If you spend much time in this blog, you?re probably aware that I often claim to make a comfortable living as a freelance blog writer. That?s not just comfortable in the financial sense ? although that?s also true ? but even more so as a lifestyle. Freelance blog writing has given me a level of control over my time and my work that I?ve never known in any other career field. But at the same time, I don?t want to infer that it can create a life of leisure.
Much closer to the truth is that if you want to become a freelance blog writer, or anything comparable, you?d better be prepared to work. Progress in life requires forward motion, and that only comes about with effort. In my own experience, being a freelance blog writer absolutely creates a better quality of life. But it doesn?t create a life of leisure.
That?s not to discourage you from trying to become a freelance blog writer, but more to set the proper expectation. There are a lot of benefits to this occupation, but at the same time there?s absolutely nothing magical about it. Success depends on effort more than anything else.
My guess is that anyone who works as a freelance blog writer ? or a freelance anything anywhere on the Internet ? will tell you something very similar.
Unless You?re Fully Retired a Life of Leisure is a Myth
Have you noticed how America has become virtually obsessed with retirement? I think there?s a lot more to that obsession than a simple desire to have a comfortable retirement.
Closer to the truth, I think a lot of people hate the work they do and can?t get out soon enough. Many are painfully aware that there?s no get-rich-quick scheme that will spring them out of occupational hell anytime in the near future. Instead, they focus their efforts on building that golden escape hatch by age 65 or even sooner.
In fact, the F.I.R.E. movement ? as in, Financial Independence, Early Retire ? is virtually built on that premise. You work in a generally high-income occupation, save a disproportionate amount of your earnings, invest aggressively, and spring yourself out of your cubicle as early as 30 or 35.
Don?t get me wrong, I think there?s a lot of merit to the F.I.R.E. movement. I just don?t think it?s possible for the average person.
Most of the F.I.R.E. stories I?ve read (or written about) involve people who earn six-figure incomes. In fact, I?d say most of them earn $150,000 per year and up. When you consider that the median household income in the US is sitting at around $62,000, early retirement will be a serious stretch for the vast majority of households.
After all, it?s one thing to retire in 10 or 15 years by saving 30%, 40% or 50% of a $150,000 income. But it?s entirely another matter trying to save the same percentage on an income of $60,000 or $70,000.
Newsflash: F.I.R.E. Doesn?t Create a Life of Leisure ? At Least Not When You?re Preparing For It
I don?t want to come down too hard on the F.I.R.E. movement, because as I said, it has a lot of merit. Any strategy or commitments that move you closer to financial independence is well worth pursuing. Even if you can?t retire by the time you?re 35 or 40, having a fat investment portfolio and a well-stocked bank account always opens a lot of doors.
And while success in the F.I.R.E. movement can ultimately create a life of leisure, the road getting to that point can be pure torture. Once again, this is especially true if you?re making substantially less than six figures. Can you imagine the sacrifice involved trying to save 30% of a gross income of $60,000? That takes $18,000 away from what you have to live on between now and the time you retire. And if taxes take another $10,000, you?re down to living on just $32,000 per year.
That?s not impossible if you?re single and living in a low-cost area. But if you have a family to support, and particularly if you live in a metropolitan area, it?s probably not doable. Health insurance costs alone will eat up a big chunk of that $32,000. Housing, transportation, and groceries will likely outstrip what?s left. And that?s not even accounting for debt payments.
But let?s get away from the F.I.R.E. movement, and look at the proliferation of moneymaking schemes that are all over the place. There are all kinds of programs being touted that will make you rich, from day trading programs to how-to-get-rich-in-real-estate schemes. I?ve lived long enough to realize there’s a strong connection between get rich quick schemes and economic bubbles. Those schemes are one of the best indications that the economy is getting ready to stall out.
The Power of the Promise of Easy Money
Hopefully, you?re not falling for those schemes. Not only are the vast majority scams, but you can lose a lot of time, effort and money trying to follow them. And when the economy does tank, you?ll already be in a weakened state.
Unfortunately, a lot of people do just that. And who can blame them. The hope of riches, accompanied by a life of abundant leisure, is a powerful and enduring draw. It?s the driving force behind the desire to find the fabled somewhere over the rainbow. But sitting somewhere over the rainbow is the same planet Earth you?re living on right now, so don?t get your hopes up.
I?m writing this article, because while I?ve been championing the idea of freelance blog writing for close to a decade, the last thing I want to do is give the impression that a life of leisure is part of that equation.
Making More Money ? But?
It?s true that I?m making more money now than I ever have before. But I must also add that I?m working harder now than I ever have before. Freelance blog writing, for all its better qualities, requires an abundance of hard work. In a typical week, I easily work more than 40 hours.
This is especially true as each month wears on, and orders for more articles stack up. This is when I wish I had a twin, or at least some sort of squire I could hand some assignments off to. But it?s highly specialized writing, where clients rely heavily on the specific skills, writing style, and even the ?voice? the writer brings to each project.
The work itself can be pretty intense. Obviously, there are varying degrees of difficulty between assignments. But there are plenty that require laser-focused attention for several hours. Yes, I take breaks along the way, reading emails, making phone calls, surfing the web, listening to music, and even taking short walks. But the assignment is still waiting for me when break time is over.
What Freelance Blog Writing Will Do For You ? Even if it Doesn?t Create a Life of Leisure
Have I scared you away from freelance blog writing yet? Hopefully not, because it has more virtues than drawbacks. In fact, hard work is only a negative if you don?t like to work at all. In my case, I get a lot of satisfaction from working. I?ve always felt that work gives me a certain relevance by keeping me connected to the economic universe, as well as creating? an enduring sense of accomplishment.
But there?s more to it than that.
Control Over My Time
Yes, I do work more than 40 hours a week. And yes, the work can get pretty intense. But I have a massive built-in advantage in that I have control over my time. That?s more important to me than the number of hours I work in a week. After all, as long as I can arrange my schedule to accommodate what I need and want to do on a personal level, the number of hours I work isn?t all that important.
Work From Home
I also get to work at home, which is an incalculable advantage. Eliminating a daily commute is only the most obvious benefit. But I love not having a fixed schedule, not having to put up with cranky coworkers, not having to attend senseless meetings, and not having someone looking over my shoulder every minute of the day.
The Portability Factor
As a freelance blog writer, my occupation is completely portable. I can do it anywhere there?s an Internet connection. That gives me complete control over where I want to live. That can be a large metropolitan area, a small city or town, or even somewhere on the beach. That?s not something that can be said about running a brick-and-mortar business or even about most on-site jobs.
An Opportunity to be Creative
And finally, there?s the creativity angle. I usually get topics from clients, and sometimes loose templates to work with. But everything else about freelance blog writing is like an artist painting a portrait. You start with the basic concept, and where it goes from there is completely up to you. It keeps the work from getting boring.
So no, a freelance blog writing career doesn?t create a life of leisure. But it comes with a host of other benefits, even many more than I?ve listed here.
And I?ll take it one step farther. If you?re already retired, or you?re a homemaker, freelance blog writing can be done on a part-time basis. There?s no requirement to work 40 hours a week or anything even close. You can choose to work 20 hours a week, or even just 10. It really depends on how much income you need.
But you may find the extra income you earn from it makes the leisure time you do have a lot more fun. After all, it?ll give you extra money to spend while you?re looking for things to do in your spare time.