Almost a year ago I quit my soulless, dead-end corporate job to live the life I dreamed of for so long. The life of the writer-preneur.
So what’s a “writer-preneur?”
In my mind, it’s a lot more than just a writer who makes money from her writing. To me, a writer-preneur is a writer who has an entrepreneurial mindset and sees opportunity in using her creative gifts to earn an income.
I consider myself an entrepreneurial writer—I don’t just do freelance writing. I also earn money by using writing as the foundation to solve people’s problems (ex: eGuides, workshops with written content, coaching).
You can do the same thing.
You, too, can use your writing skills to create a business. You, too, can quit your lame day job so you can do something you love every single day.
Truth be told, the corporate workplace (or any workplace) is no place for a brilliant creative person, such as yourself. No, you need to be earning a living from your creative gifts.
Convincing you that it’s possible is probably the biggest challenge I’ll ever encounter. It’s unfortunate, but most creatives don’t believe they can earn a living doing the creative things they want to do, because society tells them they can’t.
But the thing is, there are tons and TONS of creative people out there who work for themselves and make a decent living.
Words Of Wisdom From A Master
A couple weeks ago I came across an article by the brilliant Steve Pavlina. Pavlina has been writing about personal development for years and helping people realize the value they hold inside them.
I’ve read his stuff before, but I had never read this one specific article. Yet it contained all the wisdom I needed to realize that I made the right choice in quitting my soul-sucking day job.
I’ve decided to reprint part of the article here (with permission from Pavlina’s uncopyright). I’ve added my commentary along with his, to try and show you exactly why it’s important for you to pursue your creative gifts as a way to earn money.
And that’s not to say you can’t have a job too, if you really want one. Some people get lucky and find a job that just fits them perfectly and they’re happy. But that’s still no reason not to also earn an income using your creative gifts.
Here’s the bulk of the text from the article by Steve Pavlina that you have to read right now: 10 Reasons You Should Never Get A Job (which I’m calling 10 Reasons You Should Be A Writer-preneur). It’s kind of long, but worth the read. [NOTE: Pavlina's text is in italics; my comments are in bold.]
It’s funny that when people reach a certain age, such as after graduating college, they assume it’s time to go out and get a job. But like many things the masses do, just because everyone does it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. In fact, if you’re reasonably intelligent, getting a job is one of the worst things you can do to support yourself. There are far better ways to make a living than selling yourself into indentured servitude.
Here are some reasons you should do everything in your power to avoid getting a job:
1. Income for dummies.
Getting a job and trading your time for money may seem like a good idea. There’s only one problem with it. It’s stupid! It’s the stupidest way you can possibly generate income! This is truly income for dummies.
Why is getting a job so dumb? Because you only get paid when you’re working. Don’t you see a problem with that, or have you been so thoroughly brainwashed into thinking it’s reasonable and intelligent to only earn income when you’re working? Have you never considered that it might be better to be paid even when you’re not working? Who taught you that you could only earn income while working? Some other brainwashed employee perhaps?
Don’t you think your life would be much easier if you got paid while you were eating, sleeping, and playing with the kids too? Why not get paid 24/7? Get paid whether you work or not. Don’t your plants grow even when you aren’t tending to them? Why not your bank account?
Who cares how many hours you work? Only a handful of people on this entire planet care how much time you spend at the office. Most of us won’t even notice whether you work 6 hours a week or 60. But if you have something of value to provide that matters to us, a number of us will be happy to pull out our wallets and pay you for it. We don’t care about your time — we only care enough to pay for the value we receive. Do you really care how long it took me to write this article? Would you pay me twice as much if it took me 6 hours vs. only 3?
Non-dummies often start out on the traditional income for dummies path. So don’t feel bad if you’re just now realizing you’ve been suckered. Non-dummies eventually realize that trading time for money is indeed extremely dumb and that there must be a better way. And of course there is a better way. The key is to de-couple your value from your time.
Smart people build systems that generate income 24/7, especially passive income. This can include starting a business, building a web site, becoming an investor, or generating royalty income from creative work. The system delivers the ongoing value to people and generates income from it, and once it’s in motion, it runs continuously whether you tend to it or not. From that moment on, the bulk of your time can be invested in increasing your income (by refining your system or spawning new ones) instead of merely maintaining your income.
