Writer Entrepreneur: Lifestyle Design Part 1

Once upon a time, I wanted to be a karate teacher when I grew up. This epiphany hit me when I was 23 and just finishing up a Psychology degree. I spent the next half decade working my way up through the ranks and volunteering to teach at a karate academy in New Mexico. I saved money for starting expenses, then spent two years in Japan — where I got a job coaching a local karate team.

I came home. A year later, I owned a karate school. I loved lots of it, especially the relationships I formed with my students. There were aspects I didn’t love:

  • Making $20,000 a year.
  • Working 80-plus hours a week.
  • Dealing with the hours of daily scut work involved in running a brick-and-mortar business.
  • Rarely having time for vacation.
  • Working evenings with kids at home.
  • Firing people.
  • Collecting on bills.
  • Paying merchant services fees, especially the lease on the credit card machine (seriously, those guys are like the Mafia without any of the grace and charm).
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I did that — but I’m equally glad I don’t do that any more. When I closed my school (equal parts bad economy and the factors above), I wound up writing on the strength of the portfolio I’d developed writing for my business.
I’ve had job offers since, some in the martial arts field. I like writing — but not as much as I like teaching karate. However…
  • I make three times the money, working an average of 15 hours a week.
  • My schedule is completely flexible — meaning I can volunteer for my oldest son, and be home for the baby.
  • I have time for my hobbies, including martial arts.
  • We go on three or four vacations a year.
  • My billing is all by check or Paypal, and I rarely have to chase clients.
  • A writing business is simpler than a brick-and-mortar shop.
  • I can write from anywhere in the world.
Which is a long way to say that freelance writing gives me the lifestyle I want. It allows me to be a great hubby and dad, and gives me the time to indulge my wide and varied interests. It’s not for everybody, but if you’re reading this blog — it’s probably for you.
But that lifestyle doesn’t come without work and attention. Part 2 of this series will be some specific techniques and considerations for making freelance writing give you exactly the life you want.

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