By Christine OKelly | January 22, 2008
The relationship I had with my job before I ditched it was bittersweet. I loved my job, but it was sucking the life out of me. There was one time where I actually fell asleep sitting up at my desk while in the middle of a face to face conversation with someone! In the short time that I worked there as an Operation’s Manager, I had won the company’s top performance award, won thousands of dollars in bonuses, had my stock options doubled and was in the running for a Director position. But at what cost? I talk about the final straw in this interview with Chad at Franchise Whale.
My coworkers thought I was insane when I told them I was quitting and moving to the middle of the desert and frankly, so did I. But I knew something had to change. When we got out there, we tried to start several businesses. At first, my husband was determined to start a t-shirt line. He spent the majority of our savings buying a t-shirt press, and a ton of supplies. The business made a grand total of $0 before he shut it down. Then we decided to make an e-bay type site for niche items. We spent months developing it and never finished it. By that time, we were completely freakin’ broke.
I knew that I needed to make money FAST. All of these businesses we were trying took so much time to develop and even if we had finished them, the time it would have taken to become profitable was way too long for our situation. I know that there are tons of people in this very same situation and I feel for them deeply because I have been there!
Real World Problems
When I started this blog and I started to receive emails from real people who were desperate ditch their horrible jobs and take control over their lives.
I got emails from people who are earning as little as $400 a week and trying to find a way to start their own businesses. I met stay at home parents that desperately needed a way to bring more income into their household without leaving their kids to be raised by someone else.
I got emails from people who had been fired from their jobs and needed an income fast. In an effort to help as many people as possible I wrote out the entire strategy in a 24 page ebook titled “How I Built A Profitable Freelance Business for Under $50 – (And How You Can Too!)” and have made it available for $12. (By the way, the $12 is factored in to the total cost of starting a freelancing business for under 50 bucks.)
Freelancing was the thing that turned everything around for me almost instantly. Freelancing has given me a life that was unimaginable before. When I was home with my kids in the early years, I was so bored intellectually and wanted more than anything to find a way to bring more income to our household. Then when I went to go work at the cubicle farm, I would cart my two kids off to daycare for 10 hour a day (at a cost of $1,290 per month!) while being underpaid to make someone else rich.
Today, I bring in between $7,000 – $8,000 per month just from doing freelance writing – and I don’t even charge that much! That doesn’t include any other sources of income. If I were to completely dedicate my life to freelancing, I could easily triple this amount in a very short period of time. Instead, I’m using freelancing as a way to take control of my time so that I can spend more time with my kids and on building other sources of passive income. Plus, I made one major mistake with setting my pricing that has limited my income that I talk about in the ebook.
What Is So Obvious To You That Might Be Incredibly Valuable To Others?
Because this strategy I had created for myself had become second nature to me, I didn’t really think much about it. But starting this blog made me realize just how far I had come from those early days and that there are people out there right now who are in the very same position that I was in. The information in this book are all of the things that I learned along the way that weren’t apparent to me when I first started my freelance career. I struggled for months trying to earn any semblance of a decent living before I really “got it.” If I would have found some resource that would have saved me all of that grief, I would have gladly taken it.
What do you do today that is “second nature” that others would gladly pay to know? For example, Stephen at Adversity University has managed to build a very successful career as a motivational speaker – and if that weren’t admirable enough – he is also deaf! I’d love to know exactly how he did this without making all of the mistakes I foresee by stumbling along that path unguided. Stephen was very wonderful to post an interview about me in his new interview series. But I tell you, I’d like to learn more about him!
I recently learned that copywriter Ray Edwards gets paid $30,000 to write copy for the top online marketers. My first thought was “how did he get to that point in his career?” So I emailed him and asked him what it would cost for 1 one hour of his time. He responded to graciously accept at a rate of $1,250 per hour. I’m seriously considering taking this opportunity. The knowledge that he has is valuable to me. And the knowledge that you have is valuable to someone else.
Don’t Assume That The Information Is Already Out There
I’ve been looking around online and finding lots of forum postings where people are asking questions about how to start a freelancing business, but no real solid answers that someone could actually take and run with. I’ve found an article on how to start a freelancing business on About.com, but it is so generalized, I don’t see how anyone could really pull any actionable information from it!
For example, the part about setting prices in the About.com article is wrapped up in 3 short sentences:
Don’t sell yourself short. Charge what you’re worth. If you’re not sure what you’re worth, go back and rework the financial section of your desktop publishing or graphic design business plan.
What!! Pricing is one of the most important pieces of the business! In this ebook, I dedicated an entire 6 page chapter (1/4 of the entire book) to setting prices. I even talk about my own mistake with setting prices – something I wish someone had told me about when I first started freelancing.
Here’s something I’m amazed has not been written about and sold as an ebook (or at least I haven’t found it): “How to sell an ebook online!” I thought it would be easy, but quickly ran into a bunch of questions. How do you overcome the challenges of the PayPal buy now button? What is the best user “flow” process? Should you offer the book by download or email? If a download, how exactly do you make the page secure so that you have to have paid in order to access it? I would have gladly paid money for an ebook like this from someone who has experience with this. Instead, I spent 2 days researching, experimenting, and pouring over websites of 3rd party providers. Someone please write about this!
The Information You May Take For Granted Is Valuable
If you’re blogging, you probably have a wealth of topics that you could write about. You probably get many questions from readers that hint to much bigger problems that real people are having. If you can tap into what people really need, this can be a nice way to create residual income by telling others about things you know already and may even take for granted.