Leaving Work Behind

How I Turned My Business and Life Around (Plus an Income Update)

Written by Tom Ewer on December 17, 2014. 59 Comments

DollarsIt’s been a long time since I last brought you up to speed on my goings-on.

Why? Because for the past several months, I don’t really feel like I’ve had anything to say! Not a lot has been going on from a business perspective, and I’ve hardly felt like the best possible example of the hard work and sacrifice it takes to leave work behind, nor the level of motivation that is required.

But now I want to take this opportunity to bring you up to speed. The past few months have been eventful in their own way, and I now find myself in a place of relative calm from which I can reflect upon 2014 and consider what I may choose to do in 2015 – both professionally and personally. Keep Reading

The Only Figure That Matters (Why My Income Reports Have Been Wrong)

Written by Tom Ewer on December 20, 2013. 24 Comments

Dollar SignI recently announced that I will no longer be publishing income reports here on Leaving Work Behind.

Reactions were mixed — from disappointed to supportive (and combinations of the two). While I knew it was the right decision for me, I was curious to observe what you guys thought.

What I found most interesting was that not one person commented on how no longer publishing income reports might affect my business. After all, I said in the post that I would no longer be keeping track of the money I make on a month-to-month basis. I’m surprised that no one picked up on that and called me crazy. After all, what kind of businessman doesn’t know how much money he’s making?

In this post I want to reveal the only figure that really matters to me and explain how my income reports have been misleading me for a long time.

The Only Figure That Matters

I wasn’t even keeping track of the only figure that matters until I started thinking seriously about stopping income reports. In fact, my income reports were actually preventing me from seeing the real truth of my financial situation.

So what is the only figure that matters? Simple: total liquid capital — i.e. the amount of freely available cash you have in your bank account(s).

On the 20th of every month, I take five minutes to add up the money in all of my accounts:

I exclude any money I put aside for tax. If I had any money tied into investments, I would exclude that too, but I would include any income produced by those investments.

I log these figures in a spreadsheet and compare the total to the previous month. If this month’s figure is comfortably higher than last month’s, I’m happy. If the figure is getting a little too close for comfort or is in the red, I know I need to take action.

More than any other, this figure represents reality. It’s not just a number on a page (like all of the numbers I had in my income reports); it represents the actual cash I have in my bank. It represents my financial security — my ability to live my life in its current guise.

In my opinion, any figure which distracts you from your total liquid capital should be discarded. Nothing is more important.

Money: What Really Counts

People are obsessed with income, but that is only one piece of the puzzle. When it comes to financial security and preserving your way of life, all that truly matters is your liquid capital, which is directly related not only to what you make, but what you spend.

If someone publishes an income report saying they made $20,000 in a month you can be impressed, but what if they spent $30,000 on a new car too? They’re $10k in the red for that month now. Yes, big-figure income reports are impressive, and few people are going to drool over how much money you saved in a month, but those of us in the real world should apply just as much effort to reducing our outgoings as growing our income — especially considering that reducing your outgoings is typically far easier.

I have been hiding from this truth for many months; my income reports have kept me ignorant. Thankfully, with them behind me, I can now see the reality of my real financial situation from month-t0-month.

Ignorance may be bliss, but I’m glad to have had my eyes opened.

But What About Growth?

Although I often say that making money isn’t the most important factor when it comes to running my business, it is still important to me. More money means more security and a greater freedom to mould my business into something that I find as rewarding as possible.

So although I may not be keeping an eye on my specific income figures, I will continue to observe my business’ performance in terms of profit — albeit on a more intuitive level.

My method is quite simple. I can split my business’ main sources of income into three piles:

  1. My writing business
  2. Affiliate income (mainly Westhost)
  3. Product sales (i.e. Paid to Blog)

All I need to do is keep an eye on those figures. I’ll periodically check in on how each income stream is doing (by taking a quick peek at sales figures / projections), and if I spot that anything is awry, I’ll take steps to improve the situation. That’s it.

Could I improve my bottom line by keeping a closer eye on the numbers? Almost certainly. But as a business owner, one can always make more money — one of the key determinants of your profitability is when you choose to say “enough is enough” and apportion more time to other parts of your life.

