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Hustling to Survive: Freelance Web Design & Copywriting, Book Writing, and Building a Brand

Dark Water

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Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Mar 25, 2014
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While its been a while since I've posted here, I have been lurking somewhat regularly. As I sit here in a Starbucks today drinking my $2.41 hot green tea (essentially the price I pay so I can get out of the house and be around people outside of my gym), I came across this thread about the cancelled 2019 summit which really opened my eyes. In February of 2016, I attended the fastlane summit at Talking Stick in Scottsdale which was an amazing experience. I listened and learned a lot, although unfortunately couldn't bring a lot to the table at the time other than "I work in insurance and have some fastlane ideas". Which essentially was the extent of my conversations outside of two or three eople I really connected with.

At the time, I was a personal lines insurance agent with almost two years in the game. In April of that year, I walked into my office about 5 minutes late one day right into the CEO giving a meeting to the entire floor. They were shutting down the entire office and laying everyone off, except for 10 top performers or so to work at the other office in the city (in Boston). My performance had put me in the top 5 of the company but I didn't receive a folder to stay, so my mind instantly shut that job off and I felt free to finally pursue my hustles. My manager did text me the next day saying the CEO asked if I would like to stay but its a text I never returned.

At some point, I began on Upwork, and gleaned tons of knowledge at the time from Fox's web design thread and and Lex's thread on copywriting and second thread on Upwork. I started with small jobs and built my way up to bigger jobs and regular, long term clients.

So let's fast forward to today, what this is all about.

My work consists of 90% copywriting and 10% web design work, and I'd like to strike a balance between the two. I rely way too much on Upwork although I have a few clients off Upwork. But if Upwork goes under for any crazy reason at all, so do I. And then I'll actually be forced back into a slowlane job.

So one part of this thread is dedicated to my hustle which helps me survive: web design and copywriting. I need to do three things here: systematize the process as to make it easier and more efficient, hustle for more work, and create a simple system to find more work off Upwork. Despite my disdain for a scheduled work week, I need to treat this like a full time job and set hours for myself to stay focused.

Part two is dedicated to a brand idea I had in 2015. Three years ago. I've owned the website ever since and have slowly been building up content on it. But I haven't executed on the actual program I want to offer. To an extent, its in the fitness/health category but is its own niche. Expect a lot on this as I need to take it off the backburner.

Part three is writing my first book. I've always had a desire to do this and threads like ChickenHawk's and HeldforRandsom's inspire me to this day, despite reading them what feels like an eternity ago. I just opened the Google doc on my book. My last edit was February of 2017. Absolutely awful. At one point I believe I had 10,000+ words but scrapped it, now down to an outline and 600 words. Since its been so long its probably best to start fresh though. At this point, I just need to go through the motions of writing a book and publishing. First step will be to go through Amazon and then post them on my personal site, which will be a combination of copywriting services and books.

So essentially, this thread is a personal journal of my journey in:

I. Freelance copywriting / website work / surviving
II. Launching a brand
III. Writing a book
IV. Further building my own personal website which will feature website design examples (coupled with copywriting), probably a blog on my personal fitness journey, and my books that I will publish

Its probably going to be gritty and full of failures along the way, but as we're entering the final stretch of 2018, its time to cross off some goals. It might come across like I'm spreading myself thin but I feel all of this ties together. Progress in one area will help another. My goal is to make daily progress on all of the above, no matter how small.

By December 31, I'd like at the very least:

- Publishing the book
- Finalizing my own personal website along with weekly blog posts
- Finalizing the program, copywriting, and website of the brand I'm working on (we'll call it SK), along with weekly blog posts
- Stepping up the hustle on my web design and copywriting work so I can pump money into the brand once its done, looking at avenues like PPC

From here on out, I'll go into much more detail and nuances with each update. Hopefully that gives some insight as to where I am and where I plan to go. Let's begin.
 

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Yzn

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Jul 1, 2018
192
347
167
While its been a while since I've posted here, I have been lurking somewhat regularly. As I sit here in a Starbucks today drinking my $2.41 hot green tea (essentially the price I pay so I can get out of the house and be around people outside of my gym), I came across this thread about the cancelled 2019 summit which really opened my eyes. In February of 2016, I attended the fastlane summit at Talking Stick in Scottsdale which was an amazing experience. I listened and learned a lot, although unfortunately couldn't bring a lot to the table at the time other than "I work in insurance and have some fastlane ideas". Which essentially was the extent of my conversations outside of two or three eople I really connected with.

At the time, I was a personal lines insurance agent with almost two years in the game. In April of that year, I walked into my office about 5 minutes late one day right into the CEO giving a meeting to the entire floor. They were shutting down the entire office and laying everyone off, except for 10 top performers or so to work at the other office in the city (in Boston). My performance had put me in the top 5 of the company but I didn't receive a folder to stay, so my mind instantly shut that job off and I felt free to finally pursue my hustles. My manager did text me the next day saying the CEO asked if I would like to stay but its a text I never returned.

At some point, I began on Upwork, and gleaned tons of knowledge at the time from Fox's web design thread and and Lex's thread on copywriting and second thread on Upwork. I started with small jobs and built my way up to bigger jobs and regular, long term clients.

So let's fast forward to today, what this is all about.

My work consists of 90% copywriting and 10% web design work, and I'd like to strike a balance between the two. I rely way too much on Upwork although I have a few clients off Upwork. But if Upwork goes under for any crazy reason at all, so do I. And then I'll actually be forced back into a slowlane job.

