In this Monday with Michael episode, I want to take you behind the scenes to discover what a day in the life of a freelancer looks like.
As a freelancer it can be easy to fall into an employee mindset and not do the big stuff that moves the needle. When you put systems in place and stop jumping from one task to another you will be amazed how much more freedom you actually have! Having discipline allows you to:
1. Work smarter, not harder
2. Write more efficiently
3. Have more freedom to do the stuff you want to do
How I Structure My Week as a Freelance Writer
There is a lot of advice out there on how to structure your time as a freelancer, but at the end of the day you need to find what works for you! Here is how I structure my time:
1. Writing Days
On writing days, all I do is write. I have already done my outlining usually the day before, so all I have to do is focus on writing content.
2. Inspire Your Success Days
On these days I record podcasts or coach my one on one writing students.
3. Researching, Outlining and Editing Days
I usually only spend half the day doing this and spend the other half working on my golf game.
4. Free Days
It’s important to schedule these days to recharge!
Final tip: Plan out your schedule for the next day the night before! It really does shift the mindset when you know exactly what you need to do the next day when you wake up. You can hit the ground running!
Are You Ready to Start Your Freelance Writing Career?
If you are ready to take the next step and launch your freelance writing career, I would love to help you build momentum!
I still have a few spots left in my coaching program, fill out an application to learn more 1/1 coaching.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
You are listening to inspire your success podcast. Episode number 70. In today’s episode, we’re going to talk all about what it really looks like behind the scenes in the day, in the life of a freelancer. So if you’re someone that’s wanted to quit your job, make money at home, never go into that cubicle again, you’re going to want to listen to this one. All right, well again, happy Monday. If you are coming to me live here on Monday and listen to this and a, again, this is Michael Leonard, host of the inspire your success podcast and just a thank you again for being here. Uh, I’m just so, so excited. Uh, like I’ve talked about the last few episodes, uh, the brand has really blown up and I’m just so excited that it’s resonating with you guys because hopefully you can hear it in my voice and, and read it in my writing on medium that I love what I’m doing and I’m so fortunate to get to share this knowledge with you.
Speaker 1 (00:59):
Uh, so that way you can speed up your success because the whole topic of today’s episode is one that I think you’ll really enjoy because so many people have this idea of what freelancing is, what it’s really like to work at home. And I talked in another episode too about like what that can really, how you can battle loneliness as well. And so there’s a lot more than most people see really behind the scenes. So I’m going to talk about that as well. Um, but like I mentioned, I think I was the last episode I want to share a little bit more about myself and my life. And so my random fact for this episode is how I actually got to Arizona. So I live here in South Scottsdale, um, bought this house about five years ago, um, right in old town. So if you’re in Arizona, hit me up, shoot me a message on Instagram or email me, loved, meet up with people who are following the brand and, uh, just are likeminded individuals that really, really excites me.
Speaker 1 (01:56):
So the, how I got here, that was kind of a funny story because I, uh, I was one of those people that really enjoyed college. I mean, I was really good at colleges. I, uh, I was five year plan, barely made it out of there in five years. Did you know, good A’s and B’s, all that stuff. Uh, but yeah, I mean I, I didn’t really think too much about the future. I was really living in the present back then. I was having a lot of fun partying all the time. I would run party buses. That was my side hustle and how I made money. I mean, I, I was definitely not someone that was like going to a corporate job when I was in, uh, in college. I was definitely, uh, doing the part time work. I was delivering pizzas, really, really working hard back then and, uh, in San Diego.
Speaker 1 (02:41):
And I went to school in North County, San Marcos, and I’ll never forget the day I had graduated in may of 2010 from college, had my bachelor’s. I was, I think 22 at the time. Uh, and I really didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. I mean it was so unclear. I mean, I knew that I wanted to be successful and do all these things, but as far as like what I wanted to do, I had zero clue. So the first thing I, I did is I, as I was just like, well, what am I going to do? I remember my parents were thinking like, Hey, Whoa, like what are you going to do? Friends were, were kind of asking and, and all this and I really had no plan. I was going to live in San Diego I thought. And then out of nowhere, I woke up one morning with the clearest epiphany ever.
