I often talk about dollars/hour as being a more accurate reflection of what a project is worth than dollars/word. But there’s another figure freelancers should keep in mind: what I call their daily nut.
The daily nut is the amount you have to average to meet your annual income goal.
Say your annual income goal is $60,000 (and remember that one-quarter of freelancers surveyed make $60,000+), and you're planning to work 240 days out of the year. That's Mondays through Fridays, with four weeks off for holidays and vacations.
Grossing $60,000 a year comes to $5000 a month, or $250 a day. So your daily nut is $250. Instead of thinking about making $60,000, which can seem unreachable, focus on meeting your daily goal—and then track your progress.
Every day, you should average your daily nut, or you won’t hit your financial goal at year's end. So, an article that pays $1,000 should take you about four days' worth of work. A book proposal that pays $4500 should take about 18 days' worth of work, total. Of course, not every project will work out exactly like this--some will take more time, some will take less. The idea, though, is that you average a certain amount each day.
So, question one, what's your daily nut? And question two, did you make it today?