As a freelancer, my earnings are far from predictable. 2012 marked my second full year doing freelance work (I also earned money through freelancing for a few months in 2010). I entered the year with some lofty goals. But did I see them through?

My Monthly Goals

When 2012 began, I set a goal for myself: to have net earnings of $1200 or more each month of the year. If I did so, I’d be able to gross $14,400 for the full year, giving my family and I a nice cushion in addition to my husband’s salary as a law enforcement officer.
In early 2012, I became a staff writer for several personal finance websites, giving me more “routine” earnings than I’d ever experienced in freelance work. But this income alone wasn’t going to be enough for my family to feel secure, so I kept my eyes and ears open for any additional work opportunities.

My Monthly Totals

Here’s what I made each month of 2012. Note that these are my net earnings from multiple contractors; they do not take into account any payroll or income taxes.

  • January – $4974
  • February – $1528
  • March – $2036.25
  • April – $1800
  • May – $3454.25
  • June – $2849
  • July – $1498
  • August – $1338
  • September – $1178
  • October – $4780
  • November – $4438
  • December – $5581

The Grand Total

In all, I made $35,454.50 in 2012. I estimate that I worked, on average, about 25 hours a week with all my freelance work; some weeks, of course, I worked far more, while other weeks, I worked far less. That means I was earning, on average, about $27 an hour for all my projects combined.
As you can see, my trajectory at the end of the year was in a good direction. I recorded three of my biggest four months in the last quarter of 2012; I anticipate that I’ll see net earnings more in line with those months as we go into 2013.

What’s Next?

Obviously, I blew my goal of earning $1200 a month in 2012 out of the water. I only had one month (September) where I earned less than that, and most months I earned several hundred – if not thousand – dollars more.
This year, my goal is to earn – on average – $2500 a month. This is actually less than what I averaged per month in 2012 (my monthly average last year was closer to $2950), but if I hit this target, it’ll still give my family more than enough extra income to boost our savings, investments, and, maybe most importantly, have a little fun.

What are your earning goals for 2013? How have they changed compared to last year?

Libby Balke
Libby Balke