Speaker 1 (03:28):
I mean it’s to this day, it’s insane how clear it was and the message from my subconscious now that I know how this stuff works was you have to move to Arizona. And so two months later I moved to Arizona. The next week after that epiphany, I went out and I flew out here to Arizona. I’d been out here cause my parents have a condo out here in Mesa, so I’d been out a little bit and then I decided to kind of check it out. And rent was about half as much. Uh, there was, you know, a fresh start. I kind of needed that fresh start. Otherwise I felt like I was going to be that guy that’s too old to be at college parties kind of guy. And so I moved out. I had $1,000 to my name. I, uh, my mom and I drove out. She drove a U haul and I drove my car.
Speaker 1 (04:13):
We loaded up and I got a one bedroom place in a Chandler, uh, Arizona. When I first moved here, I had no job. I had 1000 bucks and I just said, all right Mike, it’s time to grow up a little bit. And uh, that’s kinda how I got my start. So I dunno if you guys can relate. Maybe you did something similar after college. You just were like, Whoa, I’ve got to get around new people. Or maybe you know what it’s like to move to a new state. Be alone. Uh, there was a lot of challenges and, uh, at the end of the day though, I’ve been here almost 10 years actually. Yeah, 10 years in August, which is crazy. Uh, but I love it. I love the sun. Uh, the heat gets a little obnoxious in the summer, but uh, yeah, I love the cost of living. There’s always something going on.
Speaker 1 (04:55):
Uh, families here have got a lot of friends and uh, it’s just a good hub here in Scottsdale. So just a little background there. But now I want to talk about the day in the life of a freelancer. So the, the freelancer life is pretty funny to me because when I quit my job in May 11th, 2017, so coming up on the big three years here, which is just insane, I can’t believe I actually made it out of there and figured it out. I make money online and impact the world. It still blows my mind. I kind of got to pinch myself. So coming up on that, but I mean, I’ll never forget, my biggest thing is I just wanted to work for myself. Like, I could not stand meetings. I hated going to team meetings and all these, it was such BS to me. I was definitely not a company guy.
Speaker 1 (05:42):
I was like, man, this is all garbage. I wanted to just be like, give me, tell me what to do and just like don’t talk to me. Let me just get my work done. Um, I’ll never forget I had a quarterly quota and I told my boss, I have met my quota the second week of the, of the quarter of the first month. And I was like, Hey man, I already met my quota. Can I just not show up for the next two and a half months? And he was like, no, you need to work. I’m like, well I already did it. Like you don’t even have to pay me if you don’t want, can I just take like a two and a half month break? Cause at that point I was so over corporate and, and all that and I just never forget. He’s like, I’ve never had anyone ask me that.
Speaker 1 (06:22):
I’m like, well I did my job. Like what? I mean, I guess I could make more, but I don’t really even care right now. I just can, I have some time off. So that was kind of funny because he obviously probably from then probably knew I wasn’t really there for the longterm. But the reason I wanted all of that is because I wanted to work at home. I wanted to do what I wanted to do because I felt like if I had more time I could figure out how to grow a blog, how to make money writing and all the stuff that I’ve been doing now. But I didn’t have any structure. I mean, when I first started, I’ll never forget that first Monday when my other half Lori went to work and I’m just sitting here at my house with my dog munchie and I’m like, Whoa, what am I supposed to do all day?
Speaker 1 (07:04):
Like who’s no one’s telling me what to do. I get to create my schedule and it was like pretty cool. But looking back, the first seven months was a dumpster fire because I did not have any systems, zero organization. I jumped around from task to task to task. Like you would not believe I still had that employee mindset of check your email, get stuff done. But I was not doing the big stuff that actually moved the needle. Not to mention I was doing everything. I was editing videos, I was editing blog posts, images, like just so many things that I would never do now. Um, but again, I didn’t know what I was doing. So if you want to quit your job, if you wanna work at home, you want that freedom to not shower until noon or not dress up or whatever you want to do, just know that that is possible.
Speaker 1 (07:55):
But the more discipline that you have, the more freedom you’re going to have. And it’s kind of a weird concept. And I actually just had someone on medium comment this. So I published a post about how I made $2,250 in one day of writing. And there was a lot of writing that day. I’m not going to lie to you. It was, I, I worked out twice that day and I pretty much, uh, created content the rest of the day. And I talk about that. And the guy commented and he said, well, I don’t have the discipline for that. Like, that doesn’t sound good to me. And I’m like, well, you know, there’s $2,200 in a day and if I do that five days in a month, I just made 10,000 plus dollars, you know, and I, that’s more than I was making at my nine to five.
