Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Holiday Pay Doesn’t Exist When Self-Employed: Less-Effort Income Can Fill the Gap

Filed under: 4-Hour Workday — by at 6:19 pm on Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Paula Lee Bright, Online Reading Teacher What do you do when a serious back injury leaves you unable to teach in the traditional classroom?

If you are Paula Lee Bright, you find another way to do what you love.

That spunk is what instantly connected me to her when we met at SOBCon (Succeeded Online Business Conference) in Portland last September.

Using various online tools online, Paula has created work for herself remotely tutoring kids who are struggling with reading to read; the kids who the regular school system dismisses as failures. She loves what she does.

Recently we chatted about working by the hour, creating less-effort-income streams and where to even start…

Paula: I am currently working only by the hour. My problem is that I love preparing for the hours I work, and I love the actual time implementing it with the kids.

Glenda: I love what you are doing and how you have created work for yourself after no longer being able to teach in the traditional sense. As Reverend Robert Schuller would say, you have definitely turned your scar into a star!

Paula: Now, in teaching my types of kids, prep is absolutely needed. But I’m so fascinated with my topic (kids who can’t read, or read badly) that it’s hard to tear myself away from the reading and preparing. There’s so much going on now in learning and teaching that there are new tools for me to check out every day!

Glenda: That is great you have found something you enjoy. So much happening in the field is definitely exciting and encouraging. My question is do you really need all of that time reading, preparing and checking out new tools daily? Could you spend even a fraction of that time on another task, such as product creation?

Paula: No, I don’t need to, although it does take hours a day, since every child is at a different time and place in their reading. I spend that much time because it’s my favorite thing to do! But, of course, I could work on something else. I know I could. Yet I don’t.

I know I need to create a passive income by writing a book on how to start a tutoring business online, writing a book for parents of struggling readers, or by creating a course about it. Yet none of those interest me. How can I gear myself up into wanting to do those things?

Glenda: Think of it this way, Paula…you are making money only when you are sitting at your computer with a child on the other end of Skype or whatever. Your income is limited by how many tutoring slots you fill. If you are having a bad pain day and can’t sit at your computer or laptop, you aren’t making an income. Or, if it’s a beautiful day and you want to go play outside, or if you want to attend a conference or go on a holiday with your family, you aren’t making money. Holiday pay doesn’t exist when you’re self-employed. Having several income streams makes financial sense and adds some stability.

Earning an income is the same as investing. You wouldn’t invest all of your money in one stock. Why invest all of your time in one income stream? It isn’t a sound business practice.

Paula: Glenda, can you believe that I have never, ever thought of it that way? You’re right.

Glenda: Start small. Rather than a book for parents, how about a booklet with reading tips and exercises parents can do with their kids and sell that for a few dollars?

Paula: You’re a genius. A booklet wouldn’t be hard at all. I think I could set up my main points in one sitting, since I know “my stuff”. And yes, I could use quite a few things that already exist.

Glenda: With all of your preparation work, do you already have content that could be repurposed into a sellable product? Perhaps by spending a couple of hours per week on it, you could have something to sell within a month or two. That would give you two potential income streams. Slowly grow from there.

Paula: That sounds so much easier than “writing a BOOK.” Yikes. No wonder I was too afraid to start. What got you going on the passive income?

Glenda: I know I have a limited energy level and I can output only so much typing with only my left thumb; that’s why I took a reduced course load in high school and in university, and why I implemented the 4-hour workday earlier this year (and am sticking to it). With that in mind, my potential per hour or per project income is restricted. There are only so many hours in a day.

Years ago, when flipping through a book entitled something like The Secrets of Millionaires, one short passage jumped off the page at me. Paraphrasing from memory:

Your time is finite. By selling your time, your potential income is limited. To get ahead, do not rely on selling your time.

Here is where creating a product once and then selling it repeatedly resonates with me. Many people call this “passive income”, but I consider that phrase a misnomer. Once the product is created, it still requires constant marketing; that is far from passive. I’d rather call this “less-effort-income”.

Paula: I don’t think that anyone who’s self-employed can earn money passively. You are absolutely right. We’re in charge of our own income, or in my case, lack of! But I can (maybe?) change that with just one small booklet to start. Wow!

Glenda: Exactly. Ideally, my income stream would be a combination of per hour or per project and less-effort-income so that I would be earning an income even when my energy is low or when I feel like playing hooky for a day or two. I don’t want to live the rest of me life constantly chained to my computer.

Do you have any more questions, Paula?

Paula: Right now, I feel pumped and ready to GO! Oh, wait. Where do I sell this booklet?

Glenda: It depends on the booklet and your audience. If the booklet is something buyers might print out to use, then sell it on your site using e-junkie and PayPal. If the booklet is more for reading, consider offering it on Amazon.

Paula: Thanks, Glenda. You are a constant inspiration to me. And to so many others. I’m so glad that you do what you do to reach so many.

Glenda: Thank you, Paula. All the best working with these precious young people

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Comment by Meike

March 13, 2012 @ 7:23 pm

Paula and Glenda, I am an Instructional Designer with a Master’s Degree in Learning and Technology (my thesis was on supporting on-line learners)…I just got off of my iPhone after have my first ever French lesson using Facetime. My ‘teacher’ was my 8 year old cousin.
I think there is a real appetite for knowing how to integrate/use technology in learning. It engages and interests the younger generation. Does it motivate the student…? Have you noticed an increase in learner engagement Paula? A series of best practices about using technology for distance learning (no matter what kind) would be of interest to parents, but also teachers, tutors, corporations/corporate trainers that need to adopt a more global learning approach…I think that broadens your target group and the amount you may be able to charge.
Good luck and make sure to let me know when your document is complete…I’d be interested!

Comment by Paula Lee Bright

March 13, 2012 @ 8:09 pm

Hi, Meike. You’re so smart to have already realized the possibilities! Yes, absoLUTEly using technology changes the entire process.

Most kids who are “behind” already dread reading, and consider tutoring even more of a nightmare. But to take the lesson online? WOW! Katie, bar the door! They are anxious for lesson time to arrive so they can explore the stories and images and other resources with me. It definitely keeps kids inspired.

Just today I gave a free trial lesson to a young 3rd grader reading at 1st grade level. First he was thrilled to be on Skype. He’d never talked “face to face” before. Then he said, “Oooooh!” when I opened an animated picture book for us to watch and listen to together to warm up, before he had to read in front of me. And it continued from there, leading to a fun and exciting time for him. At one point he burst into applause, and it wasn’t for my exceptional skill! 😉 It was for the tech he was seeing.

He can’t wait for Lesson 2. As a teacher, that THRILLS me!

Thanks for the input on ideas for content on my passive income work. They’re all great concepts. And congrats on your first French lesson! I’ll let you know when I have my first “product” ready, for sure. And thank you so much for commenting.

Comment by Karen Putz

March 14, 2012 @ 3:37 am

Really enjoyed reading this. Two dynamos in one place!

Comment by Tim Carr

April 10, 2012 @ 9:22 am

“Do not rely on selling time” is a brilliant quote. I think I may just take that with me to my grave…

Great post, really informative!

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