Working For Fun And Profit

By Jamie McSloy / May 11, 2018
working for fun and profit featured image

Working For Fun And Profit

I was once again trolling Reddit for topic ideas and getting more and more annoyed at the boatload of failure that civilians have for this whole online business and writing business thing. But I did come across this interesting thread:

so our guy wants to know how you reconcile writing for fun and writing for profit. I’m going to bring this into a bit of a wider context to include everyone.

How do you reconcile working for fun with the hard task of sticking to a schedule and making sure you work when you need to work?

First Of All…

There are people who talk about lifestyle businesses and doing the four hour workweek. I’m not one of those people. So if you are into the whole work-life balance thing you might want to read this article with an air of scepticism. A lot of the traits that I will talk about in this article might well be innate to me and not universal.

Let’s first talk about where you sit in the world. If you procrastinate and only write for fun, understand that the world doesn’t really care. If you write 200 words a day or work on your blog for one day a week, the world isn’t waiting for your success. The world moves on. Your competitors will be working harder than you. Your customers will go elsewhere. And you won’t gain any traction.

That isn’t to say you can’t achieve something with very little time invested. It just is how it is.

(Time Out: If you’re enjoying this article, then you should probably sign up to my mailing list, where I give out ideas and business tricks that I don’t share publicly. Click here, fill out your details and get yourself on the list! You won’t leave this page.

Now Back To The Regular Programming Schedule…)

Now, this also goes for how you feel about your work. If you are a writer who hates writing and finds it very tough to put pen to paper, the world still doesn’t care. Your audience doesn’t care and therapy of mine is when you see writer twitter accounts and all they talk about is how tough their life is because they have to write.

Most people hate their jobs. That is a fact of life. The world doesn’t care if you hate your job. You aren’t owed money for persevering. You are granted money when you provide something valuable to people.

Now, you can choose to do that right now or you can choose to procrastinate and worry about doing it before you start. The choice is yours.

But let’s try and make this enjoyable.

There Is No Dichotomy Here

The original poster asks how you reconcile writing for enjoyment and writing as a business.

There is no dichotomy there. I write for business mostly, and I very much enjoy it. I don’t know how anyone can’t.

The same goes with all the other business stuff I do really.

If you enjoyed writing, then you will enjoy getting a chapter done. You will enjoy finishing a book. Completing a blog post will give its own dopamine reward.

Now add in getting actual reward for your work and you find the dopamine rush becomes very addictive.

Every time you get a sale you will enjoy writing a little bit more. When you get a subscriber to your email list, you will enjoy writing a little bit more.

I write primarily for business, and I can guarantee you that I enjoy writing a lot more than the person that frustratingly works on their great novel for 10 years only to leave it in their bedroom drawer because they are scared of anyone ever reading it.

Virtuous Cycle

Enjoyment at anything comes through a series of positive feedback cycles. You do something, you get enjoyment, and so you do it more.

Throw in monetary reward, the reward of learning new things and cracking new puzzles, and the fact that success is cumulative, and you create a virtuous cycle of reward for your action.

These things get easier over time. You build habits because you get the rewards. And as your rewards add up, your processes become more efficient and your results accumulate.

For instance, if you write a book, then you will feel great the first time you get a sale. You will feel fantastic when you get one sale and you will feel great when you get your first email subscriber.

But then your email subscriber probably translates into more sales down the road. So you write a second book, and then a third book, and then a tenth book. And you subscribers go from one, to ten, and to a hundred and a thousand.

When you have one thousand subscribers, you are guaranteed more sales almost inevitably. So by book ten, each time you release a new book, you make 100 sales automatically.

Your enjoyment of the book writing process goes up exponentially as your results do.

And as this process happens, it gets ingrained into the process itself. It’s a lot easier to motivate yourself to finish a project when you know you will be successful.

If you knew you were going to sell 100 copies of the book tomorrow, then you would release it today. If you were going to make $1000 upon the release of your book next week, then you’d hit your deadline because who doesn’t want to be $1000 richer?

That’s why there’s no dichotomy between writing for enjoyment, or working for enjoyment, and working to get your work done.