When I had a full-time job I thought I had a life. It was not a very enjoyable job and I would be woken up by the phone at strange hours of the night to be told to drive somewhere 50 miles away and fix something, but it was a job. I had high blood pressure, too.
I had a life because in between phone calls I could do stuff. I would do the garden, decorate and do odd-jobs, even read a book.
I was on call 24/7 every day of the year, so could not travel far from home. Some days I was working 16 hours, others zero, but over time the constant waiting for the phone to ring was wearing me down.
This might not seem like much of a life, but I enjoyed the bits when I was not working. Then Lehman Brothers happened and the World started to go pear-shaped. In 2010 I lost my job due to cut-backs and was made redundant.
I had a nice lump-sum redundancy payment, but no phone, car and no job. I had used my work phone and van for the past six years so had to buy and budget for these.
I was 57 years old and had zero chance of finding a job, so I decided to start looking for a way to earn my living online. This meant getting an Internet connection. I used to have a life because I spent my free time doing real world stuff. Now €1000 poorer I have a satellite Internet connection, but no real world life because I spend every minute online.
All of my time for the next three years I spent online, writing articles here on InfoBarrel and building up my own sites. I learnt a lot and built up my reputation. Reputation is vital online. I Made lots of contacts on IB, too, some of which led to paid work.
Reputation is everything. I built my reputation on InfoBarrel. I worked hard, helped people and was a regular forum contributor. I thought I knew it all when I started but was learning new things every day.
My Own Sites
Most of the ideas did not pan out because I did not have the money or time to invest in them to make them work. I still have one site running and making money, but not in the way I expected, it has taken on its own life and is headed off in its own direction.
I now have a collection of online jobs. I spend my mornings writing articles for up-front payments and my afternoons on a paid moderating on a blogging site. These jobs are ones I almost enjoy because they suit me. I can work on my own, the phone never rings and I get a decent night’s sleep.
This is not quite the hands-off income I was hoping for, but it pays the bills and gives my brain plenty of exercise.
Real World Life Again
I find that I have to divide up my day and budget some time for the real world. I work at the article writing in the early mornings, then take a few hours off and work in the garden or go for a walk. I work at the moderating job in the afternoon, then cook dinner and start my leisurely evening job, working on my own site.
I knock off around 8pm and “research”. I should just switch off the laptop, but spend another hour looking for broadband deals, how much my pension is worth and places to go away to for a few days.
This online writers’ lifestyle suits me in that my blood pressure is lower than it has ever been, but my weight is creeping up and my fitness levels are way down. Those are two problems I need to solve, still.