrong direction?
Keep reading to find out.
Update After Q3 of 2023
Revenue Projection After Q3
At the end of Q3, I’m projecting my revenue to be a little over $246,000. Which would obviously exceed my goal of $240,000 for the year…
Q2 Revenue Projection
Q3 Revenue Projection
The problem is I’m also counting on 3 uncertain opportunities in my projection right now. A large performance bonus … better-than-average royalties … and closing a pending new project in mid-December.
But if all 3 of those uncertain opportunities fall through, my revenue for the year will probably end up closer to $230,000.
Which means I will fall short of my goal.
So that’s the bad news.
But the good news is that $230,000 also looks like my worst-case scenario right now.
Since I’m already at nearly $181,000 for the year. And based on my current signed projects, retainer clients, and other recurring monthly income, I have close to $50,000 in more-or-less “certain” income coming my way. (Unless I lose one of my retainers or something else unexpected.)
Which means even in my worst-case scenario for this year, I will still beat my best financial year ever by close to $20,000. Since my previous record is around $212,000.
So I’m really happy about that.
Especially since I’m also on track to work a lot fewer hours this year compared to the year when I set my previous revenue record.
Work Hours Projection After Q3
It took me 1,200 hours of work to set my previous revenue record.
But this year, I’m on track to work just 1,124 hours.
Q2 Work Hours Projection
Q3 Work Hours Projection
And if that projection holds up, it means I will work 76 fewer hours this year compared to the year when I set my previous revenue record.
To put that in perspective, working 76 fewer hours is like taking nearly an extra 2 full weeks of vacation with an 8-hour workday…
Or if you work roughly 4 hours a day like I do, saving 76 hours is practically like taking an extra month off.
Which means this year, I will make the most money I’ve ever made (by far)…
And I will do it all while effectively taking an extra month of vacation. (On top of my already relaxed schedule.)
So that doesn’t suck.
And it’s all possible because I’ve been able to optimize my business to make more money for every hour I spend working.
You can see that reflected in my effective hourly rate for the year…
Effective Hourly Rate Projection After Q3
Right now, I’m projecting my effective hourly rate to be roughly $219.
Q2 Effective Hourly Rate Projection
Q3 Effective Hourly Rate Projection
Which means for each and every hour I spend working, I’m pulling in an extra 43 bucks compared to the year when I set my previous revenue record. Which may not seem like a lot at first…
But when you multiply $43 by the thousand–plus hours that I will work this year, it adds up fast.
So overall it looks like should easily reach my work hours and effective hourly rate goal for the year.
The big question is whether I will also be able to bring in enough business to hit my revenue goal…
Or if I will wind up falling short for the first time since I started sharing my numbers with you.
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