I very rarely write step-by-step how-to guides now. It is my firm belief that, as much as the gods of Internet marketing want us to believe that humans want to be told in no uncertain terms what to do, we don’t need step-by-step how-to guides at all. At least we don’t need them when it comes to building a fulfilling career, creating loving relationships, healing your body, or any of the other things that really matter in life.
But if there is one thing that people keep asking me about, it is how I ended up making tons of money simply by staying at home and writing. Of course, I wasn’t just staying at home and writing. I was doing a lot of other things. Along the way, I learned Internet marketing. I learned SEO. I learned blogging. I learned email marketing. I learned social media and Facebook ads and funnels and YouTube marketing and all the various methods that people use to sell their wares on the Internet. You know what all of that has to do with my successful career as a freelance writer? Nothing much, really.
Because success, in my experience, doesn’t come from knowing a lot of things. I sure do know a lot of things, I’m not gonna deny that. And I’m not gonna deny I feel a tiny bit of satisfaction in knowing these things as well. Okay, a huge bit. But success doesn’t happen because you know things. It also doesn’t happen because you know people. I, for one, am the hugest introvert I know and I certainly didn’t know a lot of people, not in person or on the Internet.
So if you’re gonna ask me, and many of you have, where did my success as a freelance writer come from? It came from this very simple, three-step method, which I devised just a few minutes ago. I have been using this method since I was a child. I remember using it as early as eight years old when I led the writing, direction, costumes, and acting for a classroom play that went on to become the best classroom play my third-grade fans have ever seen. I didn’t know I was using this method back then. Heck, I didn’t even know I was using it with my freelance writing. But I have been using this method all my life and I can say with certainty that it’s still gonna be useful in the next several years and decades to come. If you’re ready for this, here goes.
Step 1: Have fun.
Seriously, this is the very first step of it all. If you’re not having fun, then you had better not do anything at all. It’s sad how much we teach people that we need to take life seriously, that we can’t enjoy the good stuff because—I don’t know—maybe there are poor people and people who are suffering and people who are not having fun at all. You’re not going to make their lives better by not enjoying your own life.
And I’m not just talking about having fun during your free time. I’m talking about having fun doing what you’re doing. There are two ways to go about this. Either you choose a career you know you’ll enjoy or you make it your intention to enjoy the career you now have. It was both for me. I chose to write for money because I enjoy writing, always have since I was seven years old. But when it came to those times when enjoying didn’t come naturally to me, I decided that I was going to enjoy as much as I could.
That’s how quick and simple it is. You don’t have to go looking for reasons to enjoy what you’re doing. You just have to enjoy it for what it is right now. Those times I had to write a hundred and one articles on resveratrol? Instead of complaining about how fed up I am with the hottest weight loss pill on the market, I dove in and decided I was going to enjoy every second of it. No, I didn’t put off my enjoyment until the moment I received my payment. I began enjoying the moment I started writing. It’s always a fun fact to throw around at parties, you know. When people are getting tipsy on red wine, you can always tell them they’re getting their daily dose of resveratrol. Yep, I’m nerdy like that, and although some people may find it awkward, I enjoy it very much.
And this reminds me, when you’re having fun, stop trying to live up to other people’s expectations of what it’s like to have fun. Clearly, for a dork like me, I very much enjoy stuffing my brain with pretty much useless information that’s cool to know and not-so-cool to throw around at parties. That’s what’s fun to me. It may not look like a lot of fun to others but it doesn’t really matter. Stick to your idea of what having a good time is and you’re all good.
That is step one of my fool-proof method to getting that successful career that you want. Please notice that there are no such things as “Connect with the right people” or “Talk to a career counselor to figure out what you want.” First of all, if you don’t truly find it in your heart to have fun at networking events, there’s no way you’re going to find much less connect with the right people there. And you don’t really need a career counselor to tell you what you want in your career. You already know that in your heart. You just have to stay quiet and listen.
And so, by virtue of Step 1 being to enjoy what you’re doing, it naturally follows that Step 1.5 is to stop doing what you don’t enjoy. Yes, I already said that you can decide to enjoy what’s already in front of you, but there are just things that don’t fit at all. For instance, I once endured the exhausting commutes to work as a writer in Makati’s busy, bustling central business district. While I liked doing the actual work itself, the part where I put down words on paper, I just had zero heart for the jampacked train rides and the hot, noisy, and polluted streets of Metro Manila. None for that at all.