This web site is an example of such a system. At the time of this writing, it generates about $9000 a month in income for me (update: $40,000 a month as of 10/31/06), and it isn’t my only income stream either. I write each article just once (fixed time investment), and people can extract value from them year after year. The web server delivers the value, and other systems (most of which I didn’t even build and don’t even understand) collect income and deposit it automatically into my bank account. It’s not perfectly passive, but I love writing and would do it for free anyway. But of course it cost me a lot of money to launch this business, right? Um, yeah, $9 is an awful lot these days (to register the domain name). Everything after that was profit.
Sure it takes some upfront time and effort to design and implement your own income-generating systems. But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel — feel free to use existing systems like ad networks and affiliate programs. Once you get going, you won’t have to work so many hours to support yourself. Wouldn’t it be nice to be out having dinner with your spouse, knowing that while you’re eating, you’re earning money? If you want to keep working long hours because you enjoy it, go right ahead. If you want to sit around doing nothing, feel free. As long as your system continues delivering value to others, you’ll keep getting paid whether you’re working or not.
Your local bookstore is filled with books containing workable systems others have already designed, tested, and debugged. Nobody is born knowing how to start a business or generate investment income, but you can easily learn it. How long it takes you to figure it out is irrelevant because the time is going to pass anyway. You might as well emerge at some future point as the owner of income-generating systems as opposed to a lifelong wage slave. This isn’t all or nothing. If your system only generates a few hundred dollars a month, that’s a significant step in the right direction.
You have creative gifts inside you. You’re a writer, a poet, a fiction writer, a designer, an artist, a musician, etc. Why let those gifts go to waste? Share them with the world! Let your gifts shine and make a living from it. You have talent. You have skills. Why waste them and succumb to a mediocre life doing work that you don’t love?
Do work you love every single day and get paid for it! There’s no reason for you not to.
2. Limited experience.
You might think it’s important to get a job to gain experience. But that’s like saying you should play golf to get experience playing golf. You gain experience from living, regardless of whether you have a job or not. A job only gives you experience at that job, but you gain ”experience” doing just about anything, so that’s no real benefit at all. Sit around doing nothing for a couple years, and you can call yourself an experienced meditator, philosopher, or politician.
The problem with getting experience from a job is that you usually just repeat the same limited experience over and over. You learn a lot in the beginning and then stagnate. This forces you to miss other experiences that would be much more valuable. And if your limited skill set ever becomes obsolete, then your experience won’t be worth squat. In fact, ask yourself what the experience you’re gaining right now will be worth in 20-30 years. Will your job even exist then?
Consider this. Which experience would you rather gain? The knowledge of how to do a specific job really well — one that you can only monetize by trading your time for money – or the knowledge of how to enjoy financial abundance for the rest of your life without ever needing a job again? Now I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have the latter experience. That seems a lot more useful in the real world, wouldn’t you say?
Once you finally believe that it IS possible to make money from your writing (or art, design, etc), then you can start to find ways to monetize it while sharing your gifts with the world.
And I’m not advocating that you become a money grubber who rips people off. Far from it. What I’m advocating is finally accepting the power you hold inside you, and finding ways to use your creative gifts to make money so you can get paid to do something you love, and be happy every single day.
Living someone else’s life and working toward someone else’s dream is never going to make you feel as fulfilled as living your life and doing something you truly love will. Never.
3. Lifelong domestication.
Getting a job is like enrolling in a human domestication program. You learn how to be a good pet.
Look around you. Really look. What do you see? Are these the surroundings of a free human being? Or are you living in a cage for unconscious animals? Have you fallen in love with the color beige?
How’s your obedience training coming along? Does your master reward your good behavior? Do you get disciplined if you fail to obey your master’s commands?
Is there any spark of free will left inside you? Or has your conditioning made you a pet for life?
Humans are not meant to be raised in cages. You poor thing…
Seriously! I don’t know who the fuck invented the corporate workplace but I’d like to slap him around a little bit. What sense does it make, especially this day and age, for people to be forced into long commutes and wasted time just to sit behind a desk and do a job they could easily (and better) do from home?
With all the technology and connectivity we have today, we should be working in a way that makes sense! We should be earning our living based on the results we achieve, not on how much time we spend at the office. We should have freedom and control of our time. We should own our lives, not our employers.
As a writer-preneur, I own my life and my freedom. I’m in control of my time 100% of the time. And it feels fantastic.
