Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Your Daily Nut--And How to Track It

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?


  1. At the moment I'm looking at sending out queries to nab assignments. My quota is 1-3 every day. How can the daily nut work if I'm not yet getting assignments? Should I be counting how much the query might make me in the future or not look at the dollar figure at all? I'd love to be making $100-$200 per day from magazine writing.

  2. If you don't have any assignments yet, you can't really have a daily nut, since you're not getting paid [yet]. But once you start getting paying work, you should still be considering whether you're making your daily nut (including query/marketing time) on your assignments.

    Hope this helps!

  3. Thanks Kelly

    I recently bought your books - 'Ready, Aim, Specialize' and 'Six-Figure Freelancing'- and have found them to be full of useful information that has helped me a lot.

  4. Thank you! I really appreciate that. :)