Speaker 1 (08:37):
So I’m like, well, that to me is a six figure a year income. If you do that and you work five days, of course need to edit and do other clients stuff, but we’ll just say for example sake. And so that kind of shows though the, the, uh, ability of having discipline to just get stuff done and batch it out and how that can help you then create more freedom. Because I, I basically have, um, I’m definitely different than most writers. Most writers that I talk to and read about on medium have these tell you that you need to write every day and that you need to write at the same time and all this stuff. I don’t agree with that. Like, so if you’re feeling like, man, that’s like a lot of pressure, like don’t listen to it, just do your own thing. I totally do.
Speaker 1 (09:17):
I go against the tide in life, in business and I think if it’s worked for me. So I just challenge you to think the same. Like if, if you don’t like doing something, it’s never going to work in the longterm. Right? So for me, I actually broke down my schedule into four different kinds of days and I have writing days. I have where that’s all I do is I just write, I literally have outlines created the night before and I basically just spend that day writing. I don’t usually golf. I usually work out one to two times where I work out and then go to yoga or sleep, yoga, yoga, nitro, whatever. Um, I basically just, the main thing I do is write, because again, I’m not context switching, so I’m not like writing and then recording a podcast or writing and then editing. Like I just write, I don’t edit, I don’t email people.
Speaker 1 (10:04):
I don’t do anything other than write those days or those are, those are mentally exhausting, no doubt. But I found them to be a lot more effective than if I wrote every day. Now people tell you, Oh, you need to write every day from seven to nine or whatever your sweet spot is. I just don’t agree with that because it’s hard to write really good and really creative stuff. Um, I was talking to one of my coaching students and she’s like, I’m just exhausted. Like I tried to write today and I just didn’t have it in me. And I got down on myself. I felt lazy, like I wasn’t motivated and I told her, I was like, you know, I used to do that too. But the reason you feel like that is because writing is mentally exhausting being an entrepreneur is you use a lot of creative juices.
Speaker 1 (10:43):
That’s why Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, they don’t make many decisions because they’re making decisions all day in their business. That’s why they wear the same tee shirt and all that stuff. So it’s important to think about that in your business, in your side hustle because you need to focus on your mental energy because if you’re feeling creative and well rested and you can just do writing one or two days a week and that will get you through the rest of the week or, or whatever your schedule is, you’re going to get a lot more done in a lot less time. So again, for me, I have four different kinds of days and this is just how I do it. You can think about how this might work for your business. I have a writing, I have writing days, I have inspire your success days. Like this day where I’m doing podcast episodes, I’m doing coaching calls with students, things like that.
Speaker 1 (11:29):
Um, I have edit research, outline days on those days. I usually play golf for half the day and then I spend time editing the writing days work, I research articles. I get stuff ready for the writing days and then I create outlines. So that way I don’t go into writing days looking at blank pieces of paper, uh, because that is the worst thing you can do if you look at a blank screen as a writer, that, that just, it’s hard to get a lot of juices flowing. So I’m a big fan of outlining in advance, but, and then the fourth day is just a free day where I don’t do anything. I don’t do any work. Um, I probably should do a lot more of these to be real honest with you guys. I don’t schedule these nearly as much. This first quarter of the year has been crazy busy. It’s been good though. I mean, the podcast has grown, medium, everything’s going in the right direction.
Speaker 1 (12:11):
So I can’t complain, but I know I need to schedule more free days and I encourage you to do the same. I’m like James Wedmore. I’m a mentor, always says the rest is the work because like I talk about it, you gotta recharge, you gotta take care of yourself. Uh, you need to do things that make you unplug from your day to day life. Make you hang out with you know, family, friends, significant other, your dog yourself. Go and do fun things. Go to cool dinners or happy hour, whatever you want to do like go out in nature, exercise, you got to have free days. And so those are kind of the four ways that I have them. But again it’s going to be different from everyone. But I say the biggest thing that you can do is just have an open calendar. Like the worst thing you can do, excuse me, the worst thing you can do is have an open calendar and just say when you go to bed and you have no idea what you’re going to do the next day, that is such a bad idea because I did it.
