1043
8 min 45 sec

Writer-Editor Makes Six-Figure Life Revision

A writer finds financial freedom by editing other people’s work, eventually building his own agency.
Editing Niche Ideas Service Writing

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What It's About

A writer edits his life by editing other people's writing.

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Editing & Writing
Complexity
Low
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Liam has some helpful advice for anyone looking to do this kind of work; "Join workshop groups (online or in-person) where you can get practice editing and providing feedback. Learn what it feels like to have people criticize your work and how best to handle it. A big part of being a successful editor is knowing how to give honest feedback without insulting or upsetting your client."

Fun Fact

Self-published titles are having a real moment. Those who used to be dismissed as hobby writers are now, in many cases, achieving mainstream success. One such example is Andy Weir whose book, The Martian, started out as a 99 cent ebook for Kindle and ended up selling millions of copies and being turned into a feature film starring Matt Damon.

Notes from Chris

Episode 1043
Liam Carnahan thought he wanted to be a writer. After finishing high school, he studied for a degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing.

While at college, he was surprised to discover his love for editing. In lots of ways, he found more joy in reviewing and guiding other writers than he did in writing his own stories.

So, when he graduated he decided to look for a role as an editor. Unfortunately, his hunt began at the height of the global financial crisis. There weren’t many jobs paying a decent wage for an aspiring editor at the time.

Rather than go hungry, he took a position as a writer in what he describes as a “content farm.” This was a low-level agency, all too popular at the time. Rather than craft well thought out, informative pieces; his employer simply paid him to spin out quick and dirty three-hundred word blog posts day after day...

Around the same time, Amazon released the Kindle. With the launch, almost overnight anyone who wanted to could publish their own ebook. Liam found the whole idea fascinating, and started reading several of the ninety-nine cent self-published books available on Amazon.com.

Very quickly he realized, a lot of these authors had great ideas, but wow, some of them really needed the help of an editor!

He thought this was the kind of work he could easily do remotely and in his spare time. After discovering a few businesses that offered editing services, he sent his resume off. Before long, he had landed himself his first freelance gig.

But that’s not all she wrote...

The arrangement didn’t last long as Liam’s side hustle employer—a boss by another name—decided to retire shortly after hiring him. He suggested Liam try his hand at running a business himself. He even offered to link to Liam’s new website, if he built one.

Liam decided to take a crack at writing his own story … a story of independence. He still had a day job, so there was little risk. But, if things worked out, it might be a path to the life of freedom he’d long dreamed of.

He called his service Invisible Ink Editing. His real side hustle was now in its first draft.

It didn’t take long before Liam had his first customer, who arrived via referral from his previous employer’s website. Over the coming months, Liam had a handful of additional clients show up. It gave him the foundation of his first customer base.

As more and more clients came through though, Liam refined that process. He figured out how best to charge, eventually settling on a per word rate.

Within another year, he had more customers than he could handle on his own.

Liam decided he needed help and looked for additional editors he could hire on freelance basis. He would pay them a reasonable rate per job, and keep a percentage for himself.

Add on a couple more years, and both SEO and word of mouth helped Invisible Ink continue to grow. By 2018 he had six part-time editors and he was doing quite well. So much so that in mid-2019, he reached the elusive six-figure mark in yearly profit and took the plunge, leaving his day job.

For over a decade, Liam dreamed of finding work that would allow him the flexibility to travel and set his own hours. He’ll be celebrating the achievement next year by taking off to Asia and living the nomadic lifestyle for a while.

But it’ll be far from a holiday, Liam has already soft launched his next project, a content agency of his own. If it can do half as well as Invisible Ink Editing, it will be a story worth telling.

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"Write yourself. You can't be a good editor if you don't know how to write."
—Liam Carnahan #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau