I don’t think I’ve ever wrapped up a year on this blog.
Instead, I’ve done things like setting goals, mid-goals and lessons I’ve learned.
Well, now is the perfect time to reflect on 2021, and prepare for an incredible 2022.
If you’ve been freelance writing for a while, what do you want to reflect on to help you prepare for a new year?
The best things to look at are your overall stats online, any goals you made and accomplished, mistakes you had and what your plan is for the New Year.
You can inspire yourself to grow for the next year from that information!
I hope 2022 will be a great year, and it all starts with my mindset and vision for what I want to accomplish now.
Let’s dive into what I did in 2021 and after you read this, go ahead and do the same.
Let me know in the comments!
Overall Business Stats
I started this blog in 2014, and this little “engine” that could, grew into a wonderful community full of aspiring freelance writers and helped me grow as a person.
But, during this time I’ve diversified my brand to include freelance clients and courses, other blogs, and platforms to grow my brand.
For this section, I will only talk about this blog’s stats and not the other blogs I have.
1. Email Subscribers
My total subscriber count is 24,173.
Here are my subscribers that joined up until Dec. 20.
Overall, I had 10,653 people join my list and stay on my list this year!
Some months, I lost subscribers, so I couldn’t factor that into how many I gained.
I’m happy with this number. I want all of my subscribers to learn about freelance writing and what I do as a mom to twins to make money writing.
That’s why I periodically cull my list only to include those that have opened my emails regularly.
Scrubbing your list once you have over 1,000 subscribers is a practice to have. Since I use Convertkit as my email marketing service, I pay for my subscribers, so I only want subscribers that need my help!
I don’t have a goal to gain 50,000 subscribers or something.
I have printable lead magnets or other free courses that work.
But, I have something I might be doing in 2022 that will inherently grow my email list.
But, I’ll share that in my 2022 section.
2. My Follower Counts on Social Media
When I started freelance writing, I only used Twitter and LinkedIn.
But over the years, I’ve expanded to include Pinterest, Instagram and Youtube.
My Twitter account currently has 9,676 followers.
Looking at my Twitter Analytics, I gained 882 Twitter followers in 2021.
The most followers I gained in one month is 164, and the lowest is 32. I don’t market much on Twitter since most of my posts are automated.
What I have been doing for a while now (I’d say two years) is having people tag me on Twitter when they enroll in my free course, Get Paid to Write.
I love reading new students’ posts on Twitter! Keep it up!
Over on LinkedIn, I have 500+ connections.
I’ve found many gigs on LinkedIn over the years, but lately, I haven’t been focussed on using LinkedIn to find freelance writing jobs.
But, I do know that being consistent in posting and engaging on the platform will help you land clients.
Last year and this year, I’ve been more focussed on Instagram to grow my brand and land some email marketing clients (which I have).
Currently, I have 2,602 followers, but this number varies a lot from 2,600 to 2,601 and things like that.
I’ve created many reels, but my most popular one has 2,021 views and is about the worst email tactics you are making!
In Instagram Insights, I can only go back 90 days. During this time, I gained 136 more followers, a 5.5% increase.
I usually create Instagram posts and Reels to grow my followers.
I have mom bloggers, copywriters and freelance writers following me.
What will end up happening is that I’ll dive into IG for a while and then slowly move on to other things like Youtube or my blogs.
But, that’s okay! I started my IG account years ago and gained 600 followers. I then started to focus my efforts in 2020.
And so for it’s going fine!
I have 7,461 Likes and 8,285 following my page.
I started this page in 2014 and promoted my blog to help other freelance writers over the years.
I have had potential clients contacting me via my Facebook page too!
Video was new to and I wanted to try it out on Facebook first.
For now, I promoted my latest blog posts and anything I find useful to help new writers.
3. Course Students
I have five courses for freelance writers and three ebooks in my shop.
In total, I have 7,995 writing students.
I’m thrilled with everything, and I hope to continue to provide help to anyone new to freelance writing!
If you want to check out all my products (for my other site) you can go to my Teachable page.
I have two ghostwriters to help me with content for my other blogs.
Each ghostwriter writes between 1500-2000 words across different niches.
While I do stress to niche down and find that one niche, these two ghostwriters are rockin’ it with writing about completely different topics.
If you want to try this out, check out my post on how to write about anything.
You might be wondering how I found these writers. Well, one is a Writeto1k course student, and the other was in one of my Facebook groups.
I emailed them and asked if they would be interested in making money as a ghostwriter for me.
Both agreed, and they have been writing for me for around two years now.
Over the years, I’ve hired a copywriter, an editor and VA.
If you have steady clients and you want to grow your business, consider hiring other writers to help you with:
- Outreach (finding guest sites for you)
What Happened in 2021: The Good
Over the year, I’m proud I accomplished many things to grow my brand and income.
Let’s review them all.
1. I Started a New Service
I’m excited about this new venture into growing my freelance writing income.
After a Writeto1k training from Samar Owais, I was interested in writing emails for the digital marketing brand.
So, I developed an income ladder and focussed on coaches, product owners and other freelancers.
I landed a few clients and made money, but then I had to take a break. I found running several blogs, two email lists, two Facebook groups and writing for clients was difficult.
I’m hoping to start again soon once everything is automated or streamlined so that I don’t spend hours doing unnecessary work.
2. I Updated Writer Website in a Weekend 3.0
WordPress has changed over the years, and I wasn’t doing a good job at updating all that I could for the WWIW course.
But, in October, I decided I needed to get this done.
And now? I am amazed by the website I created only using WordPress.
No builder programs and no plugins to build the site!
It was all easy and with WordPress blocks! I’m happy that the course turned out amazing.
