My 2022 Year In Review – Copywriting, Travel & Other Stuff

We’re all nosy bastards, me included. So for your viewing pleasure, here’s a transparent look at how 2022 panned out for my business in my 6th year of freelancing.

For all the newer freelancers reading this, I want to make it abundantly, hugely, massively clear that freelancing is all about building the business that YOU want.

Not a business model that’s being sold to you by course creators. Not a get-up-at-4am-or-else-you’re-a-massive-loser business. I mean, unless you love getting up that early?

As a freelancer, you get to choose what “perfect” looks like for you.

If it’s just working a few hours a week to get some extra cash outside your main job, cool. If it’s going all-in to hit a huge end of year monetary goal, cool. And if it’s expanding into an agency and hiring other writers, that’s cool too.

When it comes to working for yourself, you do you.

For me, 2022 was all about doing less work, earning less money, and doing more living. And I was very intentional about all of these.

I aimed to only work 3 days a week wherever possible so I could shut my laptop and get out into nature more.

As a full-time nomad, it really sucks when you’re overloaded with work, but the clock is ticking on your 90-day tourist visa. The more you’re stuck at your desk, the less time you have to explore and actually be present in new surroundings and cultures before it’s time to pack and leave again. And I really wanted to escape that loop.

Over the course of the year, I referred a ton of incoming project enquiries to other freelancers in my network, and wound up some retainer gigs so I could stick to my goals for weekly workloads.

2021 Recap

Okay, let’s take a quick look at how things wrapped up this time last year (or you can read the full 2021 review here).

Income from client work:

  • Lowest month: January – $3,506
  • Highest month: February – $34,868
  • Total income: $187,255

Obviously income was pretty good, but that took up a lot of hours as a solo business owner.

I was struggling with working late nights and weekends, having constant bouts of insomnia, and generally feeling sick, grumpy, and burned out. Which is not how I’d advise anyone to run their business!


  • Mexico
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica

It was great not moving around so much, but I didn’t enjoy Colombia as much as I thought I would (long story…). Costa Rica was as magnificent as always.

2022 – Travel

Travel started to become a thing again in 2022, and the crazy Covid years we enjoyed with empty airports, empty planes, no queues anywhere, and cheap accommodation came to an abrupt end.

On the upside, this meant border restrictions came down in most countries, so we were able to leave our safe haven of Central and South America and head back to Europe.

We were well overdue to visit Spain for a cheese and patatas bravas binge, so we headed for Madrid, and then spent the next two months trying not to die from the summer heatwave in Granada.

Trying to exist in 45C without airconditioning is no joke. We were literally unable to go outside between 10am and 6pm for a month because living in an old, historic town with cobbles and narrow winding streets is a lot like being slow-baked in a stone oven when things get spicy outdoors.

David cobbled together a contraption (which we fondly referred to as the Fresquito 9000) made up of a high-powered floor fan, water bowls, wet towels, and ice packs to help keep us alive while we worked, which was pretty ingenious.

So if you’re thinking of visiting Spain in July, be prepared for extreme heat!

In 2022, we worked from:


  • Mexico City
  • Queretaro
  • Guadalajara
  • Sayulita
  • San Pancho
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Tequila

Costa Rica

  • Cahuita
  • Puerto Viejo


  • Madrid
  • Granada
  • Seville


  • Istanbul
  • Eskesihir
  • Ankara
  • Goreme
  • Antalya
  • Kas
  • Pamukkale
  • Izmir


  • Tangier
  • Rabat
  • Essaouira

I’m quietly picking that Turkey will be the next big nomad and tourist destination to explode, so if you’re thinking of visiting, do it sooner rather than later while it’s still cheap! It has an amazing history, and the food is delicious.

It also has incredibly diverse landscapes—so whether you’re into beaches, cloud-covered mountains, forests, modern cities, sleepy seaside towns, ancient ruined cities, or rustic fishing villages, Turkey really puts out. The people are also incredibly lovely, especially once you get out of the tourist areas of Istanbul.

We stayed in a range of accommodation this year, from basic $15 a night places through to the splurge end of things at $250 a night for our birthdays (totally worth it!).

In general, prices everywhere we went have increased a lot over the last year with the influx of remote workers. We’ve been avoiding using Airbnb, and instead try to find locals to rent from, to support them directly instead of giving our money to the Airbnb machine.

Although I love doing the nomad thing, I’m deeply conscious of how this growing movement is affecting the lives of locals—and for the most part, it’s not for the better.

2022 – Health

After last year’s mystery health problems, I was very keen to avoid all hospitals and doctors.

Alas, I was shit out of luck again.

In February, I had to get my first root canal from the only dentist in our small Mexican town who spoke English. While it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be, I don’t recommend it.

Fast forward a few months. While I was out in public enjoying a nice evening wine in Granada, I suddenly felt dizzy and nauseous, and thought I was going to pass out. It was weird, scary, and embarrassing. I stopped drinking white wine and beer from that point, because I thought it might be some sort of allergy problem. But the nausea got gradually worse, and I also bloated up so bad I looked (and felt) like I’d eaten a watermelon. And don’t get me started on the constant chest pain and occasional vomiting.

Me being me, I refused to go to the doctor, and instead Googled my symptoms obsessively for 3 months before dragging myself off to a doctor in Istanbul.

