WARNING: This article contains the extreme views of an entrepreneurial drop-out and may offend capitalist sensibilities. If you worship the almighty dollar and you’re on a dedicated mission to obtain all the moneys, you may find this content offensive.
On the other hand, if you’re enticed by the prospect of a simpler lifestyle, shorter working days, and more time to spend with your family… keep reading.
I can’t remember exactly when it happened.
It could have been after writing the business plan for yet another “killer” Internet business idea that would soon be gathering dust. It may have been after running the numbers on my first “successful” product launch ($2,000 net profit on $45,000 gross sales! Woot!). Perhaps it was sipping cider at an Internet Marketing convention, watching the excited conversations around me, and realizing that I no longer cared about who was going to top the latest affiliate leaderboard.
It was never going to happen for me.
I was never going to be the next Internet millionaire.
It’s not that I didn’t have the skills or the knowledge. I just… didn’t care enough.
I didn’t want to work sixteen hour days. I didn’t want to attend endless networking events. I didn’t want to pretend to be excited about the latest ebook on forced continuity.
Online empire-building is like any other business venture. You have to really love it to be successful at it. Otherwise, your efforts are going to be half-hearted.
And when I looked honestly at my efforts over the previous years, 99% of my enthusiasm went into creating the product and the infrastructure, and only 1% went into marketing my business and building my audience.
I enjoyed the creativity of imagining and developing a product and a website. But had little interest in the rest of the process.
But then something interesting happened…
Making the conscious decision to give up on the entrepreneurial dream turned out to be liberating. I reached the – obvious with hindsight – conclusion that I enjoyed the product creation element (primarily the writing part) of online business more than anything else because this was the part of the process at which I was most skilled.
So why shouldn’t I just spend all my time doing that?
I knew from my conversations with other Internet Marketers that many business owners are the polar opposite. They enjoy the marketing and business development side of entrepreneurism, but dislike (or find too time-consuming) the product creation and copywriting. How hard would it be to partner with these people?
Sure, it would mean never being revered as a “guru.” I’d never see my name in lights or be spoken of in the hushed tones reserved for the Internet Business celebrities. But that side of things never appealed to me anyway.
To paraphrase Jed Bartlet, I’d stop trying to be the guy. Instead, I’d be the guy the guy depends on.
The “F” Word
One problem with my new business plan…
It would mean becoming a “freelancer.”
In some Internet circles this is the equivalent of a dirty word. Being a freelancer is small-time. It isn’t scalable. It lacks consistent or dependable income. It limits your earning potential. It’s a role that lacks ambition.
I don’t know about any of that. What I do know is that for the last eight years I’ve…
- Earned a full-time living.
- Worked from home.
- Worked fewer hours (compared to my entrepreneurial days).
- Worked to my own schedule.
- Enjoyed working in a wide variety of sectors.
- Worked with lots of interesting, talented people.
- Had more time available for volunteer work.
- Worked with some great charities and non-profits.
- Spent the vast majority of my working time doing what I love.
- Never had to worry about managing a complex business.
I’m not rich, and my choice of business model means I’m unlikely to ever become so, but I wouldn’t trade what I have.
How about you?
Are you struggling to get a business off the ground? Are you tired of working longer and longer hours just to keep things afloat? Is there one element of your business that you enjoy and excel at compared to everything else required of an entrepreneur?
If the answer to all of those questions is “yes,” maybe it’s time to step back and think about whether it’s time to forge a different path.
The world is full of successful entrepreneurs who are CRYING OUT for skilled and professional writers, graphic designers, coders, video editors, project managers, and so on.
Successful freelancers are attractive to business owners because, almost by definition, they are motivated, self-starting, smart individuals who do what they do, not just for a paycheck, but because they LOVE the work.
If enjoying your work and finding a work/life balance is more important to you than becoming the next Musk or Zuckerberg, freelancing could be the solution you’re looking for.
Why don’t you want to be rich?
Have you heard the story about the guy who spends a few hours a day fishing to feed his family, and the rest of the time relaxing at home with his wife and kids?
Then an entrepreneur comes along and tells him he needs to buy a bigger boat, hire more fisherman, build up a fleet, start a corporation, float it on the stock exchange, and make a fortune.
The guy asks the entrepreneur why he needs to do this, to which he replies, “So you can retire while you’re still young and spend the rest of your days fishing and relaxing with your family.”
Sometimes it feels like every business-related article, video, and training course is predicated on the notion that everyone’s sole desire is to be rich. Finding business and marketing advice that isn’t taking you down a path of rapid business growth and scalability can be challenging.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with people who want to want to shoot for the stars. If you enjoy the hard work and sacrifice that comes with building a business with endless profit-potential, I wish you well.
But, right now, I’m talking to everyone else. To those people that just want to pay the bills, enjoy their work, and have plenty of time leftover to spend with family.
And if that’s you, I’ve got your back.
In this article series, I’ll cover all the steps and strategies to becoming a successful freelancer. Including finding clients, charging the correct fees, creating reliable income streams, pushing out the competition, and keeping your working hours manageable.
Yes, this will include using Kartra (even modest freelancers need a proper online infrastructure that doesn’t require hefty expenditure), but I’ll be going broader to help you survive the cut and thrust of freelancing. I’ll share the things that have worked for me, the things that haven’t, and the mistakes you’ll probably want to avoid.
In the next article in this series, I’ll discuss the preparatory steps required before you announce your availability as a freelancer to the world. In the meanwhile, here’s a little quiz for you to play with.
There’s no right or wrong answer, but if you’ve read all of the above and you’re not sure where you stand, this might help you figure out the answer.
If you had to choose just one, which of the following options would you select?
- Work the same number of hours and double your income.
- Keep the same income, but cut your working hours in half.
Post your answer in the comments below and tell me how you reached your conclusion.
Brilliant. Accurate. I remember going through this exact revelation like it was yesterday.
Coolio article , and an easy question …
I’d choose A – The hours I work a day are honest and not short, I’d love to see more results from my efforts – simplez
Great article. Speaks to my heart. I work for a client 4 hours a day, make enough money to pay bills and spend the rest of my time playing, hanging out, taking my two girls to dance and gymnastics. I love my work/life balance but I’d like to boost my income. Thanks for writing such a great article.