What I'd Tell Myself Five Years Ago

What do you know now that you wish you knew then? It’s a question that gets asked of many people at many different stages in their lives and I’ve found myself looking in the mirror about this query. I’ve been a professional freelance writer for five years and, it makes me wonder, what would I tell my past self?

Absolutely, I know a lot more about running a successful home-based business now than I did when I first started out. It’s not just about the logistic and administrative duties, like handling sales tax and invoicing, but it’s also about the day-to-day. As Ray reminded me, Scrooge McDuck once taught us that we need to work smarter, not harder and that’s a philosophy worth remembering.

But that’s not what I would tell my past self. I don’t know if it would be valuable advice in the first few days of freelancing, but I would tell myself to expect the income plateau. It sounds obvious enough, but this is really something to take to heart.

In each successive year of freelancing, I steadily increased my annual income in leaps and bounds. It really did feel like the sky was the limit. I wasn’t rich, by any stretch, but the increases were encouraging. Then, it hit me. The plateau. I tried working harder, but it didn’t get easier. Soon, I had to learn about working smarter and adapting to the situation.

For example, I’ve started making some strides in shifting from selling services to selling products. The book is a big part of that, even though it hasn’t been as lucrative as I had hoped, but I am working on an e-book for release later this year too. Through tactics like these, I aim to increase my passive income so that I don’t have to rely nearly as much on my “active” income.

And that is how I intend on overcoming this plateau and reaching for the next rung in the ladder. These goals are more than carrots on a stick. They have meaning and I am motivated to reach them. So, Michael of five years ago, recognize the plateau and learn how to get past it.