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If you’re hoping this post has something to do with the movie, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Although, who doesn’t want to see Bradley Cooper sporting a sweet perm?!?

The hustle I’m talking about is what put Gary V on the radar of every person out there who wants to live off of their passions and is willing to go balls to the wall to get it.

Hustle and Write….

As you now know, I am working as a freelance writer and trying to build a client base as quickly as possible. If you aren’t familiar with my story of quitting my job a few weeks back, please take a moment to read it.

You must also know that I didn’t just up and quit without a plan, especially since I have child support, alimony, and my own bills to pay each month. It may have taken guts to quit my new job, but I’m not a fucking idiot!

And for those of you considering making a similar jump, here’s how I’m paying the bills right now:

  • Personal training. I’ve been a personal trainer for 16 years and have had my own business for 10. I currently train clients in their homes in the DC metro area. The good news is that the going rate for an in-home personal trainer is between $50-$100 per hour. This adds up fast and with just a handful of clients, I am able to make a significant amount of money.
  • Writing. Since I started freelance writing just a few short weeks ago, my earned  income is approaching $1,000. I’ve been hired by a half dozen people and have been receiving unsolicited offers for writing jobs as well!
  • Tax refund. Yes, I need it to live on and although it was a far cry from what it was last year (I miss you mortgage interest!), every bit helps right now.
  • Last paychecks. I should also mention that I received a month’s worth of paychecks from the gym, so I have that as well.

I am by no means in good financial condition, but I am hustling each day to make it work. Just starting out working for yourself is exciting and at the same time unnerving, especially if you don’t have a fat bankroll to fall back on.

Working Conditions

No, this is NOT me!

No, this is NOT me!

You’ve probably heard of a couch to 5k running program, well what I’m doing is sort of the opposite. I went from running a gym to sitting on my couch!

It should come as no surprise that working at home is a far cry from having to report to a job on a daily basis. With a job, you just get in your car and drive to work. At home, you get up, walk around in your underwear, and figure out how you’re going to best use your day.

And I’d be lying if I didn’t say I have had a few of these days already. Getting motivated to write in my apartment has been a struggle for sure so I’ve had to find other outlets.

One of my favorite hangouts is the local library and I can be found there often. There are also a few parks that have Wi-Fi and with the weather warming up here finally, I will be using those as well.

The issue is not finding a decent place to write, but rather taking the initiative and actually leaving my apartment. I love the idea of working from my couch, but it just doesn’t work and I just don’t have the space for a home office.

I’ve read about the benefits of treating your own writing business as a “job”, meaning waking up at a set time, getting dressed as if going to work, and actually leaving your house as if you were reporting to a job.

The Ups and Downs of Working For Myself

It’s been an interesting month to say the least. I went from moving 1,000 mph to 20. My body didn’t know how to respond when it didn’t have to move continuously for 10 hours a day but now I can confidently say that I have far less stress and my body is thanking me for slowing down.

Here are some of the benefits of working for myself that I’ve noticed so far:

  • I feel great! (and don’t look too shabby either). I’m training hard every day during the week. Making time for the gym has been incredibly helpful not only for my physical well being but for my mental wellness also. When I was working at the gym, I lost so much weight that my underwear were literally falling off of me. I just didn’t have time to eat enough, let alone actually workout! Now that I have the time, I train hard, eat well, and have packed back on about 10 pounds. I’ve been really consistent and it’s amazing how awesome I feel afterwards!
  • Far less stress. I was so stressed out at the gym that I simply couldn’t unwind. I was in constant go-go-go mode. And although the financial stress is an issue and I do see a “job” in my near future, I feel so much more relaxed and content with where I am.
  • Being more patient with my daughters. Since I couldn’t let go of my job and was expected to be working on weekends at home as well, I let the stress affect my time with my girls. I have them every weekend and it’s just not fair not to give them my full attention.
  • I love writing. It’s feels so liberating to be in 100% control of my success or failure. At my last job I was subject the the whims of an unreasonable owner. I had zero control over whether I had a job or not. In fact, although I was doing excellent work, the threat of being fired was thrown in my face numerous times. Not a great way to live…
  • Freedom and flexibility. Being able to work from anywhere is an amazing feeling! Whether it’s sitting outside with my laptop on a 65 degree sunny day or working from a hotel room overlooking a beautiful lake, the ability to work remotely is priceless in my opinion.

