How has your year been? Yes, I’m reflecting on the past year in my writing business. In fact, I’m reflecting on the whole journey so far. Reflection started when I read something on a writing forum this morning about writing for peanuts. Yes, many web content writers start out writing for “peanuts” but those peanuts can grow into gold nuggets or…macadamia nuts. I’d like to share a story with you.
Once upon a time in 2004, a pregnant woman left her well-paying but high- stress job in the information technology world to stay at home with her second child. She’d done the daycare thing with her first and it was a terrible experience. Besides, her great -paying job was becoming abusive and the company was starting to treat its hard-working staff like plankton on the corporate food chain. They were trimming commission rates, being abusive, expecting more than was reasonable…
In 2005,things worked out in her favour and she didn’t have to go back — tempting as it was to go and face abuse and misery for financial reasons. So, she and her family moved some place new, some place more rural that would provide what they hoped would be better quality of life, a lower cost of living, and the situation allowed for the ability to help out some family members who needed help. Little did she know, that new place didn’t have any high-speed internet. How could a technology lover survive? At least she was now so far away from the Company that she couldn’t possibly be tempted or lured to go back to the abuse for an easy financial answer.
She reinvented her life and started a freelance writing business. At first, she worked for peanuts, on an old computer with a dial up connection. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t great paying. Life was hard for a while and sometimes the good peanut butter was considered gourmet. But despite the difficulty, she knew she was building something of her own. Those peanuts got better. Maybe they were more like cashews. And then her area got high speed and was like she was starting to earn almonds without working 18 hours a day. (Yay, high speed! How she’d missed YouTube!) She would never let someone else dictate her destiny to her again!
Now, with a laptop, even faster high speed, and an iPhone and a progressive amount of internet marketing knowledge and a few of the gigs are more like Macadamia nuts — you know, the more expensive nuts that cost $30 for a small bottle in a hotel? Now, a few years later, she’s almost making what was her old salary was, has several passive income streams, doesn’t have to commute in stressful traffic, doesn’t have abusive bosses (she doesn’t have a boss!), she doesn’t have to trust strangers to take good care of her children, and she’s in charge of her own destiny. If a client is a jerk, she doesn’t have to deal with them again. If she wants to give herself a promotion, she can. If she wants a raise, she can raise her own income. Very liberating!
Reinventing life isn’t easy. It’s often easier to take the road you know. But if you’re determined to build something of your own and take control of your own destiny, your quality of life can skyrocket and soon after, the money will follow. If you’re writing for peanuts, only you can change that.
I’ve been building my business a keystroke at a time for the past five + years and this year will earn more than 4 times what I earned in that first year when I lived on my dial up connection and everyone I knew gave up trying to phone me because my line was always busy due to my always working. Even though I have high-speed now, to this day, the sound of a dial up modem gets my mojo going because each day back then as I connected at 28.8, I was elated as I was building something. It’s still exciting today. I can’t wait to see what new opportunities are in my inbox every morning. Some days, it barely feels like work.
Starting out in freelance writing or any other entrepreneurial pursuit can be hard and not everyone is built for it but for me, (call me a crazy nut if you like) it has been an incredible journey and I’m so excited about what’s to come.