by Niall Doherty

Now entering the home stretch, here’s an update on my goal to win $5,000 of new business in November.

As of this writing, three-quarters of the way through the month, my income from all “new” business is at $1,650, and I have another $355 due from unfinished projects.

So that puts me at the $2,005 mark.

Last week I reported that I’d reached $1,775, so I really didn’t do very well since then, securing just an additional $230 in new business. That’s a pretty bad week no matter how you slice it, and I’m still a long way off the $5k mark :-/

Shaking things up

My primary strategy up until recently was to reach out to friends and acquaintances and let them know a) what kind of work I do, and b) that I’m looking to take on new projects.

The idea there is that you’re more likely to have work sent your way if lots of people are keeping an eye out for opportunities on your behalf.

This worked very well the first week of the challenge, but the past two weeks have shown me that it’s not a sustainable way of finding new clients. I’ve started to run out of friends/acquaintances I feel comfortable asking for help, and if I persist much more I risk become an annoyance.

So, what next?

The value of putting yourself out there

This is where I’m finding a lot of value in having this here blog and writing about my efforts. Several people have contacted me in recent weeks recommending different things I could try to find new work.

For example:

  1. My buddy Tyler sent me a link to this article: A (Proven) Freelancer’s Guide to Growing Your Business
  2. Radhika reached out to me with some great recommendations for finding fresh leads (she’s a pro at that kind of thing).
  3. Adam jumped on Skype with me and told me how he’s been finding work online through some creative approaches.
  4. Michelle sent me a link to a screencast explaining the process she used to go from $0 to $3k a month in 90 days with her freelance writing biz.

Now it’s one thing to have people send you stuff like that, and it’s another to take action on it. But by virtue of publicly committing to this challenge, I’m being far more proactive than I would be otherwise.

Whether I fail to make $5k this month or not, I don’t want to leave any room for someone to say that I could have tried harder.

As such, last Thursday I picked up the phone and tried one of Adam’s recommendations. Nothing has come of that call (yet), but it’s an example of an action that I could easily have talked myself out of if not for the public accountability I’ve created.

How can you hold yourself more accountable?

If you’re having trouble being proactive with this challenge or similar, experiment with some public accountability. Facebook is an easy place to start. Jump over there right now and update your status to say you’re going to do X, Y and Z this week.


Hey everyone,

I need some public accountability to try reach a lofty goal I’ve set for myself. I’m trying to earn $X,XXX this month as a freelancer, and to give myself a good chance of succeeding this week, I’m aiming to do the following:

  1. Create a pitch email template.
  2. Make at least two new pitches every day (Monday-Friday).
  3. Follow up with all past clients by the end of the week and see if there’s anything else I can help them with.

I’ll post an update on my progress every morning and evening here on Facebook. If you don’t hear from me, please call me out! A bit of social pressure will help ensure I follow through on this.


Another tool you can use for public accountability, with the added incentive of a monetary penalty should you fail to follow through: Go Fucking Do It.

How are you doing?

If you’ve come along for the ride and have set your own income goal this month, let me know via the comments below how it’s going for you. Specifically, tell me:

  • What’s working?
  • What’s not?
  • What are you going to do next?

Shout out to Sophia who has taken on the challenge this month and gave the following update in the comments of my last post:

I think that Nov. might be my biggest revenue month so far! I landed a new ongoing client who paid their initial planning fee early plus a one time client who paid $449 for a session. I also have been doing a bit more freelance writing and just got paid out for my Oct. writing gig (which was my biggest month). I’m hoping that Nov. is similar.

Hoping that I gross as much in 2014 as I did in 2012, before I was self employed. We shall see!

P.S. For reference, here are the previous posts in this series:

P.P.S. If you know of anyone on the lookout for a great web developer, I’d love if you could send them this way!


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