1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Career Advice

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by KeyFin, May 8, 2018.

  1. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

    5,443
    7,121
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    I've been a very high level copywriter/digital marketer for about 15 years now and I'm sort of at a crossroads. After having the heart attack last year and losing my biggest clients from being out of work for a few months, I've scraped by while slowly getting my finances back in order.

    The early months are always slow for me- I usually make $2-4k/mo up until April or May and then I start having $10-15k months, working around the clock and debating whether or not I need to hire a few assistants. I never actually do though because of the instability...and now I realize that my health is more important than spoiling kids and taking amazing vacations. I've averaged around $80k a year up until the heart attack....it's always massive ups and downs with income levels though and I think it's time to do something different.

    So I have four options at the moment and I honestly don't know what to do. I'll run through them real quick and hopefully you guys can help me decide.

    Option #1 is to keep doing what I'm doing, only smarter (focus on high end clients with monthly retainers/guaranteed work). I can piece together close to a six-figure income working for 3-5 large marketing firms but I still have the same problem- one week is 100 hours and the next month I have nothing. Even though this is the most profitable route, it's also the most stressful since I frequently get laid off/picked back up. If one of these clients gets slow, the freelance folks are the first to be placed on hold.

    I have a current project of $250/day (starting this week), plus 3-5 other side jobs that have averaged $600/wk. over the past few months (w/ very long-term clients). All of this income could disappear in a few months though...or it could double...that's just how it goes.

    Option #2 is ghostwriting memoirs and self-help books for a variety of clients. These jobs are $20-40k for 3-4 months of work and they're extremely hard to come by, but I'd realistically only need to write 2-3 books a year. Still, there's a lot of chasing work, consulting, etc before I actually get hired..sometimes it takes months. So it's tough to commit to full time but this is also what I'm the most passionate about.

    I have a $25k book to start in about 10 days with an old friend/colleague if I want it. And I really freaking want it! The book also pays 33% up front and that would save our broken finances immediately.

    Option #3 is to take a job at a rising online eCommerce store- I think I have the job at $65k a year plus ridiculous benefits. This would be a full time, work from home job with unlimited vacation, profit sharing, 401k, premium insurance, etc...it's an absolute dream job for someone like me and I love the leadership/company culture here.

    This is the obvious move and probably the smartest choice, but it pays the least and I'd have to get rid of most/all of the side jobs. I would have real balance though, awesome job security and I could work from anywhere.

    Option #4 is another old friend- I signed an NDA so I can't talk about his business. It would pay around $5k a month salary & no other benefits, but the goal is to ultimately sell his company in the next 6-18 months for a very, very big number and take a hefty commission. It's low risk/easy schedule with an extremely high potential reward at the end...possibly in the low/mid 7 figure range.

    The downside is that I'd also have to be exclusive since this is a ton of work, but it could also lead to me being semi-retired in a year or two from now. So this one is almost impossible to pass up.

    So what do I do? I'm thinking of taking the regular job (#3) and doing the book as well (#2), which means 100+ hour weeks for the next few months (which was common for me pre-heart attack). It solves my money problems today and gets me caught up quickly...but I'd be a fool to pass on #4 since this person/company is the real deal with an amazing opportunity.

    Or do I just keep doing what I know being 100% self-employed with the ups and downs? It will pay the bills....but it will also eventually kill me.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
  2. byroan

    byroan Giggity Staff Member Administrator Luxury Box

    19,915
    22,907
    113
    Nov 25, 2007
    NC
    Take which ever option makes you happy. I've had jobs I've hated that paid well and I've had jobs I've loved that didn't pay much at all. I've realized that while money can make you happy, there's no point if you don't have the time to enjoy it.

    100+ hours a week doesn't sound like you'd be happy and it probably was a factor in your heart attack.
     
  3. Stitches

    Stitches ThePhin's Biggest Killjoy Luxury Box

    48,098
    23,112
    113
    Nov 23, 2007
    Katy, TX
    I'd do option 3, but I like stability.
     
