2022 Year-End Review: What I made, where it came from, and what it means

Analyzing the year to celebrate wins, make adjustments, and share my experience

By Shea Lord |
December 31st, 2022

2022 Year-End Review: What I made, where it came from, and what it means

Analyzing the year to celebrate wins, make adjustments, and share my experience

By Shea Lord |
December 31st, 2022

Read time: 3 minutes

Why do I share my numbers? It’s weird. It’s taboo. It rubs a lot of people the wrong way. And all of that = ick.

I always admired and appreciated the transparency of Pat Flynn, the original oracle of solopreneurship.

Would his success have provided the same value to so many people (myself included) if he hadn’t decided to give an honest and whole picture of what that looked like? I don’t believe so.

What I know is that I wish I’d had this information to reference when I started freelancing.

I hope it helps.


Revenue from freelance:
Hit the bank: $241,985.96
Outstanding invoices: $23,817.64

Revenue from online course: $24,866.99

Do I count invoiced projects?
No Total: $266,852.95
Yes Total: $290,670.59



Subcontractors (2)

Business expenses
I haven’t thoroughly gone through expenses yet, but this is close.

Marketing Expenses
Facebook/Insta ads for my course generated about a 4x return over 4 months.


This is tricky. I billed fewer hours this year, and made more money. But I worked a lot building out my course on the side, learning how to market it, supporting students and answering questions, and creating content to supplement that endeavor.

On average, I worked 30hrs per week for clients, and 20-30hrs per week on my course. It’s been an exhausting year, but the extra work is starting to pay off.


Biggest project:
A 3-part mid-tier explainer, ~2min total animation, no design.

Smallest project:
Testing a motion-tracked logo placement.

Biggest client:
On-going support, mostly for social ads

Most common project:
Some form of paid ad (Meta, YouTube, even Tik Tok)

Most lucrative project:
Explainers still king

The Project Type to Look Out For

I noticed a pattern this year. I keep getting hired to develop motion design systems and toolkits.

  • These projects deliver guidelines and template files that internal teams can use to elevate their work while keeping the styling consistent and speeding up production.

Everyone is under immense pressure to create content.

  • Companies need an affordable solution to feed the machine regularly.
  • If you can be the person that develops the system, you can provide incredible value.

If you’re interested in developing this skill, start getting comfortable with expressions and .mogrts. This is probably ripe for another newsletter on its own.

What’s working

✦ Keeping some reliable, easy, time-based clients to make sure my bills are covered while allowing me to be pickier with the larger projects I take on.

✦ Relationships are everything.

✦ LinkedIn has been incredible for growing my network of freelancers, clients, and even friends. It gives me opportunities to write, which I love, and it doubles as marketing for my course.

✦ The course is making sales, I’m receiving great feedback, and it appears to be helping a lot of people.

What’s not working

✦ Obviously the side-hustle course building isn’t sustainable yet, but I think I’m nearing a tipping point where I could slow down on the freelance and turn more attention to that. Betting on yourself requires stomaching a lot of uncertainty.

✦ Q4 was wild and now I’m disorganized. My banking and taxes are getting more complicated. I need a solid week of admin work to get organized again. January is usually good for that.


In Q1 of 2023, I’ll be releasing a major upgrade (totally revised) to my Pricing for Motion Design course. By Q2, I’ll be announcing my second course. By Q3, I’ll need to re-evaluate for next steps.

Long term:

  1. ✅ Make enough to support my family while developing creative muscle
  2. ▶️ Build a business that can support my personal artistic endeavors
  3. ⏺ Create wealth for my family with total creative freedom


Still working on #2. Still on-track.