Most people that start a blog hope to make a little bit of money from their efforts.
I know I was stoked to make my first $100 bucks from my blog. Even though I was probably averaging about $.76/per hour. Haha!
Many bloggers dream to make real money that allow them to help out with their finances. But how many actually dream that their blogs will allow them to quit their day job?
One blogger did and his name is Tom Ewer.
Tom blogs at LeavingWorkBehind.com where writes about his journey from having the steady 9 to 5 to giving all that up to chase his dream of running an online business.
Well, that dream has become reality.
Tom and I have connected on the interwebs and we’ll definitely have him on the D&R Podcast next year. Being impatient though, I wanted to get Tom on the blog to share his story with all of you.
Here’s our interview with Tom….
Sure thing. Leaving Work Behind is a blog and online community for people who want to quit their jobs and build a life of freedom and flexibility. It’s not necessarily about making a six-figure income (although plenty of us certainly have that as a goal) — it’s ultimately about creating a fulfilling and happy life. I know that sounds a little “out there,” but I’m not a particularly spiritual guy and I take a very practical approach to the process.
As for my journey, it actually started with Leaving Work Behind back in May 2011. I launched the blog as an accountability journal — to keep tabs on my money-making (or not!) projects.
For the first six months or so I achieved very little; in fact, I lost money. But I eventually stumbled across freelance blogging as a means of making money and haven’t looked back since.
These days I make money from my writing business and Leaving Work Behind itself (through affiliate marketing and information product sales).
I also have other projects on the go that I hope to monetize in 2014.
Dropping the Day Job
When I got paid for my first freelance writing gig, my eyes really opened to the possibilities. Although the hourly rate at the time was low ($15 from memory), I could see the potential.
For example, $15 per hour at 40 hours per week represented an annual salary in excess of $30,000. I wouldn’t say it was evident that I could replace my nine to five job at that point, but I could certainly see that it was a possibility.
The biggest one was self-doubt. I think that’s a real beast for most people and can prove to be a real barrier to success. The key to overcoming that for me was to objectify and rationalize my concerns.
For example, although I had doubts that I could make a living out of freelance blogging, I couldn’t deny the simple math of the calculation I made above. Put simply, if I could find the clients, I could make a living at the rate I was already being paid.
And although I didn’t tell myself this at the time, these days I always tell people who doubt their abilities the following: Whatever you’re trying to achieve, others out there who are less intelligent, less capable, less experienced and with fewer assets to help them have already achieved it. There is absolutely no reason why you can’t join their ranks.
The above actually! Realizing that your planned achievements are a drop in the ocean compared to the breadth of human achievement does really help to form a healthy perspective on your goals.
What They Don’t Tell You
It’s not the dream that many people assume it is.
Don’t get me wrong — I love what I do and I would never go back into employment. I definitely made the right move. It was perfect for me but it’s not perfect for everyone.
You’ll have to cope with spending a lot of time on your own and being excluded from the typically social environment of most workplaces. Furthermore, you’ll have to cope with the pressure of generating income on a month-by-month basis. A paycheck is constant (most of the time) — your income won’t be.
Of course, the potential upsides are huge, but they should be put into perspective.
Show Me the Money
My main source of revenue at the moment is the money I make from my writing business. Although I started out as a freelance writer, I now outsource the writing part of my work to subcontractors and work in an editorial role to ensure that their work is fit for distribution to my clients.
In terms of diversification, I am currently working on expanding the income streams from Leaving Work Behind. I will do this by expanding my audience and creating new information products.
Finally, I always try to have other standalone projects on the go — to keep me familiar with the perspective of my LWB readers (who are typically just starting up their business). I’m currently working on a health and fitness blogs for “normal” people called Healthy Enough, which I’m really passionate about.
My ultimate plan is to develop it into one of the biggest health and fitness blogs on the internet. So I’m setting my sights pretty high there 😉
There aren’t that many things that I can’t live without, and I like it that way. I don’t like to rely wholly. upon anything. I’m afraid that those things I do really covet are pretty bog standard:
- Gmail: the best email client out there
- Evernote: for keeping notes on projects, etc. all in one place
- Dropbox: cloud storage rocks!
- Google Drive: for collaboration and files I regularly work on
- Freshbooks: to bill my clients
- Byword: for writing minimally
- Mac Reminders: to keep my to do list in order!
- My moleskine notebook: I use this to write out my to dos in small blocks so that I don’t get overwhelmed by them
Don’t Do This
Trying to do so too soon. You’ll see someone with 10 visitors a day plastering their site with AdSense. it makes no sense (pun not intended) to do that.
Build an audience, get them to trust you and build rapport. Then carefully consider how you will monetize that goodwill. Don’t jump the gun.
Just one: persist. I know that things can seem pretty fruitless at time, but persistence makes success all but inevitable. It trumps intelligence, experience, and all those other coveted qualities that are considered so important. If you keep trying you will eventually succeed.
Thanks, Tom, for the awesome interview!