Money’s Fun, but Time is Better: Why I’m Quitting Freelance Writing

Quitting Freelance WritingA big part of the new year for me is about focusing on my new goals – which is re-focusing my sights on the two goals I discussed in my annual income stream report:

  • Get 1,000,0000 unique visitors to my sites
  • Make $100,000

As part of my re-focus though, I’m going to quit freelance writing.  That may sound odd, especially considering that I made over $10,000 as a freelance writer last year, but it is the right decision for me.  I thought about it long and hard, but two thoughts really drove me over the edge in making the decision to not freelance write, and instead focus on my content.

 

Quit Freelance Writing – Get More Time

One of the biggest factors that influenced my decision to stop freelance writing was the time commitment involved in it.  As I gained more and more clients, who requested more and more work, I just couldn’t keep up.  I thought about outsourcing my writing, but then I knew that the quality wouldn’t be the same.  I know that my customers kept coming back because of the quality, professionalism, and commitment to service that I offered.

The real push over the edge was during a discussion I had with my wife about my plans for 2013.  At this point, we knew we had a baby on the way, and business was booming.  Remember, I still work full-time outside of blogging and all my other ventures, and a few sticking points just kept coming up.

  • Do we need the money?  No, but it’s nice
  • Do I enjoy it? Not as much as I enjoy writing my own articles
  • If I focused on my sites exclusively, could I write better articles? Yes
  • Would writing better articles make more money? Probably 

Beyond those questions, the overarching thought about getting more time back at night to spend with my wife and family was very appealing.

 

Quit Freelance Writing – Earn More Per Hour

Another thing that I thought about was how much I made per hour freelance writing versus other projects I was doing.  I think my freelance business was successful because I charged a very reasonable price – $10 for 350 words, or $20 for 500 words.

To put things in perspective, for most articles, I could write 350 or 500 word articles in 20 minutes – so, 3 per hour.  This would give me an hourly rate of $30-$60 per hour, which really isn’t that bad.  $30 is a little lower than I’d like, but $50 per hour would be $108,000 annually if I kept it up for 40 hours per week.

The trouble comes with burnout.  I can only write so many given articles before I really start to slow down.  Then, I slow down to the point where I don’t want to write any more – for clients or myself.  Then, the hours really start working against me.  Instead of 3 per hour, I get down to 1 per hour – and it really isn’t worth it anymore.

Then, let’s look at the other side – let’s say that I write 3 articles per week, so 12 total on The College Investor.  That site now earns $1,200 per month, so $100 per article effectively.  Since it only takes me about 1-2 hours of work to put together an article, that is still at $50 per hour.  But it’s now a $50 per hour that doesn’t include burnout and frustration.

 

Happiness is Better than Money

Throughout these last few years, I’ve been focused on maximizing my multiple income streams.  However, the reason I even have income streams is to maximize the happiness that I can experience in real life.  Since I’m pretty much set on material possessions, I don’t really have a need for more money – although it does make things easier and it is a good gauge for how “well” you’re doing.

Instead, I’d rather do what I really love – write for my own websites and see the power of my own writing grow.  That’s why getting 1,000,000 unique visitors is Goal #1.  Money will come as a side effect of that, it’s natural.  However, along with that goal, I’m giving myself back more time that I can spend with my family, which will increase my happiness offline as well.

Is money more important than happiness?  Would you give up $10,000 per year?

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Comments

  1. I think you did the right thing. With a new baby on the way something had to give and I think you are right in that you are and will continue to make more money by writing for your own sites. Great job and congratulations on how well you are doing!

  2. Sorry to hear that you are no longer doing the free lance. But you are doing the right thing for yourself. Money vs time I choose time and I would figure out another way to make money. Here’s to a new 2013!!

  3. Ultimately, we need to consider many factors in our life to make such decisions, and it looks like you’ve taken a bigger picture view here. We can always make more money, but we can’t make more time.

  4. I only do things I don’t want to do when I have to. It sounds like you don’t need the money and with a child on the way you’ll be glad you made this decision.

    How do you monetize your blogs to make so much money a month?

  5. I would absolutely give up $10,000 in exchange for more time! My last year of working full time before my first child was born, I was one of the few people in my department who took advantage of the company’s policy for allowing employees to purchase a week of vacation by reducing their weekly pay in equal increments. I purchased one week (the max allowed), but would have purchased much much more if allowed!

    I consistently turn down consulting work because the money just isn’t worth the stress and effort at this point in my life. My kids are only little once, and I want to spend every second I can with them.

    I’m actually starting to pull away from my blogging schedule a bit for the same reasons. I’m such an “all or nothing” kind of person that when I’m blogging consistently I seem to always have blog posts on the brain instead of living in the moment like I should. I’m sure I’m not the only one with this problem! haha

    • I’m very all or nothing, and so a lot of last year was working to find a balance and see what worked well for me. I hope that I can put into place some of what I’ve learned to have a successful work/life balance this year.

  6. Oh, and I forgot to say…when in doubt, I’d always go for the passive revenue if you can forgo the current income. It usually works out best in the long term (for your stress level and pocketbook), as I’m sure you know all too well!

  7. It’s definitely all about how you value you’re time. When people are first starting off, freelance writing is very appealing as it can generate you some income to invest in other projects to build some passive income. However once you’ve gotten to the stage where you’re at I think you’re making the right move!

    Thomas

  8. You actually made the right decision. There are a lot of things more important rather than earning a lot. Money is necessary in our daily living today, but life isn’t all about that especially when you have your own family to spare time with.

  9. Wow–I can’t believe you could produce three articles in an hour! I think I am quite slow in my writing, which is probably something I should work on in 2013.

  10. I couldn’t agree with you more. I took a break from teaching, my husband isn’t taking all the overtime he can get. It would help a lot financially, but being home with our kids is more important to us. They only stay young so long. Best wishes with your new baby. Your rewards will far exceed any amount of money,I promise!

  11. I love everything you have said here. Once you cover the necessities of living, time is more important than money. I think you’ve made the right decision. Best of luck getting to 1 million visitors.

  12. I totally agree with your decision. We often see freelance writers start their own sites because they realize the ceiling for freelance writing is limited, while there is no ceiling when you’re start something for yourself.

  13. Hell yes happiness is better than money! Couldn’t have said it better myself. That’s why I STOPPED writing for anyone other than myself. I just didn’t have the time. Good luck with your site goals for this year. I’m sure you’ll do it.

  14. I’m curious: did you consider (or pursue) raising your rates to see who would be left? That might have reduced your workload plus made your writing more profitable.

    • You know, I did consider that option. But then I decided that I really wanted to focus in one direction – writing on my blogs, instead of doing both (freelance writing and blogging). I think that the increased focus, and increased time, would provide benefits. Even at a higher rate, writing still takes time.

  15. Without a doubt I would give it up, especially with a baby. You’re time with them will be worth SO much more than $30-60/hour. You’ll be so much happier you have that time and you’re not feeling like you have to choose between baby and something else.

  16. Right now it’s all about the money, as I’m about to go travelling for six months! I will do *some* freelance work while on the road, but that’s not the primary aim.

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