$50,000 reasons why millions of Americans will learn to love freelancing even more.

RetireOnPurpose.com Pexels
Freelancers on a retirement break? Image - Pexels.com

Dave and Sally are talking to their financial advisor about retirement planning. They ask, "Steve, how much money do we need to have invested with you to make $50,000 a year?"

Steve looks down at his to find out and says, "Let me crunch a few numbers here."

Dave and Sally are both in their late fifties, the last of their three kids are almost through college, they downsized once and dumped the big house, big yard, big pool and all the other big bills and headaches that went with it. Today they're curious to know Steve's number for retirement savings. They've known Steve since college and he seems like a pretty successful investment advisor. So they wait for the news.

Steve turns around in his chair with a freshly-printed page including a nice color chart and says, "Okay, here's the good news. The stock market has been strong for a long time now and if you take out 5% of one million dollars you'd have your $50,000. Taking out only 3% a year means you'll need closer to $2 million saved up. The bad news is you only have $100,000 saved today and you don't save enough."

"Not bad," said Dave as he looked at his best friend and wife, Sally, "We've only got $1,900,000 to go and we spend too much of what we make today." Perfect. Now what?"

If you've ever not made enough to cover your bills every month you know the agony of living like that. It's the same for any of us especially as we get older and face the reality of retirement. What's the solution? One of the solutions is learning how to freelance young in life. But you have to believe it's never too late to learn new skills.

What's easier if you could only choose one path given you are in the same boat as Dave and Sally?

  1. Saving another $1,900,000 starting at 58, wait to retire and be happy with their lifestyle living off their nest egg?
  2. Learn to freelance, supplement or replace their current job incomes while stressing a lot less about the whole retirement thing?

This article is for anyone interested in learning about the freedom and challenges of learning to earn anything working as a freelancer or independent contractor. However, what you'll learn in this article can be extremely useful for the millions of Baby Boomers (1946-1964) who can't afford to retire, and they're worried about being able to save or invest enough before they start enjoying life.

Consider this article a primer for option #2 - how to freelance your way through life especially if you believe retirement as a concept is dead and replaced by this amazing thing called living and working as a freelancer for as long as you live. Age is a state of mind and it doesn't matter how old you are because anyone can learn to be a top-earning freelancer. Freelancing is big business and big bucks. It's not about being a multi-millionaire and killing yourself in the process.

I don't hype income numbers and sell the pipedream of driving fancy cars or living on a yacht. I use $50,000 because it's a realistic income goal for anyone willing to work hard given skill or talent in demand to business owners or the consumer directly. It's also because of my direct experience that I choose this number. I've worked as a professional retirement planner and small business owner who's worked many freelancer hours since 2003 after selling the retirement planning business.

I know how to freelance and if you have a work ethic, a desire, and some marketable knowledge, you need to sell 500 hours at $100 an hour to make $50,000. How hard is that if you know you have 8,760 hours in a year? Anyone can learn to be a successful freelancer if they stick with marketing a useful talent or skill.

Your mindset matters! Your knowledge counts.

If you've never made $20 an hour doing anything and you think it's crazy anyone could earn $100 an hour, trust me, it happens all the time. The primary difference between making $300 an hour or $20 is confidence. There's also the amount of talent that leads to the value you provide people. Solve bigger problems, make bigger money in many cases.

Specialized talent in any field is priced at a premium for a reason. Confidence also comes from experience. So does wisdom, especially when you've been self-employed and freelanced as long as I. Give the concept of freelancing a chance, believe in yourself, and see how much you're worth in the freelancing world. Enjoy the journey.

Your mindset makes all the difference. If you know what you know can make you $50,000 a year, or you're willing to learn new skills like being a writer or editor, will you do the hard work to find your clients? Will you remain coachable and willing to invest in yourself?

There is massive demand for specialized knowledge including programming websites, designing websites or anything digitally, writing copy for magazines and blogs, contract sales, teaching, coaching, setting up specialized software solutions and many other "talents" and forms of knowledge can generate a sound hourly rate. As a starting point, check out hourly rates at Upwork as one example of a place freelancers can find tons of work.

Follows these steps to make $50,000 a year, or whatever you decide.

It's all in your head, heart and soul! You can choose your income level and learn to achieve the freelancer income of your dreams for as long as you like. Again, I use $50,000 a year because this is a very achievable number to set as a goal if you have valuable knowledge, talent, and skill to sell and deliver from the comfort of your home office like I've done since 2003.

As you go through this list please know there's a lot to learn when it comes to being in a small business of your own. That's what freelancing is. You're selling yourself and your knowledge, your value to the market of customers you choose. This list could never be complete so feel free to add a comment or send me a message if you have anything constructive to add to this article.

  1. The desire to learn new knowledge and skills for life, with cash flow and without.
  2. A dedicated journal or notebook for planning.
  3. A strategy and plan of action for success. See #2. Writing and journaling make a big difference in my direct experience.
  4. Be coachable and work on your mindset every minute. Raise the bar for yourself.
  5. Willingness to read, take notes, apply new knowledge. Never stop learning, reading, networking, or caring about making a difference.
  6. A strong self-image and belief system. This can always be enhanced.
  7. Discipline, "hunger," work ethic, reliability. Motivation is key.
  8. Confidence to price yourself right. This is where coaching comes in, or time and experience to learn the ropes on your own.
  9. General organizational, communication, sales, and business skills.
  10. Computer, internet, quiet place to work every day. Work time is pay time. Treat your workspace with respect.
  11. Credit or debit cards with available balances. You will need to pay for various software subscriptions such as hosting your website, taking online courses, adding CRM or marketing automation for email, etc.
  12. DBA or business name, a logo, maybe a business card. Keep it simple.
  13. Business, tax, legal, accounting professionals you can afford.
  14. Courage to be resilient when things don't go your way.
  15. A community of people to support you, maybe a coach or mentor.
  16. 50 clients who pay you $1,000 a year, or 100 clients who pay you $500 a year, etc.
  17. You need to learn to market, promote, network and sell You, Inc.

