A few years ago I was in a pretty bad place.
On the outside I was pretending to be happy…
Pretending that “I had it all together.”
Pretending to love the “big law” job that I had worked so hard to get.
But on the inside, I was miserable.
I was depressed, anxious and my life was falling apart.
I had become someone I didn’t recognize.
I had chosen the legal profession to please others — I wanted to make my family proud.
But what I really wanted to do was to write, create, perform and teach.
I had fooled myself into thinking I’d be able to do all these things as a lawyer.
But instead of fighting injustice in the courtroom, I spent my days rotting in a dimly lit office staring at a computer screen.
I was dying inside — figuratively and literally.
Around that time, I diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
Everyone says that’s the “good cancer” because, in most cases, it’s treatable.
But mine had started to spread throughout the intricate network of lymph nodes in my body.
That didn’t sound very “good” to me.
I was terrified every single day.
“How much longer do I have?” was all I could think about.
But if it weren’t for that darn cancer diagnosis, things probably would have stayed the same.
Once I accepted that my time was limited I started to think and act differently.
I started questioning everything…
“Why was I staying at a job I hated?”
“Why wasn’t I trying new things?”
“Why was I letting other people have so much influence over me?”
The answer was simple…
I was afraid.
Afraid of failing.
Afraid of losing what I had — even through I didn’t even want it.
Afraid if disappointing people.
Afraid of being judged.
Afraid of what people would say.
I was afraid of EVERYTHING.
But the cancer diagnosis gave me a new fear that trumped all my old fears…
“What if I die without going after what I really want?”
Could I live with that?
From that point on I was committed to doing things differently.
I just didn’t know WHAT to do exactly.
I started brainstorming ideas and trying new things.
Some of my ideas were ridiculous — insane really.
But not all of them.
I read books for inspiration.
I listened to podcasts.
I watched webinars just to see what other people were doing and selling.
I wanted to see what was possible.
I became an idea junky.
Little by little, the pieces started falling into place.
One day I stumbled on a site looking for audiobook narrators and I felt a rush of excitement.
I didn’t even know this was a thing you could do!
But once I found it I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame.
I didn’t know the first thing about narrating audiobooks, but I was determined to figure it out.
And I did.
I didn’t give up when things felt hard or when I didn’t know all the answers.
I pushed ahead and figured things out as I went.
Quitting was not an option — well, except for that job that wasn’t right for me.
I finally got up the nerve move on from law firm life on February 12, 2015.
My former co-workers thought I was insane.
“You’ll never make it,” they said.
Part of me believed them.
I didn’t know many creatives who were making a living doing work they actually liked.
But I wasn’t giving up that easily.
After all, if some people were doing it, why couldn’t I?
Why not me?
I assumed that the transition would be rocky, and it was.
My finances took a hit.
Leaving a steady paycheck at a law firm for what essentially amounted to freelance work was stressful at first.
But even in the midst of all that stress, I was comforted by the fact that I was in control.
I wouldn’t be laid off if my company had a bad quarter.
I wouldn’t be passed up for a raise or a promotion.
I no longer had to ask for permission.
I was in charge.
It was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.
It was now up to me to figure out how to make things work.
At first I focused on audiobook narration work exclusively.
And things were going well. I love the work.
Here is a sampling of some of my favorite projects.
I thought I had everything figured out before I made the leap.
But like Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
And my “punch in the mouth” came when allergy season hit.
I know that sounds ridiculous!
But I couldn’t do a good job as a narrator with a stuffy nose and a scratchy throat.
During that time, my productivity slowed and I wasn’t hitting my goals.
This is when I learned a valuable lesson.
When your income is completely dependent on your time and/or your physical abilities, you are vulnerable.
If I wanted to create a stable business, I needed to diversify my income.
Having ONE income source is dangerous regardless of whether you have your own business or work for someone else.
It’s like sitting on a stool with one peg leg.
There’s no safety net.
I read somewhere that most millionaires have at least SIX sources of income.
I had ONE.
But what else could I do?
I knew I had specialized knowledge that could benefit other people, so my next step was to take what I knew and organize it into a book.
I wrote my first book, Narration: A Beginners Guide to Recording Audiobooks for Audible & iTunes Using Audacity and self published it via Amazon’s KDP site.
The self publishing process was easier than I anticipated.
However, the book was far from perfect.
It wasn’t professionally edited, the title was way too long, and the cover is pretty gruesome.
But judging by the feedback that I received from readers, that one imperfect book has helped a lot of people get started with freelance audiobook narration.
AND… it became a second source of income to help supplement my business.
The book brings in a couple hundred dollars a month and I’m grateful for that, but it’s certainly not enough to live on.
I think a lot of self published authors find themselves in this place.
Maybe you’ve spent time organizing your ideas and expertise into a book and haven’t seen the results you’d hoped for?
Or maybe you’re thinking about self publishing a book, but you’re wondering if it’s really worth the effort?
I have good news!
It is possible to build a stable business around a self published book.
I’ve done it.
By turning the concepts and ideas from the book into SIX different sources of income.
Here are the SIX income sources that make up my business:
Services (narration, audio production, editing)
Book Royalties (ebook & paperback)
I didn’t start out with all six of these.
I added one at a time over a period of several years.
Click here to read my article about how you can create these six income streams in your business.