4. Too many mouths to feed.
Employee income is the most heavily taxed there is. In the USA you can expect that about half your salary will go to taxes. The tax system is designed to disguise how much you’re really giving up because some of those taxes are paid by your employer, and some are deducted from your paycheck. But you can bet that from your employer’s perspective, all of those taxes are considered part of your pay, as well as any other compensation you receive such as benefits. Even the rent for the office space you consume is considered, so you must generate that much more value to cover it. You might feel supported by your corporate environment, but keep in mind that you’re the one paying for it.
Another chunk of your income goes to owners and investors. That’s a lot of mouths to feed.
It isn’t hard to understand why employees pay the most in taxes relative to their income. After all, who has more control over the tax system? Business owners and investors or employees?
You only get paid a fraction of the real value you generate. Your real salary may be more than triple what you’re paid, but most of that money you’ll never see. It goes straight into other people’s pockets.
What a generous person you are!
When you work your ass off, you deserve to see the direct benefit of it. When you work for a company, you don’t get that opportunity. You get a set salary, and when you help make more money for the company, you see nothing extra from it. Sometimes you don’t even get to take part in the project itself! (I’ve worked for so many companies where I did all the writing and marketing work on a project, but then didn’t get to be part of the “launch” events because I wasn’t a member of the leadership team.)
Screw that! Today I continue to work my ass off, and when my company makes more money or has a really big success, I see direct benefit of it. I not only earn more money, but I also get to be directly involved in helping people transform their lives. It’s the greatest feeling in the whole world. It’s an added benefit that I’m also getting paid.
5. Way too risky.
Many employees believe getting a job is the safest and most secure way to support themselves.
Social conditioning is amazing. It’s so good it can even make people believe the exact opposite of the truth.
Does putting yourself in a position where someone else can turn off all your income just by saying two words (“You’re fired”) sound like a safe and secure situation to you? Does having only one income stream honestly sound more secure than having 10?
The idea that a job is the most secure way to generate income is just silly. You can’t have security if you don’t have control, and employees have the least control of anyone. If you’re an employee, then your real job title should be professional gambler.
You have no control over what happens to you in the corporate world (or any other job world). Your company can drop you tomorrow if the bottom line says it should and then you’re out on your ass with nothing. Take some damn control of your life!
Whether or not you want to keep your job, you should still be finding ways to earn income from other places. The rich don’t typically get rich from one thing alone. Most celebrities and rich investors have several different streams of income. That way if one dries up, they’re not going broke because they have money coming in from other places.
It’s really risky and really stupid to only make money from one thing. I personally make my money from a variety of different things: workshops, coaching, freelance writing, freelance marketing projects, social media consulting, eGuides, etc. If one of those streams dries up, I have others to fall back on. I’m not totally screwed. Not like I would be if I had a day job as my only form of income.
6. Having an evil bovine master.
When you run into an idiot in the entrepreneurial world, you can turn around and head the other way. When you run into an idiot in the corporate world, you have to turn around and say, “Sorry, boss.”
Did you know that the word boss comes from the Dutch word baas, which historically means master? Another meaning of the word boss is “a cow or bovine.” And in many video games, the boss is the evil dude that you have to kill at the end of a level.
So if your boss is really your evil bovine master, then what does that make you? Nothing but a turd in the herd.
Who’s your daddy?
When I first started working for myself, I grabbed for whatever freelance gigs I could (since I quit my job cold-turkey without saving any money up first). But after a few months when I got back on my feet, I dropped the clients that I didn’t want to work with anymore. (Some of my first clients were the companies I used to work for.)
And while at the time I was very appreciative of the work, I eventually decided that I wanted to only work with people/companies who are doing good in the world. The companies I used to work for definitely weren’t. So I said goodbye and now all of my clients are people/companies doing good in the world. That helps me sleep at night.
When you’re a self-employed creative you get to choose who you work with on a daily basis. When one person isn’t working out, you say goodbye and move on. When you’re in the corporate world, you don’t get that luxury.
7. Begging for money.
When you want to increase your income, do you have to sit up and beg your master for more money? Does it feel good to be thrown some extra Scooby Snacks now and then?
Or are you free to decide how much you get paid without needing anyone’s permission but your own?
If you have a business and one customer says “no” to you, you simply say “next.”
