How to make money? Nicole, writer and freelance writer

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NerdWallet’s
How to make money? The series asks people from diverse backgrounds to share their attitudes and approach to personal finance, with the aim of bringing transparency to discussions around money. In this article we are talking with Nicole dieker, a 32-year-old freelance writer and essayist living in Seattle. This is how she makes money.

What are you doing for your main source of income and how did you get into this business?

I am a full-time freelance writer and essayist. I embarked on this job like everyone else in a career: I was hired for an entry-level job thanks to Write.com and I slowly networked my way to higher paying clients and larger assignments.

For more information on how I make my writing career work, check out my monthly “How a Freelance Writer Makes a Living” series at The wallet. I explain everything: how I pitch, what kind of work I do, how I get paid, etc.

Would you like to do something else instead?

I would love to be a freelance writer for the indefinite future. I love to run my own business and I love to write.

About how much do you earn before taxes per year?

Last year I won around $ 35,000. This year, I hope to beat $ 38,000, which is the official “average income” marker for a single person in the United States.

Do you feel secure with this amount?

I am really safe with this amount. I would like to earn more, but I know I can support myself. The problem is, what I really want to do is both provide for myself and pay off all my debts NOW. So that makes me feel financially insecure. If all my debts were written off but I made the same amount of money, I would feel financially secure.

What type of debt do you have and how much is it?

I have $ 15,866.81 in credit card debt. I have no student loan debt or any other type of debt. I have been paying off my debt for several months and plan to pay it off completely over the next two years.

It’s interesting because I didn’t incur this debt while I was working as a writer. I got into debt when I spent a year as a touring musician. (I have a great article on The toast on how it failed miserably.)

If I had any idea what I was doing, I probably could have stayed out of some debt, or turned it into commercial debt, if I did. I mean, I got into debt because of my music business, which wasn’t making enough money to support itself. I had all these obligations to people, like I had agreed to do shows in certain places, and I had agreed to work with this group, and I was hemorrhaging money. Everyone was paid except me.

As soon as I stopped touring and started writing, my finances recovered and I started paying off my debt. I try to put between $ 800 and $ 1,000 for my debt each month. I do the Snowball method, and it’s awful to see one card debt go down while the other two card debts stay about the same, but hopefully the debt snowball will work out eventually.

Is Debt Worth It? I think she, like many other debts, was incurred to survive. I didn’t get into debt because of things I wanted to buy; I got into debt because of things that I had to buy. I got into debt because I promised people that I would be in Phoenix that day, and in Irvine a week later, and because I did a Kickstarter which ended up costing a lot more to produce than what I received in funding.

Do you have savings goals? If this is true, what are they?

At the moment I have a 403 (b) it is progressing quite well. I let this grow in the background for the next couple of years as I focus on getting out of debt. So, well, if I put $ 1,000 on my debt every month and can start putting that money into savings, that’s MAGIC TIME.

Have you used any resources or tools to learn more about and manage your personal finances?

Reading by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin Your money or your life right after college had a significant impact on the way I handled my finances. I started to track every penny at that point. Even ten years ago, I knew their path to “financial independence” was pretty much definitely obsolete – I mean, high value treasury bills ??? – but I really liked what they had to say about tracking your money and determining your real hourly wage.

I have a very complicated spreadsheet system, most of which are derived from an arts management course I took in college. I learned how to budget for cash and other business budgets, and basically applied these wholesale concepts to my personal financial tracking.

Looks like you’ve built a solid system that works for you. How was the subject of money brought up in the house (s) where you grew up? What factors do you think influenced this approach?

I was brought up in a reasonably frugal household, and my parents fully taught me the concept that consumer debt should be avoided at all costs. I started working in the summer at the age of 13 and the emphasis has always been on the importance of earning and saving money.

My sister and I successfully completed our college and graduate studies without taking out student loans. We’re both incredibly lucky in this aspect.

I don’t know what factors influenced my parents’ attitude towards money. I guess I never thought to ask them! I always grew up thinking they were right, both because they explained why they made the financial decisions they made and because those financial decisions always made sense.

How do you think this has affected your attitude towards money and your personal finances?

If you ask me if I feel horribly guilty about having credit card debt, the answer is YES.

Not what I wanted, but interesting to hear. Has your approach to personal finance changed since the moment you left home?

My approach to personal finance, or at least buying consumer items, has remained relatively consistent. I practice the philosophy of “use it, use it, have it done or do without”. I live a pretty minimal life and try not to buy stuff that I don’t need.

The only thing that has changed are social expectations. When I graduated from college, I avoided going out to bars or restaurants with friends. I tried to come up with frugal workarounds like “why don’t you come and we’ll share that can of tomato soup?” “

Now that I’m in my 30s, you’re expected to no longer live like a 21-year-old broke, even if you’re still broke. It would be great if we could all do more activities involving homemade tomato soup, but being an adult basically comes with a basic financial cost, and accepting that has been an interesting mental adjustment.

You have touched on something really important there! As we age, social expectations change regarding acceptable activities, whether or not you can afford to participate. What’s the best monetary investment you’ve ever made?

The best monetary investment I made was my annual trip on JoCo Crazy Cruise. This community has been my lifeline over the past few years. It’s hard to explain what the JCCC is if you’ve never been, but Hank Green made a short video this will help explain why so many of us take this trip every winter.

It changed my life. Every time it makes my life better. It’s worth the $ 1,200 every year.

Which monetary investment do you regret the most and why?

I would have liked to find a way out of the musical game before I had a hemorrhage of money. At one point I started telling people that I couldn’t come to their city anymore, even though I had said I would come. I wish I could have started doing it sooner.

What does financial stability mean to you?

Financial stability is being able to pay for yourself. I think paying off your debt is also like paying your way.

What financial achievement are you most proud of?

My first business failed, but my second business succeeded.

Congratulations on that, it must be a great feeling! Have you ever wanted to ask a financial advisor questions?

I would really like to talk to someone about anything, actually. I know my greatest danger is my own pride – I’m going to read a book about running an independent business and think, “Well, now I know everything! If I had the chance to really sit down and go over all my finances with someone else, that person could probably show me ways to optimize my finances that I never even thought of.

The problem is, the money paid to financial planners is money that does not snowball into debt. However, if you know of a financial planner who specializes in freelance writing, I would be very happy to know more.

In fact, NerdWallet has a platform called Ask an advisor where anyone can anonymously interview licensed financial planners, as well as health and education experts, about their personal circumstances.

Do you or someone you know want to be interviewed? Email Heather.



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