That’s all I’m doing with my approach. I suppose the only difference is that my relatively laissez-faire attitude — born out of non-profit-oriented priorities — is somewhat unusual.

A Shocking Discovery

Now let’s talk about how my income reports have been “wrong.”

It actually took me stopping income reports to discover that my financial situation isn’t quite as rosy as I realized. Ironically, those income reports were shrouding the truth: that my liquid capital hasn’t been growing as readily as I thought.

Here’s a snapshot of the figures since I started running them:

Total Liquid Capital

On the surface the growth may seem pretty healthy — an increase in liquid capital of ~£2,200 (~$3,500) in less than two months. However, it should be put into perspective. Not only is the surplus gross of tax deductions (and therefore far smaller on a net basis), my income reports had led me to believe that my growth would be more impressive.

For example, my final income report in October announced total earnings of ~$7,500 (~£4,600). My budgeted outgoings are approximately £2,600, which means that my liquid capital should have increased by £2,000 in that month alone. That projection is not reflected by the figures above.

The overriding issue is that my projections are just that: projections.

Firstly, I know that what I budget to spend may not be what I end up spending. Secondly, because of the vagaries of accounting and financial transactions, my income reports did not necessarily reflect the amount of money that ended up in my account in any given month.

The explanation lies partly in the way that I created my income reports: a combination of cash and accrual accounting. I would add up the amount I invoiced to clients, plus what my affiliate partners’ reports said for the month, plus total information product sales, minus cash expenditure in that month.

For the most part, the income I reported would eventually end up in my account, but not necessarily in that month. For example, there is a 90 day holding period on Westhost affiliate payouts, so if I generate $1,500 in sales in January 2014, I won’t get it until April 2014.

The other reason why my income reports did not reflect the money that hit my account was currency charges. I receive the bulk of my money in US$ through PayPal, and they take a very healthy piece of the pie for converting that money into pounds sterling (my native currency). It really hurts to be “double taxed” by PayPal on transaction fees and conversion fees, but that’s the reality of the situation I face.

The moral of the story is this: income reports can be misleading, but the amount of liquid capital you have in the bank can’t. It’s the only truly “honest” figure available.

So What Now?

I’m not panicking. You should know by now that panicking isn’t my style 😉

After all, I’m still making money, and my income reports were broadly correct — while you can take off an amount for conversion charges, the income reported from one month to the next will hit my account eventually.

I now have a far greater awareness about my money than I did before and as such am in a position to make more informed choices — relating to both my income and expenditure. It’s not sexy, but there, I said it.

At the end of the day, money is only money. It’s often put up on a pedestal, but there is more to life. Don’t get me wrong — we all need money to live in relative comfort and security, but earning more than that is a pleasure often blown way out of proportion.

I will strive to increase my income because more money is a good thing (if you treat it with respect). However, it is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to living a fulfilling life. We’d all do well to remind ourselves of that regularly.

Photo Credit: Jordan Lloyd

My Monthly Income Report — October 2013

Written by Tom Ewer on November 11, 2013. 55 Comments

A magnifying glass over $20 notes.I made some bold claims in my last income report. The kind of claims that can come back to bite you on the ass.

I know this as much as anyone. I’ve certainly been the “victim” of expecting too much of myself in the past (although the word “victim” is a misnomer, as the fault has usually been mine).

I knew that as I wrote down those bold claims, but I also knew that I needed a kick up the ass in October. And publicly-stated claims usually provide me with the extra dose of motivation that I so desperately needed after having spent the summer months working (and achieving) very little.

So with the month now over, one overriding question remains: did I follow up on my promise to move forwards with my projects with great speed and gusto? Read on to find out!

What Happened in October?

I started the month with the expectation that it would be one of wrapping things up: namely my much-delayed LWB re-launch and the launch of a brand new online freelance blogging course based upon my existing freelance writing guide.

With my writing business going so smoothly and requiring no more than an hour of my time on average per day, I certainly had the time to get a lot done. And upon reflection, I think I did pretty well.

I certainly wasn’t putting my nose to the grindstone and working all hours of the day and night, but then I don’t want to put myself in that position. What I do want to do is help more people and create greater and more diverse income streams. I have to work in order to do that (a concept I seemed to be lacking an understanding of through the summer).