Speaker 1 (13:04):
I thought that like, Oh you know what, I don’t have a boss. I’ll do what I want to do. I had to had attitude. And if you do that, I’m not going to say that isn’t fun some days, but there’s a lot of days I ended up watching Netflix cause I was like, ah, I’ll do it tomorrow. And I told you guys, I, if I was left to my own devices, I would literally just watch Netflix and golf all day and I would do writing, uh, uh, like in between it. But like that’s, that’s how my brain is wired some days. And so having that schedule going into the next day, having a clear plan and planning out in advance every Sunday like, Hey, here’s what I’m going to do. Because once I have a plan, then it’s easy for me to wake up and execute on it. So I’ll probably talk about more about like setting up a weekly plan in another episode because that is so simple but so powerful once you actually do it.
Speaker 1 (13:52):
And it’s a habit that I’ve done since college and it’s really, really helped me out. If I don’t have a plan on Sunday heading into the week, all hell breaks loose usually. So that’s something that I recommend. But again, if you’re in a nine to five, it’s going to be different. You’re going to have your own schedule. Maybe you don’t actually work a nine to five, maybe work mornings, afternoons, evenings, whatever. If you’re in that situation, make sure to listen to episode number 57 where I talk about how to freelance and do a side hustle as well as a nine to five because that one is going to really help you out. But again, the moral of this episode is that as painful as it might be for some of you people out there that are usually high on the DNI, uh, the disc profile, which I highly recommend you take is it’s hard to have that structure, but that structure will create a, you’ll have discipline to create that structure, which will then create your freedom.
Speaker 1 (14:43):
So everyone wants freedom, everyone wants to have choice, do whatever they want to do every single day of the week, or at least I do. Um, but that only from being really, really focused and laser laser focused on those days where I know I need to do the stuff, even if I don’t feel like doing it, I know I need to do it. So again, hopefully you’re kind of understanding that yes, you do get a lot of freedom with entrepreneurship, with working at home, but you need to be very strategic about it. Otherwise you can not make the results that you want, not make the money that you want. And you know, the last thing I want is you to have to go back to a job that you hate just because you need the money. So have that discipline, it will pay off even if it’s painful in the beginning, depending on who you are and what your goals are.
Speaker 1 (15:26):
But it really, really will pay off. And then you can do whatever you want for the rest of your life. And that to me is the goal. So hopefully that’s helpful for you guys. And again, just a couple other updates I had mentioned in a previous podcast that we’re doing a training at the end of March. I’m going to be honest with you, I just got way too busy with the writing side of the business and, uh, I did not have enough time to get that ready yet. So we’re pushed that back, uh, to April. So I believe it’s the week of April. Uh, let’s see here. April 13th through the 17th. Uh, that’s when we’re going to be doing it. So I’ll have more specific dates and registration process coming up. Um, but you can make sure to follow me on Instagram at I am Michael Leonard. That way you don’t miss it.
Speaker 1 (16:09):
And, um, you can also sign up for my email list on there. Uh, and that way you’ll stay in the know and you’ll get updates for all the podcast episodes, any freebies I send out, stuff like that. So, uh, make sure to take a look at that. And then, uh, finally again, I have that, uh, freelance of 5k accelerator program. It’s open, uh, just had a person end up finishing their 60 days. So a new spot did open up. So if you do want, again, one on one coaching with me to start and or grow a freelance writing business, make sure you sign up for that. You can go to inspire your success.com forward slash coach and there’ll be a short little submission process. You’ll just tell me a little bit about your goals and then we’ll set up a call together to figure out if it’s a good fit.
Speaker 1 (16:52):
Because again, only want to work with certain people that are super motivated. It’s a 60 day one-on-one intensive with me. You’ll have zoom calls, email support, uh, what’s app messaging. Uh, we’re, it’s, it’s very, very intense, but again, it’s meant to deliver tons of results in 60 days that most people won’t get in a year or so. That’s something that, uh, again, is still open. So the freelance of 5k accelerator program, make sure you take a look at that. And if you have any questions about the podcast coaching, uh, anything, make sure to always email [email protected] So thank you again for being here, and if you’re listening on Monday again, I hope it’s a good one. And as always, I hope you have an Epic day.
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