So one part of this thread is dedicated to my hustle which helps me survive: web design and copywriting. I need to do three things here: systematize the process as to make it easier and more efficient, hustle for more work, and create a simple system to find more work off Upwork. Despite my disdain for a scheduled work week, I need to treat this like a full time job and set hours for myself to stay focused.

Part two is dedicated to a brand idea I had in 2015. Three years ago. I've owned the website ever since and have slowly been building up content on it. But I haven't executed on the actual program I want to offer. To an extent, its in the fitness/health category but is its own niche. Expect a lot on this as I need to take it off the backburner.

Part three is writing my first book. I've always had a desire to do this and threads like ChickenHawk's and HeldforRandsom's inspire me to this day, despite reading them what feels like an eternity ago. I just opened the Google doc on my book. My last edit was February of 2017. Absolutely awful. At one point I believe I had 10,000+ words but scrapped it, now down to an outline and 600 words. Since its been so long its probably best to start fresh though. At this point, I just need to go through the motions of writing a book and publishing. First step will be to go through Amazon and then post them on my personal site, which will be a combination of copywriting services and books.

So essentially, this thread is a personal journal of my journey in:

I. Freelance copywriting / website work / surviving
II. Launching a brand
III. Writing a book
IV. Further building my own personal website which will feature website design examples (coupled with copywriting), probably a blog on my personal fitness journey, and my books that I will publish

Its probably going to be gritty and full of failures along the way, but as we're entering the final stretch of 2018, its time to cross off some goals. It might come across like I'm spreading myself thin but I feel all of this ties together. Progress in one area will help another. My goal is to make daily progress on all of the above, no matter how small.

By December 31, I'd like at the very least:

- Publishing the book
- Finalizing my own personal website along with weekly blog posts
- Finalizing the program, copywriting, and website of the brand I'm working on (we'll call it SK), along with weekly blog posts
- Stepping up the hustle on my web design and copywriting work so I can pump money into the brand once its done, looking at avenues like PPC

From here on out, I'll go into much more detail and nuances with each update. Hopefully that gives some insight as to where I am and where I plan to go. Let's begin.
Great post - I hope you find more success at what you do.
By the way why didn't you do something related to your past experience as a insurance agent? I mean you have more opportunity than the normal people out there...
 
OP
OP
Dark Water

Dark Water

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Mar 25, 2014
385
913
348
Boston
Quick update:

Had a mini FTE this weekend that really reinforced how much sacrifice is going to be needed to go down this path and make it work, as well as leading to a lot of self-reflection which is still ongoing.

Was going out with a great girl for about 6 months but some key lifestyle differences started to make things difficult. She is established in her career as a teacher while I am bootstrapping my lifestyle with freelancing, both in terms of money and how I spend my time.

The profession of teaching is very much a slowlane lifestyle: both in terms of time (5 days on, 2 days of leisure) and pay increases (study hard for a Masters or take 3 courses to increase pay by something like 2%). She wanted the weekends for leisure time, and who can blame her? With where I am though, and the goals I've laid out for myself, it started to take its toll. Spending Saturdays watching TV shows and going out to eat while dedicating Sundays to football as well (she was a huge football fan) was throwing me off track. It is unfortunate, and I feel like we tried to work through some things for a while, but ultimately it just wasn't going to work out.

So that leads me to today where I feel like more than ever I have to make this work. Today I am going to cut out other distractions from my life so I can move forward with my goals and reach my targets by the new year. Today marks the day where I begin to practice more discipline both in regards to my lifestyle and my overall goals, to which I will bend for no one.

I. Freelancing / Copywriting / Website Work / Surviving

I've picked up more work in the past week than I've ever had. Its going very well on this front. I'm still not disciplined in terms of working within a system which I've made for myself, which is the next step. My next step is to define clear hours of the day in which I'm sending out proposals, emails, and cold calls to find new work, as well as clear time where I am dedicated working. Right now I am still 100% winging it. I also need to continue finding more work separate from Upwork so that I am not confined to their system.

On the website front, I'm almost done finishing a complete re-design of my own website which showcases my services. I've recently began learning more about Google Adwords and have finished one certification through that and hope to add it to my list of potential services soon.

II. Launching a Brand

I have not made much progress on this front outside of sustained blog posts. I still need to execute on the program, set up long form landing pages, and much more. This will be a major focus point as we close out the year.

III. Writing the Book

I have made progress but need to dedicate more time to write "x" amount of words per day so that I can systematically finish this by the end of the year. Going forward, if I can write 1,000 words per day, along with a few big writing days of much more, I could have a 50,000 word book published by the end of the year. No more putting this idea on the back shelf, this is what I need to do to execute and I am going to do it. If 1,000 words is too much or if I can do much more, I will adjust as needed. I will test this out for the next 7-10 days and adjust as needed.

The next update will come much sooner than this one. I need to stay laser focused, and for that, this thread helps a lot.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
Dark Water

Dark Water

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Mar 25, 2014
385
913
348
Boston
Great post - I hope you find more success at what you do.
By the way why didn't you do something related to your past experience as a insurance agent? I mean you have more opportunity than the normal people out there...
It is a highly regulated industry, with a lot of liability and risk, which takes up a lot of time. My previous company paid for my licensing and training which can be pretty expensive depending on the state (was licensed in about 18 states), and they have thus expired. I've lost a lot of knowledge since then as well after being out of it for 2.5 years.

Being highly successful as one of the top producing agents though, I could see where there could've been path of something like a consultant to help other personal lines agents. But with only 2 years experience, and it being such a federally and state regulated industry, I'll leave it to their managers to help them get better. That ship has sailed.
 
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