Why Every Writer Should Start a Lifestyle Business

Lifestyle businessYou know a lifestyle business is for you if you can relate to any of this…

When you were younger and first started full-time work, being part of the rat race was OK – exciting even. You felt sort of lucky and revelled in the buzz of being part of something.

You weren’t entirely sure what that something was, but you assumed it was something bigger than you and worth the hard work and sacrifice of your time and energy.

Maybe you studied hard to get an entry level role in your field and relished the fact that you were on your way somewhere, working your way up the ladder.

Fast forward a few years (or more) and you’re now fully embedded in the cotton wool of corporate life. The initial feeling of naïve excitement has all but died out.

Instead it’s replaced with a vague sense of cosy reassurance that can only come with years of doing exactly what everybody else is doing. You look around and wonder if anybody else is feeling somewhere between content and completely hollow at exactly the same time.

The people around you just stare vacantly back at you though, and you see your face in theirs as clearly as if looking in a mirror.

You decide one day that you want something different. You want something more.

That’s how I felt when I quit my day job in the summer of 2012 and decided to create a new career for myself. I began freelance writing and blogging and, although I didn’t know it at the time, I was laying the foundations of a lifestyle business based around the writing skills I already had.

>> I went from full-time worker to full-time writer online – from scratch. Find out how you can do the same RIGHT HERE.

So what is this ‘lifestyle business’ notion I speak of?

Simply put, it’s a business that fits around your lifestyle, rather than the other way around. For example, most people doing the nine to five grind only travel, spend time on their hobbies and socialise with friends and family in the evenings, weekends and holidays.

With a lifestyle business you can live and work as you please, and more importantly for some people (like me), from anywhere in the world you decide to wander.

Some people say we have it the wrong way round in western culture – we live to work instead of working to live.

Personally I don’t want a life with no work – but I certainly don’t want to work and have no life either.

That’s why writers are in such a great position for this type of lifestyle: If I want to travel or develop a hobby, why can’t I make money from writing about it? If I want to write, why can’t I do it from a beach bungalow in Thailand?

With a lifestyle business the lines between work and play are blurred, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard work. Let me repeat that sentiment because I don’t want you to get a fluffy, idealistic idea about lifestyle businesses here:

It takes a lot of hard work to set up a lifestyle business and a lot of hard work to maintain it.

To be totally honest with you I haven’t got mine completely all figured out yet. I’ve got half of it down – I’ve got freelance writing clients that I can write for from anywhere in the world I choose to be.

But I know there’s more to it than that.

As writers we can use our wily skills to maximise the potential of different ventures. I want to continue to maximise my earning potential through freelance writing work, but I also want to look at implementing other strategies that will put me more in charge of my writing business.

There are different ways to do this. For example, I have my own freelance writing course on Udemy and a travel blogging eBook on Amazon.

While having your own product or book to offer is great, sometimes it can be a while in the making. If you haven’t got something of your own to offer people just yet, you can look at alternative ways to make money from your writing in the meantime.

You can partner with other people and promote their products. Now, there are sleazy and non-sleazy ways to do this – you can read more about that over here: One of the Best Ways to Make Money Online (Without Being Seedy).

These are just a few ways to turn your freelance writing career into a full-time, legit lifestyle business. What other ideas do you have?

>> Find out exactly how to make money from writing, plus get pitching templates and all sorts of tricks and tools the top freelance writers are using to make money in the Complete Freelance Writing Online Course: Beginner to Pro.

15 Comments

  • Manny Frishberg

    Reply Reply April 27, 2013

    I’ve been freelancing for at least most of the last 17 years — not entirely by choice. Jobs in the magazine and journalism field have been scarce even before the Internet threw the whole publishing business through a loop.
    In that time I’ve seen lots of self-help books extolling the benefits of freelancing (and usually leaving out such things as paying for health insurance, never, ever getting a real vacation, and constant hustle for clients/assignments).
    I’m very good at what I do, yet I’ve seldom managed to make even $25,000 a year — gross.
    Sure, there are folks making out very well, but there are also many more barely making ends meet (if they do even that well).
    I don’t mean to be too discouraging but success in this is often a matter of hitting the right niche market and/o being better than most writers at marketing themselves.

