I tried to make £15,000 in 90 days as a freelance writer

At the beginning of the year, I set myself a goal of making £15,000 (about $20,000) in 90 days just from freelance writing.

It was the start of the new year and I was thinking about work-related resolutions. I came across a blog post that recommended setting one specific professional target in 90-day chunks rather than a lofty vision for the year.

I landed on £15,000 in 90 days. It felt difficult enough that I would have to work hard to achieve it, but not totally bonkers. The figure was big enough that even if I missed it, the money in the bank would likely be decent. And 90 days felt long enough for me to make a good run at it, but not so long that I would lose steam. I was also really curious to see just how much effort it would take to get there, as I was very clear that the income had to only come from writing.

Anyway, now you want to know if I managed to do it. Nearly! I made about £12,500 in 90 days. It’s short of the target but I’m proud of it because it’s still a solid achievement.

To give you a sense of how that figure breaks down, about half of it came from a regular news writing gig I have with a legacy publication, as well as a couple of features I pitched them. Roughly 30% came from “corporate writing”, which included a package of editorial content I sold to a higher education institute, as well as features for sponsored supplements and blogs. Then the remaining 20% came from reported features for media outlets.

I’m not going to pretend it was a breeze, it really wasn’t. It involved aggressive pitching, doing a lot more corporate writing than magazine-style features, and very long hours. In a previous newsletter I’ve written about being overwhelmed with work and waking up a 6.00am to squeeze everything in, well that was during this experiment.

It was very worth it, though. Not least because I feel more solvent now. When I first started freelancing, I suspected the best way to make a good living would be through a mix of passion projects and high-paying corporate writing. But my instinct had been to balance those gigs each month. When I set the money goal, I had to focus my efforts on the higher-paying gigs and have now in effect front-loaded my finances. So come the warmer months when the work is likely to slow down I’m ready for it, or if I want to take some time to develop new projects, I can.

The biggest lesson from the experiment, however, was simply realising it was doable. I now know that it’s possible to make a good living just from writing in a relatively short amount of time. It feels great to have been able to confirm that early on in my freelancing career in case there comes a point further down the line when I need reminding of it.