There is a lot of generalized advice out there in regards to how we earn a living.
“Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
“A degree will solve your financial problems.”
“Work hard for one good company for 40 years so that you can retire at 65.”
“Having X amount of money in a savings account will ensure stability during hard times.”
Unfortunately, most of that is bullshit.
Work is work, and no matter how much you love it there are going to be days when you’re just not up for it. Ask literally anyone who has fought hard enough to land their dream job.
A degree may help you get a leg up in the world, but the potential student loan debt that comes with it combined with an ever-changing economy could easily put a person back at square one.
As for spending a few decades working for a single company, well, it had better be recession-proof…or COVID-proof, at the very least.
A savings account can certainly provide some stability, but the reality is that most Americans burned through their seed money within months, even weeks of losing their jobs to the pandemic.
As freelance writers, we aren’t strangers to adversity. Our industry is ripe with rejection and failure, forcing us to adapt and change how we think about our time, our craft, and our money.
We all deserve financial prosperity, and becoming a writer has given me an entirely new perspective on how to get there.
Diversify, Diversify, Diversify
After graduating high school in 2010, I began blogging on a site called Hubpages. Each week, I’d churn out short articles and listicles that created revenue in the form of ad clicks.
For the first four years, none of those blogs produced a single dime. To be honest, it wasn’t terribly surprising. The writing wasn’t great, and the editing even less so.
Still, I didn’t give up and my skills improved.
By 2014, actual dollar amounts began showing up in my Hubpages balance every month. Alas, that ride was rather short-lived.
By 2017 ad revenue had dropped drastically, earning me no more than ten to twenty cents per MONTH.
Circumstances changed in 2018, and I withdrew the first $50 I had ever earned passively.
From there, I continued to seek out other blogging platforms and even made a decent income through Upwork.
One week after the stock market crash that occurred in June, I began investing. Since then, I’ve been able to make even more passive income through monthly and quarterly dividends.
Having 3–5 income streams at all times makes all the difference when a pandemic happens and you lose your day job.
If one stream dries up, there are always a few more to fall back on.
Time and Freedom are Invaluable
For the love of God, please stay away from Upwork.
Yeah, yeah…”but you JUST said you were making plenty of money!”
Allow me to explain.
You’re going to receive hundreds of job invites from “clients” who want you to write well-researched, 2,000+ word articles…for $15 dollars apiece. Now, subtract the 20% service fee for using their website, another $2 to transfer it over to your bank account or Paypal, another $5 if you had to purchase connects to apply to a project, and top it off with taxes.
Does that sound like something that’s worth your time?
To put things into perspective, I was working overtime while making less than I would have at a part-time job at McDonald’s.
The whole reason I started freelance writing was…
- Because I enjoy it, and
- I hate working for someone else
More than anything else, I want my freedom. The freedom to go hiking with my dogs on a Sunday afternoon or to enjoy birthdays and holidays with my loved ones without having to ask someone for permission.
The freedom to take a week off because I’m sick and my body needs time to recover.
Even though I didn’t have to work a cash register, I still had to turn down dinners and skip events to meet deadlines.
I was losing precious time…and I’m not sure if you know this, but once time is gone, you can’t get it back.
There will always be another job, another project, or another path to take if the one you’re on feels like a dead-end.
Place your time and effort into actions that will propel you forward.
Where you end up in five to ten years depends entirely on what you do with your time right now.
You’ve Got to Have a Plan
Whether you’re a newbie writer or someone who’s been working at it for years, rest assured that you won’t get very far without a solid plan.
I’m glad that you have a goal, but what path are you taking to get there?
What specific steps are you committed to taking every day?
What potential obstacles do you foresee getting in the way?
What habits or vices are you going to give up in order to complete your objective?
Knowing the answers to these questions is what’s going to keep you focused on the big picture. When you’re at your lowest point, remember that you committed to this.
You made a plan of action, and you’re going to stick to that plan no matter how long it takes to complete your mission.