Freelancing gives you freedom.

That's all I'll share with you for now. Hopefully, you're inspired to learn more about freelancing if you're new to the concept. If you're already aware of freelancing and do so for a living, congratulations. You have a taste of the #1 thing I love about freelancing - freedom. I can work with whom I want, when I want, for as long as I want, and they can too. I keep it simple at this stage of my life. Call it experience. How much is that worth to know I don't have to sweat out thinking about traditional retirement because I learned to do what I love and make a great living.

There's a lot to know about being successful working as a freelancer. I plan to write a lot more about helping you learn the art of freelancing. Stay tuned for more here on my blog about my new online course to compliment the online coaching and workshops I do when I speak in the real world. (If you need a speaker please contact me!)

Now you know more about my $50,000 reasons to learn about freelancing whether you believe in the American retirement dream or not.

I always appreciate your comments here on the blog.

P.S. What do I do for a living? I sell SharpSpring marketing automation and creative marketing content and campaigns that generate high-ROI B2B sales results. Thanks for connecting me with anyone who needs help with making marketing work or cash flow.

Benjamin Franklin: Entrepreneur and Small Business Owner


Benjamin Franklin, like most of our founding fathers, was an entrepreneur. While many of the founding fathers were entrepreneurial in the professions of law, medicine and accounting, Ben Franklin was a very successful small business owner.

Were it not for the fierce, entrepreneurial spirits of our founding fathers, would there have ever been a Tea Party or American Revolution? Probably not. That's why I decided recently to dig into the history books and explore what it was like to be a small business owner and entrepreneur during the years leading up to and following the American Revolution. Imagine the odds against the early settlers who landed in New England. Picture the harsh reality of their existence arriving in a new land, an ocean away from the King who oppresses them to revolt and start a new nation, the greatest nation in the world today by many standards.

What were the early years of Ben Franklin's life like, and who influenced him to become the entrepreneur and statesman he became? Here's a brief, historical review of Ben Franklin's track record. (Source: USHistory.org)

To begin, Ben Franklin was the son of a businessman. As you'll see, Ben began working at a very young age (12), and the rest is history ...

It's easy to see how Benjamin Franklin's upbringing, and the environment within which he was nurtured, shaped him to become the small business person he became. The reality of the 18th and early 19th centuries was quite harsh compared to today's standards. Unlike today's world in which we see thousands of large companies and other organizations thriving with hundreds of thousands of employees, our founding father's were all relegated to rudimentary, early educations which lead mostly to apprenticeships following the family trade or professional, always heavily influenced by the father or leader of the household.

Wisdom of Age

The older I get, the more I appreciate history. Sure, as a kid who grew up in Boston, then New Hampshire, I was immersed in the history of our founding fathers and the American Revolution. I was in Philadelphia in 1976 to celebrate the Bicentennial. As a schoolboy, I got to witness the Tall Ships sail into and dock at Boston Harbor. Every Fourth of July was an epic holiday for the small, New England community in which I grew up.

Even though I'm no Ben Franklin, I revere the values he and our other founding fathers embrace and fought for - liberty, justice, freedom. These are the same virtues shared at the core by every entrepreneur I get to serve as a strategic advisor. My father was an entrepreneur. My mother was an entrepreneur. Their parents and grandparents, all entrepreneurs or blue collar workers and farmers who migrated from northern Europe.

I used to ask my parents why our family was so steeped in entrepreneurship. They always told me stories about how my paternal grandfather could "sell a penny off a dead man's eye." Ben Franklin was on the streets of Boston as a boy, selling the pamphlets he had typeset and printed for his brother earlier in the day. Every entrepreneur I know is a born salesman.

Working from a young age for the family business is something I share with Mr. Franklin. My father owned and operated a hotel and restaurant when I was just a boy. I got to work as a bus boy when I was 12. Like every kid I knew back then who valued having the freedom of pocket money and a piggy bank came from hustling odd jobs, or taking a paper route, or working in the coal factory your uncle might own.

Build A Small Business Or Trade, Or Die

What choices for work and wage did most people have during the days of the American Revolution? Not many. Remember, this was before the Industrial Revolution would shift the way people live, work and travel. It was hard core to find a reasonable living especially if you were not educated. Learning to read and write was not taken for granted like it is today. Reading and writing was reserved for the elite, and millions of lesser citizens, the poor, were discouraged from reading, and even punished.

Despite the harsh environment and the steep odds against our founding fathers, look at the results, and where we are today. The founding fathers established the constitutionally-based values and principles most of still share today. Plus, look at the track record of the millions of immigrants who streamed across both Atlantic and Pacific. Hard-working people from all walks of life, willing to risk it all, board a rickety, leaky, over crowded ship, take on the mighty swell of the oceans, and pray to their Almighty Creator they would arrive safely on dry land.

Think about what it was like back then to be like the early settlers arriving here, the land of opportunity. Terrifying. Liberating. Dangerous, if not outright death-defying. And millions of us did not survive. But we died trying.

Mr. Franklin, I salute you, and all the early contributors to the way we get to live today. Without your grit, courage, tenacity, vision and labor as entrepreneurs, small business owners, community builders, revolutionary warriors and statesmen, we would likely not know the life we live today.

I always appreciate your comments, questions and suggestions here on my blog.

Want to connect with me personally? Click here.