3. I Grew Freelancer FAQs
In 2021, I started to focus on keywords to rank Freelancer FAQs in Google.
I used my SEO tool Ahrefs to find easy keywords to rank this site.
In all, I grew FreelancerFAQs to 1,760 sessions with over 5,000 keywords.
Since this is a contributor blog, I do my best to SEO titles and copy.
But, I am contributing more and using those keyword ideas to help this site rank.
For example, I recently wrote a post on the best portfolio template that landed on page one, spot 6.
While these keywords don’t get many searches, if I create more of these posts, I’ll eventually have many people coming to this site.
4. Ramped Up My Youtube Channel
My Youtube channel currently has 7.97k subscribers.
But I started my Youtube channel within a year of starting Elna Cain.
My channel started because I was doing a 5 Days of Freelance Writing Tips on my Facebook page.
I then created a blog post of those and a Youtube channel to have them on there.
But then I never touched Youtube for a while.
Eventually, I started doing more videos on my Facebook page and repurposing those into Youtube videos.
Doing this is not the best strategy to grow your Youtube channel.
But, at that time, I didn’t want to grow my channel.
It was only this year that I wanted to see if I could grow my Youtube channel.
Showing that I knew how to optimize YouTube could help me land more digital marketing clients.
One thing I started doing was watching other channels that talked about optimizing your Youtube videos.
- How to create good thumbnails
- How to properly edit videos
- Cool effects to use in your videos
- How to add music to my videos
- How to find keywords on Youtube
So, I created videos, played around with my brand and developed a schedule to produce and edit videos.
Within a few months I grew my subscribers and my channel was finally monetized.
But, after a while, I stopped making videos.
As you can tell, this past summer got me to stop a lot of things!
5. I Focussed on Medium
For a while, I heard a lot about making money on Medium.
Writers were making $5,000 a month on Medium.
So, I thought I could see what this was all about.
There are only specific niches like lifestyle and buzz-worthy content that Medium loves.
I decided to write about freelance writing and digital marketing, my known niches.
I currently have 2.6k followers on Medium.
My stats vary. The most views I gained for my Stories stats were around 4,000 views.
At the moment, I’m sitting at 1,984 views.
I’ve gained 39 new followers, 2 new email subscribers and four new referred members For this month.
For 2021 I’ve earned $ 546.96 for my stories. I also got a $50 bonus from Medium.
However, I’m not writing much on Medium since I need to focus on my blogs and products.
I do write on the weekend for fun, though!
6. Connected with Julia McCoy
Over the years, I’ve read the Express Writers blog, but I didn’t know that Julia McCoy founded Express Writers when she was only 19 years old!
I then started Youtube and found her channel. It was then that she reached out to me!
I was shocked. Julia wanted to interview me for her workshops.
What Happened in 2021: The Bad
There are a couple of business things that didn’t go as planned.
The first is using Jasper, an AI writing tool.
All the bloggers on Facebook and in emails were raving about using Jasper to write a 2,000 word blog post in 10 minutes.
So I tried it.
And being a writer, I couldn’t get the hang of it.
Jasper just wasn’t getting my writing tone and style done, and I spent more time editing the content.
I’m not a fan of editing (that’s why I don’t offer it as a service) so using it just made me unhappy.
I did manage to create one piece of content, but I had to add more oomph to make it like my writing.
The process just sucked the life out of me. I LOVE writing and I expected Jasper to write just like I do. And that’s not realistic. That’s why clients quite happily pay me $500+ per blog post and come back for more.
So, I may use Jasper in the future for outlines and ideas but not the writing.
* Update: summer 2022 *
I started using Jasper again for some other projects and for other types of content (like Pinterest descriptions and paragraph generators and FAQs) and these days, I’m loving what it’s producing! The more I use it, the better output it gives me so I’m happy with Jasper and have shared some videos on my other Youtube channel.
The second was that I had to stop onboarding clients over the summer because I was busy renovating and updating courses.
I hated this and was really enjoyed writing emails for coaches and product owners.
But, I didn’t have the time to write these emails.
Finally, my schedule was all over the place in 2021.
In the beginning, I did have a good schedule.
But once the summer came, I couldn’t keep that schedule.
Now, I’m waking up late, doing chores constantly and don’t have plan for acquiring clients.
I’m hoping this will change!
My Plans for 2022
At this moment, I have three main things I want to roll out.
1. Offer a New Freebie
I have created two freebies, but they can be one big freebie!
It’s a printable, and I love it. However, I never got around to offering it on my blog.
I may offer it or just give it to my subscribers.
Personally, I don’t like many freebies on my blog as it gets confusing over time.
2. Pick Up More Clients
Since I don’t rely only on client money to work from home, I want to pick up a few clients throughout 2022 to sharpen my freelance skills and learn any new tricks with acquiring clients and working for them.
This will help my Writeto1k students tremendously.
I will focus on email clients for now on.
While I love writing but having to write 2,000-5,0000 word blog posts multiple times a month will not leave me any time to write valuable content on my two main sites: Elna Cain and Twins Mommy.
So, writing emails isn’t that difficult since each email is under 1,000 words.
3. Monthly Workshops
I don’t know if I will do this every month, but eventually, I want to start providing free workshops to grow my email list and then turn those workshops around and sell them with additional bonus materials.
It sounds super fun, eh?
I’ve had this idea since the summer, actually!
Please comment and let me know if you want these workshops!
2021 Almost Over and 2022 On Its Way
It’s December, and there’s snow on the ground, and I’m itching to wrap presents for my twins.
I’m happy to take time off from my business to enjoy family life and be present.
But, I’m excited for 2022. It’s a new leaf for me and a new journey for sure.
Let me know what your takeaways are and what you accomplished this year!
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