Most notably, you guys finally saw the re-launch of Leaving Work Behind on 4th November – the result of hard work throughout October. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive so far and I am very happy with how things have gone. Although the re-launch hasn’t resulted an enormous spike in traffic and a huge influx of new subscribers (more of a hump), it has (I think) finally set a solid foundation in place upon which I can build something far greater than what already exists.

I’m especially happy with how quickly the community forums have sprung to life so far. If you haven’t registered yet then do so now and get involved!

People have already got lots to say on the Leaving Work Behind Community Forums!

People have already got lots to say on the Leaving Work Behind Community Forums!

Meanwhile, I didn’t launch my new freelance blogging course course (which will be called Paid to Blog), but I’m not worried about that – I didn’t want the two events to be too close anyway. Now that the smoke has cleared from the launch, I’ll be ready to move ahead with Paid to Blog soon.

With all that said, how did the month go in terms of the numbers?

Monthly Income Report – October 2013

  1. Freelance writing:
    • Income: $7,698.35
    • Expenditure: $2,037.15
    • Profit: $5,661.20
  2. Websites:
    • Income: $2.04
    • Expenditure: $0
    • Profit: $2.04
  3. Affiliate Marketing (Leaving Work Behind):
  4. Information Products:
    • Income: $1,043
    • Expenditure: $58.90
    • Profit: $984.10
  5. eBooks:
    • Income: $42.11
    • Expenditure: $0
    • Profit: $42.11

Total profit for October 2013: $7,556.86

After the huge nosedive that was September’s income report, I’m really delighted to see that things have bounced back so strongly.

But what is interesting is where the money has come from. It’s not that my affiliate or product sales have increased – they are as relatively steady as ever. No – it’s a big increase in my writing earnings that have been the cause October’s healthy uplift. In fact, my gross writing earnings in October were the highest ever.

You may be wondering how this came about. After all, over the past few months I have switched from a pure freelancing role to subcontracting work to writers and acting in an editorial role – making sure that the pieces they produce are suitable for clients and making changes where necessary. So how did I make over $7,500 gross in one month?

The answer is simple really: I secured a number of new clients in October. I can’t tell you why – it’s not like I went out in search of them – but I worked with five new clients in the month.

That’s the beauty of getting referrals through bylines and your blog: you don’t have to be actively in search of new clients for them to materialize. It only strengthens my firm belief that any freelance blogger who wants to elevate themselves must work hard on creating a quality blog.

Looking Forward (and Upward)

While the increased writing income is fantastic, it may well never be higher (I know I’ve said that before, but still…).

Ultimately, I do not want the writing to represent the core of my business. That is why I have poured so much time, energy and money into the re-launch of LWB. Without wanting to sound arrogant (which may be difficult in this case!), I look around me and I think I can help people far more than some other bloggers out there who are far better known than me. Clearly they’re marketing themselves better than I am, but in spite of that, I think what I have to offer is just as (if not more) valuable.

I have resolved myself to the fact that I can’t succeed only by trying to help people. I have to get to those people too, which means actively seeking to increase the reach of Leaving Work Behind (and Healthy Enough). I need to work as much on marketing my content as I do producing it, if not more. Otherwise, my blogs will never fulfill their potential. I’ll be working on that in the coming weeks.

What’s in Store for November?

Although there are now less than two months left in the year, I still have three big projects that I want to complete before 2014 rolls around:

  1. Launching Paid to Blog
  2. Launching my Leaving Work Behind book
  3. “Hard launching” Healthy Enough

I hope to launch Paid to Blog this month and make good progress on my other two goals. I hope that doing so will set December up nicely, enable me to see off 2013 in style and give me a great platform to build upon in 2014.

I feel like the whole year has been building up to these final two months and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

Photo Credit: Images of Money

My Monthly Income Report — September 2013

Written by Tom Ewer on October 1, 2013. 66 Comments

MoneyThere will only be a handful of people reading this who haven’t heard of The 4-Hour Workweek. For many of us it is the dream — while the title of the book is not to be taken literally, the concept of running a successful online business in just a few hours per week is exciting.

