How I’m Reducing Freelance Writing into a 4-Hour Work Week

The freelance writer and more time

I re-read the The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris recently. I devoured it for the first time a few years ago but have since forgotten some of the principles that struck such a chord with me back then.

I already live some of the concepts explored in the book. For instance, I quit my job to work remotely as a freelance writer online so that I could take regular ‘mini-retirements’. (A mini retirement questions the tiresome theory that you should work a job you hate for 40 years in order to spend your last 20 in the way you can do so at regular intervals throughout your life anyway.)

I’ll be taking my freelance writing business on the road for a mini retirement at the end of the year: The day after Boxing Day I’ll touch down in southern India to spend a month finding my Zen and exploring the beaches and backwaters, before heading to Australia (an old fave) for a month – followed by a few months on the beaches of Southeast Asia. (I’ll wait until the weather warms up in the UK and return to London just in time for the start of our ‘summer’.)

What are freelance writers missing from the 4-Hour Work Week then?

I hate to be the one to point out the obvious but as freelance writers, the bit we’re missing from Timothy Ferris’ book is, well… we’re not working 4-hour weeks.

Well are you? I’m certainly not.

The problem (if there is one) with freelance writing online for a living is that, while it means I can live my life exactly as I please – and from anywhere I choose – it isn’t scalable. (I know, awful term isn’t it?) What this means for me and possibly you (or future you) is that we actually have to spend lots of time on our writing work; it cannot be outsourced.

If you build your freelance 4-Hour Work Weekwriting reputation well, it means that what you’re ‘selling’ to potential clients is you as a writer, so any outsourcing of the physical writing process is only going to end in disappointment. (Or a heck of a lot of micro-managing that would negate the whole process in the first place!)

In The 4-Hour Work Week, Ferris talks about automating and outsourcing your ‘muse’ (read: any money-making project) so that you can concentrate on your life-long goals, as well as – STOP PRESS! – things you simply enjoy doing.

How many of you, for instance, have often dreamed of writing a book but your freelance writing clients – or other work commitments – just take up too much of your time?

Have you ever day-dreamed about finding the time to learn a new language in a foreign country or pursue a new skill just for the fun of it in your home town?

This is what The 4-Hour Work Week is all about and with this in mind, the following questions need to be addressed at this stage in my own freelance writing career:

  • How I can offer more value to people?
  • How can I write about more of the things I really want to write about?
  • How can I engage in less W4W’s sake (work for work’s sake) and work smarter instead of more?
  • How can I earn good money while securing opportunities to earn more money in the future?

The answer?

I build something. I innovate. I create my own product.

I’ve written a bit about this before – and in my book, How to Start a Travel Blog and Make Moneybut without a shadow of a doubt, now is the time to make this happen.

So what is this product and what’s it got to do with you, right?

My product will be a comprehensive downloadable course on how to become a freelance writer online, but at a fraction of the cost of college (or even most online) courses.

I’ve started work on it and it’s already shaping up to be a useful, high quality and practical educational tool for beginner (or stuck) real-world freelance writers online.

Although I’m aware this alone isn’t enough:

It also needs to sell. It needs to be what people really want. (Not everyone – but certainly those that count.) And I need to reach these people in the most effective way.

And that’s where you come in! Whether you’re just starting out as a freelance writer or if you’ve learned the hard way what it takes to be a success online, please vote in my poll to help me determine the name of this course. ***UPDATE: This poll is now closed. Thank you to everybody who took part.***

And yes, the initial work to produce this course will be a lot more than I’m doing now, but once the work is done – who knows – I could be looking at a very pleasant 4-hour work week very soon indeed…

**UPDATE: The course is now ready! Click here to find out exactly what it covers and see if it’s right for you.**

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photo credit: BramstonePhotography via photopin cc

9 Comments

  • Dylan

    Reply Reply October 8, 2013

    Survey completed 🙂 Best of luck to you, Kirsty.
    And thanks again for your inspiring blog posts.

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply October 8, 2013

      Thank YOU Dylan. Much appreciated 🙂

  • Fab! I’d say you can scale as a freelance writer, it’s more about whether a person wants to, as it’s a different model and working experience than ‘just you’.

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply October 8, 2013

      I’m certainly feeling that now is the time for me to scale Rosie. Can I really achieve more money with less work though? Watch this space…

  • Jackson Anderson

    Reply Reply October 8, 2013

    Best of luck Kirsty! I’m sure it’ll be a great product upon completion!
    Also I’m sure the success of your previous travel blog product will come in handy getting this one off the ground and save you some time on lessons already learnt!
    Keen to see the finished product!

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply October 8, 2013

      Thanks Jackson! Really appreciate your kind comments 🙂 Creating and launching my travel eBook certainly did teach me some lessons!

  • Roberto Lebron

    Reply Reply October 9, 2013

    Good post. I started my journey towards freelancing with Tim Ferris. Scaling is indeed a problem for freelance writers. If you can write copy, affiliate marketing is an interesting option to creating your own product — and nothing says you can’t do both. Best wishes to you, Kirsty, and keep those posts coming!

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply October 10, 2013

      Yes, I see affiliate marketing as a nice little ‘side gig’ option. I think combining this with my own product(s) is probably going to be most effective. Thanks for your support Roberto – the last four words of your comment mean more than you think. 🙂

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