And so I packed my bags and left. I came back to the province and decided I was gonna work online in 2008, at a time when most people still didn’t know what it meant to be an Internet worker and grown-ups still tried to persuade me to apply to mainstream media jobs. And as you know by now, I stubbornly stuck to what I enjoyed and reaped the rewards, financial and all.
Step 2: Put your whole heart and soul into it.
Your entire freakin’ heart and soul. This is why the first step is crucial. You can’t really put your heart and soul into anything if you don’t enjoy it in the first place. Thankfully, I chose something I liked and chose to like what I did, which allowed me to pull out all the stops when it came to my work and give it everything I had.
By that I mean I had times when I worked until 4 o’clock in the morning, not because I had to but because I wanted to. Not just because I was enjoying what I did but also because if I had to stay up until the wee hours of the morning to make sure my final product was top of its class, then I would. And I did it not because I wanted to make huge money out of it but because there was no other way to go about it. Honestly, if you’re not gonna give it your best, then why even do it at all? That’s one of the most important principles I live by. Whatever you do, whether it’s dressing for a wedding, making a presentation at work, or cooking omelets for breakfast, always give it 100%.
And I don’t mean to be the most competitive prick in the workplace. To put your heart and soul in it means to intend that what you do and the product or service you offer will bless anybody and everybody who experiences it. When I write an article, I always have in mind the people I’m writing for, what they need to hear from me, and how I’m gonna go about with the writing so that they understand the topic in the easiest possible way for them. My readers come first. Okay, my own enjoyment of what I do comes first. But after I have decided that I will do what I enjoy and will enjoy what I do, that’s done and it’s all about my readers next.
And it’s the same with any other profession out there. It’s not about the money. It’s never about that. Have you realized that while this post is all about making money, I still haven’t mentioned anything about money? Because to actually make money, you have to forget about making money and put your people first. That includes your audience and everyone in your circle, including the team that helps you produce all the results you want to have.
Step 3: Let go. Really, just stop giving a fuck about making any money at all.
This, my dear friend, is the real secret to bringing more money into your life. It’s also the secret to attracting a soulmate relationship and building a strong and healthy body. In fact, it is pretty much the secret to creating all the experiences you want to have in life without even trying.
It’s hard to use words to nail down the actual experience of letting go. One thing I know I did was to not obsess about money or where my career was taking me at all. In fact, unlike what many business coaches teach, I didn’t even have a clear, definable money goal, which may or may not be a good thing. I didn’t have specific targets. Although it may look like it on the outside, I wasn’t and still not an obsessive over-achiever who wanted to be a millionaire at 25, all the while belly dancing my way around the world.
No, I’m actually pretty disorganized and all over the place, even in my 30s. Although I’m learning to start putting up goalposts now, I’m still mostly going about life with the belief that whatever is going to happen is all going to be okay. I was actually okay with not making any money at all. And that, ironically, was what allowed me to make more.
On the other hand, when I start thinking about where the money would come from next or if I’m meeting things such as my clients’ traffic goals or conversion rates or key performance indicators (whatever that last one means), my performance just plummets along with my earnings. I’m not saying you shouldn’t think about things like traffic and conversion. Somewhere along the way, you will have to pay attention to them. Just don’t make them the most important part of what you do.
By now, if you’re still with me up to the end of this post, you should already know that making money from what you do is not about making money at all. It’s about doing what you do for the sake of it. It’s about pouring your heart and soul into what you do because that’s what inspires others, blesses them, empowers them to pay for your products and services over and over again. Those who happily and easily make the most money from what they do are those who were never in it for cash in the first place.
Yes, there are people who do make money by struggling and fighting and trying to control everything. But that’s not who you are, are you? Or else you wouldn’t even have clicked this post to begin with. And even those who struggle and fight and try to control everything don’t know it yet, but that’s not who they are either. It takes a bit of guts and a bit of crazy, but when you do allow yourself to let go, to give of yourself, and to be who you are, you’ll realize the money and the life you want have always been there all along.