And of course I’ve had my share of struggles as well:

  • Time management. I have tried using Google calendars, excel spreadsheets, old school paper calendars, and several iPhone apps and have yet to find one that I will actually look at every day! So far my favorite is just writing my top 3 things I must do on a scrap piece of paper.
  • Overwhelmed by my to-do list. Although I try to limit my daily to-do’s to 3-5 things, I have 47 things on my list at this precise moment. I know, it’s ridonkulous and I haven’t yet figured out how I will ever get to them all. I have SO many ideas about what I want to do and where I want to take this, that the list just continues growing and growing…
  • Focus. Not having to be anywhere each day is harder that it sounds. At least it is for me. I’ve had a regular job for the last 27 years, so this new schedule (or lack thereof), is really fucking me up..
  • Being consistent. Although I have set up a daily schedule with time blocks on my Google Calendar, I am struggling to follow through on it. Although, I think it could possibly be that I don’t actually look at it most days….

With all the shit I need to do every day in order to try to make it as a writer, I’ve come up with a short list of must do’s.

Top 5 things I need to do every day:

  1. Write! If I’m going to try to make a living writing, it makes sense to do it every single day. And with my lofty goals, it’s even more important that I do it.
  2. Actively look for writing work. I search sites like Problogger Job Boards, Craigslist, Paid To Blog Jobs (which I just joined), and various blogs/sites that pay for content.
  3. Network. I’ve been reaching out to many of the people I’ve been in contact with since I started blogging. It’s amazing what can happen when you build relationships with people. They actually want to help you!
  4. Read 5 blog posts each day and comment. I’ve heard it said many times that commenting is no longer effective for building relationships, driving traffic, blah, blah..Well I think that’s bullshit. When I get a personal comment that someone clearly has taken time to think about and write, it means a great deal. I want to know more about the type of person they are and will often visit their site and/or reach out to them.
  5. Exercise. This has been HUGE. Not only am I getting into good shape, but the energy and motivation I get from training hard is invaluable in my writing. I find I get inspired during my workout and often can’t wait to get home to write.

Goals

I’ll admit that I’ve struggled with writing my goals in the past, but given the recent change, I’ve had to take the time to set some realistic but challenging ones. I have long-term goals as well, but for now I will share my short-term ones.

Here are my short-term goals to be done by July 31 or sooner:

  • Have at least 30 guest posts published including at least one article on MenWithPens, LifeHacker, and Huffington Post.  You’ll find out a lot more about this in an upcoming post….
  • Launch my new coaching program. Yes, I am finally going to start offering a service and am really looking forward to it! It’s going to be pretty unique and will be sharing the details with you all shortly.
  • Receiving 3,000 visits per month on this blog. It’s around 1,000 right now. See above as to how I’m going to get to this number.
  • Adding 300 new subscribers to my email list. The growth and conversion rate has SUCKED ever since I started it and I know it’s because my opt in offer is not very attractive and the email content I write is not exceptional. Updating it is something I have been putting off for a long time and it’s changing shortly.
  • Have my new eBook completed (for my opt in) as well as an entirely new auto responder series done for my email list. My plan for the book is to revolve around the business/life lessons I learned from my interview with Penelope Trunk. This will be done by April 30th.
  • Consistently earning $1,000+per month from writing work. I’ve already earned close to this in my first month, but I want to have consistent income with regular (and happy) clients.
  • Start a mastermind group. I actually started one a few years ago and it was a great way to share ideas and get quality feedback. If you are interested in becoming part of this, please email me directly at steve@endingthegrind.com.

 Coming Soon..

As you can see, I have a lot going on right now and you don’t even know the half of it! I’ll be sharing a lot more in my next few posts and hope you will continue to share this journey with me…

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