I know it is for me. Upon re-reading The 4-Hour Workweek while on vacation in Turkey back in July, I came home with big ideas to revolutionize my online business. I publicly stated that I expected to be making “far more money” within the next three to six months. It has been nearly three months since I made that statement.

What I didn’t fully appreciate at the time was that I was getting caught up in the idea of working less rather than earning more. I was adopting a mindset of laziness rather than dynamism. My inaction over the past three months has taken its toll and this income report is evidence of that.

We all need a wake up call every now and then. I got mine this month.

What Happened in September?

September was a month in which I achieved my goal of doing very little work.

I have got to a point now where I could feasibly work perhaps 5-10 hours per week and make a living. I write a post a week for Leaving Work Behind and also need to handle editing and administration for my writing business. Any work beyond that could be classed as “business development” rather than “business maintenance”.

So there I was, living the dream. But little did I know that working few hours is not exactly a dream. When you’re in the moment it’s great. I had freedom and flexibility to work as I pleased. In the short term it was awesome, but it hasn’t taken me long to understand that living in such a way is ultimately unfulfilling.

As human beings we have a predisposition to work. While there certainly are many people out there who will quite happily go through life achieving nothing, most of us want to feel like we are doing something. Not just existing, but growing through our actions.

I haven’t been growing in September. I have merely been existing. I have languished in a state of inaction, all the while thinking that doing so was what I wanted. But it isn’t. I know that now.

I got some things done in September, but to draw attention to them would be to hide the fact that I did not do nearly as much as I should have done. It would detract from the most valuable lesson that I have learned in some time: there is no such thing as a free ride.

While getting yourself into a position where you can work flexibly is a noble goal, doing so with the intention of doing as little work as possible is not. Ultimately I want to build a legacy — a tangible thing that I can point towards as a result of all my hard work. That requires hard work. I have not been working hard, and boy has it shown.

Monthly Income Report — September 2013

  1. Freelance writing:
    • Income: $5,307.53
    • Expenditure: $1,845.48
    • Profit: $3,462.06
  2. Websites:
    • Income: $56.58
    • Expenditure: $55.04
    • Profit: -$1.54
  3. Affiliate Marketing (Leaving Work Behind):
  4. Information Products:
    • Income: $1,299
    • Expenditure: $172.67
    • Profit: $1,126.33
  5. eBooks:
    • Income: $28.61
    • Expenditure: $0
    • Profit: $28.61

Total profit for September 2013: $4,529.12

There you have it folks — my worst month since December 2012. And I deserve it. My propensity for inaction over the past several weeks has led to this.

A True Disaster?

In reality, the situation is far better than the numbers look, but am loathe to detract from the lesson to be learned here. However, it only seems sensible to point out mitigating elements of my earnings this month.

WesthostFirst of all we have my biggest affiliate earner: Westhost. I started to get rather concerned by 20th September because I had made zero sales. Given that I have typically averaged approximately 8-10 sales per month, it seemed like something was up.

There was. Due to some issue with link cloaking, I was registering no sales. I removed the link cloaking on 20th September and racked up six sales in just ten days. I should have earned much more from Westhost this month.

Secondly we have some exceptional expenditure — a not inconsiderable $1,000. This was the cost of a 99designs competition for the new Leaving Work Behind design. The competition went very well, I am absolutely delighted with the outcome and I can’t wait to unveil the new Leaving Work Behind. However, it hasn’t come without its cost, hence the four-figure bill.

If I hadn’t had the issue with my Westhost sales and hadn’t put down $1,000 on a new design for LWB, my net income for the month probably would have been something like $6,500. While that wouldn’t have broken the bank when compared to other recent months, it would have been a far healthier picture.

A sneak peak at the new Leaving Work Behind design.

A sneak peek at the new Leaving Work Behind design.

But like I said, I don’t want that to detract from the main lesson to be learned here: when it comes to Leaving Work Behind, your main goal shouldn’t be to work as little as possible. While working fewer hours can certainly be one of your goals (that should be considered alongside other goals which may conflict with it), to make it a driving force in your plans is to sabotage your chances of creating a legacy.

With the advent of a new month I feel like I have a fresh perspective on what I want. It’s not working an hour a day. It’s creating something of true worth and helping as many people as I can.

Motivation

It is fitting that I wrote a huge post on motivation last week. Although I have been motivated over the past few months, I have been motivated to do the wrong thing. I have been motivated to work as little as possible, when in reality that is not what I truly want.

I made the point in the aforementioned post that leaving work behind is ultimately about pursuing happiness. It is clear to me now that barely doing any work does not necessarily make me happy. Sure — not working 60 hour weeks and having flexibility in my working hours are both big motivators for me, but working an hour a day is not.

Upon reflection my strongest current motivators are as follows (in no particular order):

  1. Financial security
  2. Flexibility of working hours
  3. Doing work that I love
  4. Earning enough to visit my sister and her kids in Texas more often
  5. Moving to a nicer location and a nicer house
  6. Helping people
My sister's kids: Maggie, Auggy and Jack.

My sister’s kids: Maggie, Auggy and Jack.

I know that my quality of life will be improved drastically by achieving the above goals. I know that the hard work will be worth it — especially if it is work that I love. These motivators have re-framed my actions over the coming months and I hope that they will galvanize me into a great deal of action.

2013 will be gone before long. While I would consider the year to date a success, I know that I could have achieved so much more. The only value in regret is what it can teach you about your future actions, which is why I will use my regret over past inaction to fuel future action.

What’s in Store for October?

I’ve got a lot of projects on the horizon — projects that have been ongoing for many months. All of them have the potential to build the LWB brand and make money, yet I have not executed on any of them. That will change in October.

I’ve already mentioned the LWB redesign and in last month’s income report I mentioned the ambitious re-launch of my guide to freelance blogging. While I don’t know what will go down in October yet, I do know that I will be working my ass off to bring both those projects to fruition as soon as possible.

I’ve got three months to make 2013 a huge year and give me huge momentum going into 2014. I don’t intend to disappoint.

Photo Credit: JDR

My Monthly Income Report — August 2013

Written by Tom Ewer on September 2, 2013. 43 Comments

Twenty BucksAs you will know if you read my last income report, July was a month of major change for me. I made the transition from a “traditional” freelancing model to a sub-contracting business model in which I hire writers for much of my client work.

The thinking behind this was simple: I could earn say 60% of the income in just 10% of the time. Given that I had so many other projects that I wanted to work on (that could in the long term make me even more money), the idea was too tempting to pass up.

So I dove in at the deep end and made the switch. I launched Clear Blogging Solutions and set about attracting new clients. My aim was to surpass my record earnings of $6,206 within the following 2-3 months.

But as is often my wont, plans have changed rather drastically since then. My outlook on what I want my business to look like is clearer than ever. That strength of clarity is only matched by my optimism for the future, which is at an all-time high. Read on to find out why!

What Happened in August?

August was a month for getting down to business. I had a lot to do.

The One Hour Authority Site Project Failure

I finally decided to call time on my One Hour Authority Site project in August.

Bye bye FODA...

Bye bye FODA…

I was more relieved than anything else — I had known for months that this project would never pan out as I had hoped, but I was determined to give it a good run. I did just that and it didn’t work out.

Fortunately I learned a huge amount from the experience, which I immediately poured into my next blogging project: Healthy Enough. More about that later on!

Changing My Successful Freelance Writing Online Sales Page

I’ve never liked the sales page for my freelance writing guide. Someone had written it for me free of charge, and while I was extremely grateful for that, it did not “sound” like me at all. Quite simply, I would never say something like “I was a total wet in the ear newbie,” and reading it back makes me cringe. For my voice, the copy was overly “salesly” and sounded false.

I’d been intending to change it for months but had never got around to it. I had hired someone to work on the copy for me, but he changed his mind after agreeing to do it. He was going to help me find someone else but then I didn’t hear back from him.

I took all of this as a sign and decided to have a go myself. Here’s the outcome. While I’m not 100% happy with it yet (I want to add a few more details and a sample chapter as well as some design tweaks to make it a little less plain), I think it’s a massive improvement. Most importantly, I believe that it is far less salesy than it was before and sounds much more like me, which is what I wanted to achieve above and beyond simply making more sales.