My Google self-diagnosis was actually right (for once)—I had H. pylori. This nasty little bacteria is one of the major causes of stomach ulcers, and in worst cases, stomach cancer. And it’s a bastard to get rid of. But it’s also really common, and it’s estimated 50% of the population might have it but not show any symptoms.

A few weeks on some hardcore antibitiotics and everything was much better (although I’m not entirely sure it’s gone completely).

Hysterically, at the same time I was dealing with this fun bacterial problem, the root canal I had done at the start of the year failed, and I had to get my back molar pulled out. “Miserable” doesn’t even begin to describe that particular couple of weeks.

To top the year off, I lost a large chunk of filling in another back molar on New Year’s Eve. I’m writing this from Essaouira, which is about 3 hours from the nearest big city, Marrakech. I’ve seen the state of dentists in this small town, so I’m going to (foolishly, perhaps) try and stick it out for two weeks until we leave here and I can get to a dental clinic that doesn’t look like it’s still in the 1930s.

I’ve come to fondly refer to all these pesky little health dilemmas as “road rot”—where things just gradually go wrong because you’re traveling constantly, you’re tired, you’re getting older, and perhaps you’re not really looking after yourself as well as you should be. Really hoping to have a year with zero health issues this year though…

Note: if you’re traveling this year, I absolutely recommend you have health insurance. I always resent paying for this, but when things go wrong overseas, it’s a lifesaver. I’m insured through Safety Wing, which is designed specifically for nomads.

2022 – Business

In last year’s review post, I intentionally stated I was aiming to earn less in 2022, because I only wanted to work 3 days a week, focus on other things outside of work, and take time to explore more of the places I traveled to.

Little did I know my wish would be instantly granted!

From January through March of 2022 I had no new projects come in. None. Zip. Zilch. Crickets…

The old freelancing me would have instantly descended into a state of panic and depression about this situation, but having built a solid savings buffer for times exactly like these, and framing this as a great opportunity to a) get outside more, and b) work on my own projects, I managed to coast along nicely until work started coming in again.

I worked with a few great SaaS companies on their website copy, landing pages, emails, content, and promo campaigns. Plus, I got a 12-month retainer with a dream client that’s been on my wishlist for years!

Total income for 2022

  • Lowest month: $0 (not a typo)
  • Highest month: $18,869
  • Total income: $96,510

So – not a bad outcome for drastically slashing my work hours, and having no big projects for 3 months. And it felt really good to focus on the type and quantity of work I was doing this year, rather than my goals being tied to a specific dollar amount.

Could I have made last year’s revenue?

Absolutely, and maybe more. I referred a ton of work out to other copy and content writers in my network. I handed off two retainers which brought in $6,000 a month, a few website projects which would have been between $5 – $15k, and numerous content projects.

It’s really nice to be at a point in my business where I can be a bit more conscious about the projects I take on – plus I love sharing good karma and $$$ opportunities with other writers.

But what about expenses?

I didn’t make any big purchases this year, and I wasn’t in any coaching or business mastermind groups. This is mainly because I couldn’t find any that felt like a good fit for me. But I did miss the sense of cameraderie and direction that comes from being part of a paid community.

I’m still a company of one, and I don’t hire subcontractors or use a VA. I run my business as small and lean as humanly possible so I can save and invest as much as possible, and I don’t want to feel the pressure of managing or paying other people.

Outside of tax and general living expenses, I got to keep and invest a good chunk of my earnings in 2022.

Main business expenses for the year:

Side income projects

Since mid-2021, I’ve been working on a few niche sites with the intention of earning some extra income that was relatively passive.

  • Niche site 1 – Lifestyle
  • Niche site 2 – Garden
  • Niche site 3 – Home
  • Niche site 4 – Home
  • Niche site 5 – Home
  • Niche site 6 – Home
  • Niche site 7 – Travel
  • Niche site 8 – Home
  • Niche site 9 – Money

3 of these sites are monetized, and Site #8 is almost ready to add to that. I’m testing a few different strategies out for the other sites before I decide which of them to invest more time/money into.

Up until August, everything was going really, really ridiculously well with these projects. I was just on the brink of my main monetized site turning 1 year old and getting into the Mediavine ad network, when Google launched an update that halved it’s traffic. And then another one. And then another one. ANNNNND then another one.

This site has recovered gradually, but it’s still only at around 40% of what it used to be. A good reminder not to build your business on borrowed land, or rely on one source of traffic.

Setup and maintenance for these sites is pretty basic. I use cheap WordPress hosting and free themes to build them, then write a few articles and see how they perform over time in search. The monetized sites are covering the running costs for everything, so it’s literally costing me nothing except time to tinker around with them.

Goals for 2023

  • Work 4 to 6 hours a day
  • Work 4 days a week
  • Earn $200,000 – from a blend of client work AND other income streams
  • Save $50,000 (not getting any younger, might need a tiny home base soon)
  • Get back into a good exercise routine
  • Get back into a good diet routine
  • Grow my business network
  • Join a mastermind group
  • Build this website you’re on now into the genuinely useful and helpful resource I wish I’d had when I started freelancing

“Focus” is my key theme for this year. Can I meet my lofty money goals as a solo freelancer while only working 4 days a week—without burning out AGAIN? Tune in this time next year, I guess!

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