    • Kirsty

      Reply Reply April 27, 2013

      Hi Manny,

      Thanks for your comment. I agree that this can be a tough way to make a living. Certainly when I looked into making a living by being published on a regular basis in magazines and newspapers I felt really up against it! The good news is that the Internet has opened up a whole host of opportunities for me as a writer. I started small and built up a client base from there. It’s taken a lot of hard work but things are good…for now – but as you say, the life of a freelancer is a constant hustle for more clients and work further down the line. That’s why I think it’s important for freelance writers to look into other ways to make money without relying entirely on their client base, and this is what I’m starting to look into myself, beginning with this post.

      Although freelancing can be tough and is not for everyone (or even most people) it suits people like me who enjoy the freedom to work from anywhere. I’ve designed my life so that I have few financial commitments – just a personal choice – so I’m free to pick up and go travelling for a few months here and there and still work with relatively no hassle. (Travel is my other greatest love, besides writing.)

      Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts.

    • Justin

      Reply Reply June 19, 2015

      Or the fact that getting PAID by said clients is often like pulling teeth. I’d probably be in a different tax bracket if I actually got paid for all the freelance jobs I did. My most recent one, a publication promised me money for one story, ran it, didn’t pay me, assigned me another story, and then had the gall to bitch about needing to make ‘tight deadlines’ so they could get to press.

      Yeah, freelancing is a blast if you like working for free. They don’t call it freelancing for nothing.

      So not to rain on this writer’s parade, but I couldn’t disagree more.

      • Kirsty Stuart

        Reply Reply June 21, 2015

        Ah, you’re not raining on anything Justin. I’m just sorry that you’ve had such a bad experience with a client. I’ve had to chase the odd invoice before but certainly not had such unfortunate treatment from any of my clients. It happens though, as you’re testament to. Best thing to do is to move on as quickly as possible. Put it behind you and never work for that client again. There are good clients out there that will appreciate your worth and pay you accordingly – promise. Thanks for taking the time to comment, particularly as you seem to be going through a tough time at the moment.

  • Geek Girl

    Reply Reply April 27, 2013

    Nice to meet you! I am here from BHB on LInkedIn. My husband has been doing this now for years and is quite successful. I am just beginning down this path and from what I can see, those who have a book to sell are all selling the same thing with the same information written in their own style. I am not saying it is isn’t worth while, just that you can invest a lot of money and end up with the same information.

    • Kirsty

      Reply Reply April 27, 2013

      Hi Geek Girl and thanks for commenting!

      Yes, I think you’re right – there seems to be a lot of people doing the same thing with nothing really new to add. I guess the key is to find your own niche, really hone it down and go at it from your own unique angle. Every single thing has been done by somebody else at some point – lots of times over in some cases – but if you really feel you can add value by approaching a topic differently I’d say it was worth the hard work. I wouldn’t recommend investing too much money to start with though – totally unnecessary!

      Thanks again for stopping by!

  • Jon Jefferson

    Reply Reply April 27, 2013

    I am interested to see what you come up with.

    • Kirsty

      Reply Reply April 28, 2013

      Stay tuned Jon!

  • Jeri

    Reply Reply April 29, 2013

    I quit my teaching job in order to write my first book. There came a point where I asked myself if I could see myself teaching the same lessons day in and out for the next 20-30 years and my heart just kinda deflated. Now I’m writing, blogging, and starting to take on freelance editing jobs. Now I have more time to devote to a lifestyle filled with travel. Chances are, I may not ever make a “real” living as an editor, but as my husband tells me, I just need to keep my nose to the grindstone. Good luck with all your endeavors as well 😉

    • Kirsty

      Reply Reply April 30, 2013

      That’s really brave Jeri. I particularly love that you’re devoting more time to travel as this is something that’s really important to me too.

      I found when I first started out on this path that after working for little reward for months on end, it finally started paying off, so keep at it – you never know what’s around the next corner after all. Thanks for stopping by Jeri.

  • Casey

    Reply Reply June 23, 2014

    I know I’m a bit late to read this (but that’s the beauty of the Internet, right?), but I just wanted to say your post is very encouraging. I’m a writer for a large company and it’s been good to me. Yet I’m also curious to explore other avenues of writing, and that starts with looking for more freelance work. We’ll see where it takes me. Thanks again!

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply June 23, 2014

      You’re welcome Casey. Its sounds as though you’re in a great position to start building up a freelance career.

  • Jean

    Reply Reply July 22, 2014

    Hi, I wish I would have stumbled on this earlier. I’m just getting started working on my computer. I have a blog and I also do some freelance work and so far , so good. Laying the foundations is the hardest part, but once you take that brave step, it all works out. Thanks for your advice.

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply July 22, 2014

      You’re welcome Jean.

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