July 11, 2018
Moving To Mexico: USAdios
Chapter 7: What to do now?
Since I can remember, I have always wanted to be a writer. In college, my guidance counselor and I had a conversation about this.
“Do you want to make money?” She asked.
“Very few writers make much money.” She said with a bit of a frown. I shifted a bit in my seat.
“Writing is all I know. How can I make money?” I asked.
“Have you considered law school?” She asked. I had. Like many people, I had dreamt of arguing my point in a packed court room, brilliantly detailing my case, pushing the law and the judge to the limit and saving my client. You know, like every attorney on TV and in the movies. Who wouldn’t like to do that job?
I got my degree in English/Creative Writing, interned at a law firm over summer and went to law school.
What a mistake.
The real job of most attorneys is going blind reading case law and writing briefs. The little time they might actually spend in court is about as scintillating as eating a saltine cracker, about as dry too. Most attorneys spend no time in court as 95% of all cases are settled out of court. Law school seems to be a place for college students to go when they realize that after 16 years of school they still have no idea what to do with their lives. It’s a kind of educational purgatory, a holding place between college and the real world.
I’ve been to law school, I’ve been a plaintiff, I’ve been a defendant and I’ve been to mitigation several times. It is a miserable profession and I’m glad I quit law school in my first year.
Quitting after one semester left me with a worthless English degree so I entered the business world at the bottom and worked for the next twenty-two years. To my delight, the business world was sorely lacking in people who could effectively communicate so my English degree helped me a great deal. To my chagrin, being able to effectively communicate translated to exactly nothing extra on my paycheck.
After selling my company in 2017, I was left with a combination of relief, giddy elation and a hole so deep it scared me. What the hell was I going to do now? I have read that many early retirees feel this way, but when it was my turn those feelings were powerful and raw.
After trying my hand at a related field in the auto industry with a mega-sized insurance company (think of lizards and ads everywhere), I realized that I was pretty much done working. I had been an entrepreneur and business owner for far too long to start over again, working for peanuts doled out by simpletons with more time in grade. No thanks. I had to try something else.
Since I had been documenting this entire process already, I have decided that I’m going to kick sand in the face of my old guidance counselor and write.
“Very few writers make much money.” She said with a bit of a frown.
“I don’t need that much money.” Anymore. Well, that’s the plan.
If you are reading this, you are going along for a ride with me. This is a long trip and we may take a few side streets along the way. I hope you appreciate the path I’m taking even if it meanders.
Here is one of the many side streets we’ll take: how to make money writing.
My goal is to make money writing. There, I said it! I’m also an amateur photographer and videographer. *All of the photos that accompany my articles I have taken myself. Amateur, indeed! (You might be saying.) Regardless, I have committed myself to let my old profession go and to really try something new.
GOOD-BYE, and good riddance.
From here I will train myself to be a better writer and market my work for money. Wish me luck.
There are supposedly many ways to monetize your skills as a writer. Unfortunately, most of them don’t appeal to me right now. Things like guest-blogging, book publishing (did that…doesn’t make much money!), and ghost writing don’t interest me right now, perhaps later. I hear a LOT about remote copywriting. Let’s talk about that for a minute.
Copywriting is described as the act of writing text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing. If you are like me, you have seen dozens of sites that advertise how you can make $10,000.00 a month just writing five hours a week, working from home. The ads go on for many pages, some of the longest ads I’ve ever seen. (Writers love to write!) Save time, just scroll quickly to the bottom and you will find the price, which is generally very high, then make your decision on reading the rest.
I signed up for a very popular company to send information on copywriting and since February 6th, 2018 I have received 359 marketing emails from them. Their advertising department is a machine. Can any of this be true? There is an old saying: “You can mine for gold or you can sell pickaxes.” You can make money copywriting, but it looks like there is a lot more to be made marketing classes on the subject. Add to that the fact that you not only need to learn how to be a copywriter, you must then find customers who will pay you for your services.
“Look, I think I can be a good copywriter. I’ve taken your courses. I get it.” I said to the representative of the mega-copywriting instruction company. “My problem is the sales part.”
“What’s the problem?” He asked.
“Well, I don’t want to ask all of my professional and personal contacts for business. I’m not selling Amway here.” I explained.
“OK…” He seemed distracted.
“And I can’t see myself going door-to-door in office buildings, cold-call pitching my service. That’s just not me. Is there another way?” I asked.
“Absolutely. We have a much more ‘introverted’ method if you need it.” He replied.
“I’m not an introvert. But I’m not a door-to-door salesman, either. And I don’t want to be one.” I said.
“Well, our class on how to get clients for introvert…I mean, well…your way, is only $995.00.” He said.
I’ll leave that one alone for now. But if anyone reading this knows of a better way, I will be happy to test it out and report my findings. For now, copywriting seems about as risky as panning for gold. I’d rather sell pickaxes.
I have decided to begin blogging about my experiences and I plan to learn how to be paid to do this, just like so many expat sites preach. Let’s see if it works.
Before I began this process, I was smart enough to buy the domain “USAdios.com” at GoDaddy.com. That was easy enough and only cost $43.32 for two years. (I just checked my account and apparently this domain is now worth just over $1,100.00…hmmm.)
I have checked out GoDaddy’s blogging site but since I’m already used to WordPress (and WordPress already comprises about 30% of the Internet) I need to transfer my domain over to them. This was free to do since I signed up for a WordPress Business account for $300.00 for the first twelve months, but the transfer process has involved a gaggle of fairly complex emails and steps that I’m learning as I go. GoDaddy needs to release the domain to WordPress and it’s a legal/techy process. Right now, I’m waiting as both sites say the transfer may take between 24-72 hours. So much for the immediacy of the Internet.
I just got another email for a two-day copywriting event coming up, seating limited (of course…buy now!) $750.00 for the course, airfare, hotel, meals, etc. is extra. Ooops! Just got another one. A live, interactive coaching program, limited to just 75 copywriters (the “buy now” theme is popular) with a cost of just $1,995.00. Here’s another one I just received: two-days, copywriting training, click through three pages with tons of verbiage, the class costs $1,200.00 plus travel, etc.
When we lived in The Bahamas, I did a stint with the now defunct WizeTrade (one of those late-night infomercials that promised riches by day trading using their simple software.) Since we were living on the island with plenty of free daytime hours while our son was in school, I decided to jump in head first.
I bought the software, then more software, set up a high-tech, multi-monitor trading desk in our condo, installed a high-speed Internet connection and spent my days trading, learning to trade and flying back and forth from Nassau, Bahamas to Addison, Texas for “training.” I even paid extra for a live “coach” who I met with daily on the phone and computer to help analyze my trades. I studied my butt off and really worked hard at it. After costs, I barely broke even.
I remember asking my trading coach a question one day.
“Wouldn’t you make more money trading than coaching?” I asked.
“For sure.” He said.
“So…why not just trade?”
“I could do that. But I’m building up my portfolio funds right now.” He explained.
“Wouldn’t you get that done faster with trading?” I asked him. He stammered a bit and then answered,
“Well, I also like to give back to an industry that has given me so much.”
“So, you work for free?” I asked.
“Well, no.” He said.
It seems like these copywriting classes are very similar to the trading classes. If the skill being taught makes so much money, why tell everyone else how to do it? Why not just do it yourself and make a fortune? It makes no sense.
WizeTrade closed its doors years ago. Google them if you want to know why. It appears that the owner is in a completely different business now. Many former traders were duped and left very unhappy. I’m glad I got out early and pretty much broke even.
You can laugh at me later when I write that I attended one of these copywriting courses I keep hearing about.
Some people never learn.