I went to Twitter and Facebook to get some feedback, which was largely positive, with exception to Captain Killjoy here:

Captain Killjoy

Hmm…

Obvious Troll

The greatest irony was that my re-doing of the sales page was off the back of a realization that everything I do now is primarily about (1) being happy and (2) helping others as much as I can, rather than actually making money.

I didn’t think much of the comment because it seemed less constructive criticism and more trolling. I would love to get your feedback on the new sales page though — what do you think?

The Birth (And Death?) of Clear Blogging Solutions

Clear Blogging SolutionsI officially launched Clear Blogging Solutions on August 1st via a post here on LWB. In that post I revealed the thinking behind my radical change of direction from freelancing to subcontracting:

[Freelancing] isn’t scalable. I only have so many hours available, and quality writing is mentally taxing work that you can only do so much of before you burn out.

Not only that, but I was compromising my other projects in an effort to squeeze every last penny out of my freelancing business and keep breaking income records. Not a good recipe for long term growth. I was obsessed with numbers (I broke my income record four months running) and had lost sight of the bigger picture.

I felt that the new business had a solid structure:

  1. My writers communicate with the clients directly.
  2. Their work goes through me and I act in an editorial role to ensure that everything is up to scratch.
  3. Clients pay me directly and I pay my writers at their desired rate.
  4. The writers can talk to me if they have any questions or need any further assistance. Similarly, the client can talk to me at any point if they so desire.

However, I soon discovered that the above approach wouldn’t work for me.

Problem One

The first rude awakening came via one of my writers. He was due to submit a couple of pieces on the Monday, so when I hadn’t received anything by that evening I emailed him to ask what the story was. I woke up on Tuesday morning to a response that the cynic in me was expecting:

Email

Just like that, I had a big hole in my editorial calendar. I scrambled to reassign the work and managed to have things straightened out by the end of the day, but I had just been exposed to the inevitable reality of relying on other people to help keep your business running.

That experience made me realize that having my writers communicate directly with clients simply wasn’t practical. For starters it was plain embarrassing to have to tell one of my clients that this writer had disappeared overnight and wouldn’t be working with him any more, but more importantly it represented a level of professionalism that was way below the standards I had worked hard to set throughout my freelancing career.

So I decided to revert back to a model in which I would act as a middleman between my writers and clients, ensuring that my clients experienced a seamless service even if chaos was reigning behind the front lines.

Problem Two

The second issue I faced was less of a “problem” as such and more of a realization.

It had been about three weeks since the launch of Clear Blogging Solutions. I had a spreadsheet packed with prospective client details — there had been no shortage of enquiries.

However, I hadn’t taken on any more clients through Clear Blogging Solutions in the month. I had started working for Flippa and WooThemes, but those jobs had come through existing connections.

This gave me cause for both concern and puzzlement, given the number of enquiries that I had received. So I decided to take a look at those enquiries in aggregate to see if I could spot anything.

Two clear patterns practically screamed out at me. I discovered that most of the prospects:

  1. Were after relatively generic content
  2. Ran small blogs or would be re-selling the content to their clients for a profit

It then dawned on me. By launching Clear Blogging Solutions I had wiped out my key selling proposition as a writer: me.

Two of the reasons I have been so successful as a freelance writer are that I have been backed by (1) the Leaving Work Behind brand and (2) a seemingly ubiquitous presence all over the web: from FreelanceSwitch, to ManageWP, to Mashable, to Lifehacker and beyond. In Clear Blogging Solutions I was inadvertently diluting my value and distracting potential clients from the greatest benefits of working with me.

It certainly wasn’t the direction I wanted to head in. I wanted to work with only the highest-quality clients — those who were on the same wavelength as me; those who operated in niches that I found interesting. I had no need to make any more money from my writing business, which meant that the direction I went in was all about enjoyment and fulfilment. I had realized that CBS wouldn’t offer me that.

I’ll leave you with that cliffhanger for a moment, as it is high time that I revealed my earnings for this month. July was my lowest income month since 2012 (due largely to the drastic reduction in freelance income). How did I fare in August?