When you create your own sources of income using your creative gifts, you get to decide how much you’re worth. You name the price based on the value you bring people. There’s so much you have to offer the world, why not shine your light and stop begging for money from your employer?
8. An inbred social life.
Many people treat their jobs as their primary social outlet. They hang out with the same people working in the same field. Such incestuous relations are social dead ends. An exciting day includes deep conversations about the company’s switch from Sparkletts to Arrowhead, the delay of Microsoft’s latest operating system, and the unexpected delivery of more Bic pens. Consider what it would be like to go outside and talk to strangers. Ooooh… scary! Better stay inside where it’s safe.
If one of your co-slaves gets sold to another master, do you lose a friend? If you work in a male-dominated field, does that mean you never get to talk to women above the rank of receptionist? Why not decide for yourself whom to socialize with instead of letting your master decide for you? Believe it or not, there are locations on this planet where free people congregate. Just be wary of those jobless folk — they’re a crazy bunch!
Rumor has it you’ll only be as successful as the 5 people you spend the most time with. And if you’re spending most of your time with a bunch of corporate slaves, well, I guess you know what that says about your success.
You need to branch out and spend time with other creative people. And not just creative people, but writer-preneurs specifically. Start spending time with people like that and you’ll start to see success is not very far out of reach.
9. Loss of freedom.
It takes a lot of effort to tame a human being into an employee. The first thing you have to do is break the human’s independent will. A good way to do this is to give them a weighty policy manual filled with nonsensical rules and regulations. This leads the new employee to become more obedient, fearing that s/he could be disciplined at any minute for something incomprehensible. Thus, the employee will likely conclude it’s safest to simply obey the master’s commands without question. Stir in some office politics for good measure, and we’ve got a freshly minted mind slave.
As part of their obedience training, employees must be taught how to dress, talk, move, and so on. We can’t very well have employees thinking for themselves, now can we? That would ruin everything.
God forbid you should put a plant on your desk when it’s against the company policy. Oh no, it’s the end of the world! Cindy has a plant on her desk! Summon the enforcers! Send Cindy back for another round of sterility training!
Free human beings think such rules and regulations are silly of course. The only policy they need is: “Be smart. Be nice. Do what you love. Have fun.”
You have a brain–use it damn it! Stop letting the media and society and your job tell you who to be and how to live.
Think for yourself for a change. Does any of the crap you’ve been taught to believe even resonate with you anymore? Or do you feel like a phony most days, trying to blend in with the rest of the sheep when you’re actually bright neon yellow on the inside?
That’s how I always felt. I felt like I was under-utilized and held back in every job I’ve ever had. I was ready to make shit happen, and corporate rules, regulations and bullshit held me back from ever having the chance to complete a project and see it through to success.
Now I not only come up with ideas for the projects I work on (and choose the ones I want to work on), but I also get to create them, see them through to the end and watch them become successful over time. I wouldn’t give that up for any job in the world.
10. Becoming a coward.
Have you noticed that employed people have an almost endless capacity to whine about problems at their companies? But they don’t really want solutions – they just want to vent and make excuses why it’s all someone else’s fault. It’s as if getting a job somehow drains all the free will out of people and turns them into spineless cowards. If you can’t call your boss a jerk now and then without fear of getting fired, you’re no longer free. You’ve become your master’s property.
When you work around cowards all day long, don’t you think it’s going to rub off on you? Of course it will. It’s only a matter of time before you sacrifice the noblest parts of your humanity on the altar of fear: first courage… then honesty… then honor and integrity… and finally your independent will. You sold your humanity for nothing but an illusion. And now your greatest fear is discovering the truth of what you’ve become.
I don’t care how badly you’ve been beaten down. It is never too late to regain your courage. Never!
Do you actually enjoy complaining? Does it make you feel good to put yourself in a negative space for so many hours every day, five days a week, 52 weeks a year?
When I was working a day job, my life was a negative complaining mess. I spent my entire 8 hour work day either complaining to my coworkers or listening to them complain to me. It was exhausting! And I was over it.
Today I can’t even think of the last time I complained about anything. Which is a huge shift from where I was a year ago. My life now is about gratitude and being so thankful for this amazing life I’ve created, because I was brave enough to trust myself and trust the creative gifts that I’ve been given.
Still want a job?
NOTE: The link in the text above to the Job Escape Kit is an affiliate link.
Image courtesy of katsrcool