Work/Lifestyle Balance? No Such Thing!

I’m not sure there is such a thing as work/life balance.  I’ve tried to create it, but I must not have gotten the memo on how to make it work.  There is always something that gets in the way, like the ceiling in my bathroom crashing down because of a leak I didn’t about.  How about the smoke detector that suddenly decided to blare its fool head off for no reason!  There must be a balance in there somewhere.

The real answer to this challenge is choice.  Ideally, a lifestyle business provides three choices:

  • Freedom of location:  Working from home and commuting only when necessary.
  • Control of your time:  Work when necessary, spend time with family and friends, or travel.
  • Freedom of association:  Choose clients who appreciate the value of your work and friends who enhance the quality of your life and lifestyle.

There is no real roadmap to getting there, except the one you make for yourself.  I can line up ten people from the same profession and get thirty different answers to the same question.  Just like with style, its all about what works best for you.

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Newsletters = Professional Control

Most of the professional copywriters I’ve met who actually make a living in the profession love newsletters.  Writing for companies and organizations can result in a comfortable and consistent income.  Writing their own subscription-based newsletters is even better because they have consistent cash flow that is independent of clients.

A lot of the subscription-based newsletters have nothing to do with the profession of copywriting.  Instead the authors write about their passions.  Art, travel, skiing and winter sports, fashion or games for kids.  Some even share their passion for food.

Newsletters are attractive for several reasons, not the least of which is they are scalable.  Depending on the subscription price, most copywriters can make a comfortable living on as few at 200 to 300 subscribers.  If the newsletter catches the interest of a larger audience, the same amount of work can make even more money.

Using gross numbers, an annual subscription of $180 x 250 subscribers can produce $45,000 in cash flow.  Not great money, but it is consistent.  Further, if the subscription base reaches one-thousand $180,000 a year for a few days work a week is not too shabby.

Many of the copywriters I know who use this model are able to use the consistent cash flow as leverage, taking on only those clients to appreciate their talents and skills and “walkaway” money from clients who are too difficult.

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Waiter, Actor or Would Be Actor

Waiter, Actor or Would be actor.  That is the question.  I’ve known a lot of would be actors in my life.  They would be actors if they could get a job as one, but, until then, they wait tables or whatever else they can do to pay the bills.

A lot of people go to LA to become actors and, maybe even famous.  I wish them luck.  The majority who try don’t make the cut for whatever reason.  Don’t ask, I don’t understand the mystery but, of course, I never went to LA to become an actor.

Some of the people I met in Los Angeles who were able to get steady work had come with a reputation in hand.  They belonged to Equity and worked in major, regional theaters.  Some even came from Broadway.  Their reputation, in other words, proceeded them.

Because of the depth of their resumes, they could be more flexible.  They would do voices for commercials and cartoons, do stand-in work and, of course, work in local area theaters.  Some would even start their own acting classes in order to share their expertise with others.

Mostly, though, they were good politicians.  Acting, like anything else in the world of Hollywood, is the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.  It’s the craft that gets you in the door.  Next comes those who know you, like you and trust you enough to open doors of opportunity.  Once the door is open, its up to the individual to leverage their skills and connections to build a reputation that can lead to (if they are fortunate) starring roles in major projects.

Acting plus politics equals ???

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Missed Opportunity for Cash Flow

Hotels are a quirky business.  During the spring and summer, they can make tons of money because people are travelling, going to graduations, having weddings and even coming back to the old home town for the Fourth of July.

From mid-November to mid-March, most years, not much happens.  The doors are kept open in case a guest happens to wander in and needs something.  (I’m exaggerating, of course, but not by much.)

One of the suggestions I made to the owner of a local, independent hotel, was a daily blog post and weekly newsletter that would promote the hotel, the events in the community and become an additional source of revenue that could compensate for the loss of revenue during the slow months. 

It didn’t seem to matter where I put the additional revenue reference in the presentation.  It always got missed.  I think it had to do with the perceived cost of managing the project and the various databases that confused the owners.

From a revenue point of view, however, I estimated that an annual subscription base of about three-thousand individuals and businesses might bring in an additional (and consistent) $450,000 to $720,000 a year, depending on the price of the subscription.

This extra cash flow would make it easier to manage the hotel throughout the year and could connect the hotel to the community in a way that was positive and rewarding for everyone involved.

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Feed The Passion For Deserts

I am not a good cook.  I’ve destroyed all kinds of food, even the stuff that can be microwaved. 

I have a friend who has a culinary degree and a talent for making some tasty deserts.  He wants to start his own business, but he doesn’t have a reputation.

When he approached me to help him, I suggested he start a blog about food and monetize it with a monthly, printed newsletter.  The newsletter would be a collection of recipes for unique deserts that followed a theme, since most months have some kind of holiday or special occasion.

The newsletter could build a small subscription base of two-hundred subscribers at $240/Year.  He would be making an extra $48,000 a year and building a reputation at the same time.  The newsletter, in fact, could be scaled up to one-thousand passionate subscribers for a gross of $240,000/Year.

I suggested this idea because, at the moment, he has a day job.  Developing the newsletter idea will take time, but, over the course of a few months, it can eclipse what he is making now (and then some) and create a more independent lifestyle.

He can also enjoy sharing his passion for deserts and baked goods without the daily challenge of owning a bakery.  Instead, he can create small workshops, develop a consulting business, or even become a party planner.

Of course, he can also develop a profitable publishing business that specializes in newsletters on the subject of food and the culinary arts exclusively.  Food for thought, so to speak.

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

What Is A Lifestyle Business?

A lifestyle business supports itself, provides a comfortable living for its owner and the resources to invest in passive cash flows.

Let me explain this from the point of view of an old friend of mine from college.  He was a professional copywriter with clients world-wide.  He chose that profession because it paid well and helped pay for his college expenses (all the way to his PhD in physics.)  Along the way, because he knew he didn’t want to be a copywriter for the rest of his life, he invested in multi-unit rental and commercial properties.

His business model was unique for the time (1970s.)  He wrote for five newsletters, which gave him a regular, monthly cash flow.  At the time, he could live comfortably on $30,000 a year and the newsletters required very little time to write.  They also gave him considerable leverage when it came to negotiating his other copywriting projects.

The second layer of income came from various one-off copywriting projects which, because of the leverage his newsletters gave him, he could charge premium prices.  One project would be equal to what he needed to live well for a month.  He set the cash flow aside in a cash reserve so he could keep the business operating during economic readjustments or challenges getting more work.

Finally, he negotiated some of his payments in the form of ongoing commissions or dividend stock, which he used to invest in real estate and other passive cash flows.

His goal was to live life on his own terms as much as possible, using the cash flow his projects created to protect the downside of life and invest in various, self-managing passive cashflows.

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC