Making A Living… Just
I have just submitted (and received payment for) the fourth eBook in the ten book series for my client. I have also been asked to start work on their Canada and UK series of eBooks on this topic so that means lots to learn and lots to write but lots of work to keep me busy.
As well as the eWriting, I am also starting to get work as a tutor, mostly for high school students but I will tutor university and post graduate if the work is there. This is a good ‘gig’ but you do have to be flexible and willing to run it as your own business. I like that and plan to register a Pty Ltd company again. The additional paperwork is well offset by the tax advantages of being a company and hiring yourself.
The company can do anything it wants to. It can send you to a Writer’s Retreat in Colorado if it can afford the expense. That expense is completely tax deductible for a company but harder to justify for a sole trader. For any writer looking to make their living from their words, they should get that business education that lets them make more informed decisions about the best structure for their circumstances.
I did the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme in 2008-9 over the Xmas holidays. You end up with a viable business plan and if you do the work, a Certificate IV in Business (Small Business Management). You then get some assistance for a year to run your business, including the equivalent of the dole every fortnight and mentoring from a business advisor. My year is up next week and while the consultancy/public speaking side of the business never really took off, the writing/teaching side of it has.
I earn income from developing and teaching community college courses on writing subjects, tutoring English, geography, History and Maths to Stage 4 or Year 8 and my online writing activities. These include writing eBooks and other work for clients as well as selling my own eBooks, printed books and advertising space on web sites I provide the copy for. It is yet to make enough to worry the Tax Man but with my five kids and supportive wife to look after, we are doing very well. I also spend a few hours every week getting around the traps to introduce a terrific new cleaning system called ActiveIonator. We use it at home and swear by it. The secret is not to make $1,000 a week (or whatever amount) from one source but to make say $200 from five sources, or $100 from ten sources. If one source dries up it is not so devastating that way, and easier to replace a $200 a week job than a $1,000 one.
The secret to living your dream as an eWriter, then, is to live within your means and keep writing and be flexible. Plug away, stick at it. It is not easy but it is better than working for ‘Da Man’, swapping your hours for his dollars and hoping he doesn’t go bust, decide to downsize or simply take out his frustrations on his staff.
One other moment of joy just yesterday… I came across an old 1970s-1980s era Adler Tippa 100 portable typewriter. I was told it didn’t work as the carriage was stuck but I could have it for five bucks. I bought it and flicked the carriage lock lever across to free it up, tapped some keys and away the thing went. The young lad at the charity store had no clue how to get it to work. To be honest it is a little ripper, but did I ever write an entire book on one of those things? Yes, I did. Reports, invoices, newsletters and all my correspondence were all created on something pretty similar.
Later that day I bought a new wireless ergonomic keyboard and mouse. I am not impressed with the flash wireless unit that came with my latest 27 inch i5 iMac. The wireless mouse is neat but the batteries died within a couple of weeks. The keyboard is too small and has not got a separate number pad on the side. This Microsoft keyboard is bigger, which my fat fingers appreciate and has a decent mouse to go with it so I am happy once more. Much happier than trying to write this using the Adler!