Monthly Income Report — August 2013

  1. Freelance writing:
    • Income: $6,961.45
    • Expenditure: $1,242.49
    • Profit: $5,718.96
  2. Websites:
    • Income: $8.43
    • Expenditure: $298.83
    • Profit: -$290.40
  3. Affiliate Marketing (Leaving Work Behind):
  4. Information Products:
    • Income: $1,270.74
    • Expenditure: $103.04
    • Profit: $1,167.70
  5. eBooks:
    • Income: $39.38
    • Expenditure: $0
    • Profit: $39.38

Total profit for August 2013: $7,248.34

This is a marked improvement on July’s income on the surface, but the story is even better when the figures are examined more closely. I had a fairly substantial amount of one-off expenditure this month (including hosting) — the gross profit was my highest ever (and only a few hundred bucks shy of $10,000), as was my gross freelancing profit.

All in all, it’s great to see the income moving in the right direction again, but I was never worried about the “blip” in July — after all, I have transitioned to a completely different business model that now takes only a fraction of my time!

All Change

So what next? Well, I’m not one to rest on my laurels — I’ve got a lot to be getting on with.

Clear Blogging Solutions

Further to my experiences with Clear Blogging Solutions in July (covered above), I came to the decision that it isn’t right for me. I believe that my trusty old “Hire Me page” model is as good an advertisement for the type of client I want to attract as it ever has been. As such, the link to CBS in the navigation bar has been changed back to a link to my Hire Me page.

While I have seriously pimped out the page in an effort to make my services more attractive to prospective clients and to account for the fact that I now work with a team of writers rather than solo, the key selling points of old are still there:

  1. I’m the named writer and the person you deal with
  2. We write only on topics that I have experience in and am known for
  3. Clients can tap into my social media networks to promote their content (when relevant)

However, Clear Blogging Solutions isn’t deadthe site is still up and running. My decision is entirely reversible — in effect, all I need to do is change the link in my navigation bar and in my bylines on client sites. But I do feel like my return-to-the-old approach is the right one for me. I want to continue working with the Flippas and WooThemes of this world — not clients who are looking for a bargain.

Healthy Enough

The death (or to be more accurate, the coma) of Free Online Dating Advice left a gap in my “blogging projects” slot that needed filling. Just a couple of weeks ago I was rather suddenly inspired by a re-read of Tim Ferriss’ The Four Hour Body to launch a health and fitness blog with a difference.

I decided to target people like me: people who are relatively fit and healthy and really love their food. People who hate exercise for the sake of exercise (rather than for fun). People who would like to have six pack abs but just aren’t motivated enough to do the necessary hard work.

And so my new blog was born: Healthy Enough.

Currently featuring my mug quite prominently.

Currently featuring my mug quite prominently.

Over the coming months I’ll be publishing personal case studies, well-researched and comprehensive pieces on health and fitness topics and informative and actionable articles.

I’m really excited about this project. I think I have nailed down an approach that people like me will find really appealing, and I think I’m in a position to create compelling content. I will of course be writing plenty more about this blog here on LWB in the future, so stay tuned!

What’s in Store for September?

I’m now  well settled with my writing business and have a lot more time on my hands than I did previously. That means that I’ve got a lot in store for September.

First of all, I plan to publish three or four posts on Healthy Enough. Each on will be heavily promoted and I am hoping that I can start with a bang. We shall see.

Secondly, I am currently working on a major re-launch of my guide, Successful Freelance Writing Online. In my humble opinion, it is going to be the best guide to freelance blogging available by an absolute mile.

This is no minor update — we’re talking about a completely new course that takes the original guide and creates something far greater. I’m really excited about it and the launch is in just a few weeks!

If you’d like to know more about the upcoming re-launch then enter your email address below and hit “Sign Me Up!”






I’ll also be working on something even bigger that I plan to reveal in October. That’s all I have to say on that right now, but you’ll find out more soon enough!

I don’t know how I will fare in terms of income in September. I doubt that my freelance earnings will be as high as they were in August, as the month was a “perfect storm” of some high-paying jobs coming together at the same time. However, I hope to at least sustain my earnings.

Looking at what I’ve got planned, it’ll be the last three months of the year that’ll really determine (a) how financially successful 2013 was for me and (b) how successful I will be in 2014. I’ve got a big few months ahead and you’ve got a front row seat!

Photo Credits: Jason Starcraft and Bossi