    KeyFin likes this.
  4. Nappy Roots

    Nappy Roots Well-Known Member

    10,293
    4,201
    113
    Dec 3, 2007
    Bradenton,FL
    Option 2. One thing I have figured out is, if it is your actual passion, the "hard to come by" isn't as hard.
     
    KeyFin likes this.
  5. rafael

    rafael Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    25,696
    26,807
    113
    Apr 6, 2008
    That's tough, but at least you have some options. I'd probably take #1 off the table. I see that as what you want to/need to change. I also think you have to figure out a way to take #2. But only as a short-term answer, not long-term. The question is whether you can make it work with either #3 or #4. Both of those have easier schedules so I think the one I'd kick myself most over is missing out on #4 if it turns out that I missed out on being retired two years from now. But much depends on how likely that outcome is. A combo of #2 and #3 seems like the safest option though. #3 is a self proclaimed dream job so that can't be a bad choice. And since you have unlimited vacation and the lighter schedule it seems like you should be able to work in #2 providing you with both a short-term solution and long term stability. In the end that's probably your smartest choice (assuming the stability of the company in #3) unless you're sure about being able to retire in two years with #4. So there's a bit of self tolerance risk analysis there between #3 and #4, but for me that's what my decision would hinge on.
     
    danmarino and KeyFin like this.
  6. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

    5,443
    7,121
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    Believe it or not, listening to everyone does help....I think #3 with a little freelancing here and there is the best bet IF they hire me (there's still one interview to go between me and one other candidate). It is a dream job and there's ample room for advancement.

    The #4 is a new technology that will change a very large industry. It's dominated internationally, so one of the big US players will eventually make a very big offer to buy the company/patents. My job would be to build out the branding/awareness to enable the sales team, but this one has been on hold for months now. I've basically put myself in a hole waiting on it and that's why I took the interview for #3.

    Unfortunately, I can't do #3 and #4...that's the only combo here that doesn't work. I'm definitely going to write the book though as the short-term answer.
     
    rafael and eltos_lightfoot like this.
  7. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

    5,443
    7,121
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    That's very true, people see that passion and it always gives you a leg up on competitors. I do love ghostwriting books because it's just helping people get their story organized, dig out what really matters and frame it for the best possible chance of success on the market. To do this full time though, I'd almost have to have an apartment in LA to mingle with that type of crowd at the big events...and that's just not me.

    This is a 100% referral industry that's really hard to break into- but I seem to steadily get 1-2 project offers per year. So I'm about halfway where I'd need to be to make this full time.
     
    Nappy Roots likes this.
  8. Ohio Fanatic

    Ohio Fanatic 30 years and counting Club Member

    25,682
    11,306
    113
    Nov 26, 2007
    Concord, MA
    THIS. piece of mind is everything in life. Piece of mind makes earning less money palatable. Making more money and being miserable is no way to live. I'm trying to get a job with a friend of mine. I'd probably lose about 100K a year in stock, but it would be worth it
     
    KeyFin likes this.
  9. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Staff Member Club Member

    21,771
    21,302
    113
    Apr 24, 2012
    Troy, Virginia
    I can't completely relate myself, because I'm someone who could not exist working at a job that wasn't consistant and full time. If I had to balance multiple freelance things on my own I'd have a meltdown and be homeless pretty quickly. I've also never made anywhere close to the money that you do, so it all seems like a lot to me!

    All that being said, from my point of view #3 seems like such an easy choice that its not even a debate. But everyone has their own unique point of view, needs and desires.
     
    KeyFin likes this.
  10. texanphinatic

    texanphinatic Senior Member

    9,349
    2,954
    113
    Nov 26, 2007
    Austin TX
    My dad just had a double bypass at age 65 despite being a very fit and healthy individual with no familial history. One thing that both his doctors and his financial advisor mentioned in determining whether he would go back to work is that stress with heart issues is a killer. I would lean toward whatever sets you up well with low stress, and avoid whatever brings the most.

    #1 Seems to have given you lots of good years, but as Raf said, it seems you want or need a change. Plus the lack of stability in funds can cause financial stress = bad for health.

    #2 Seems a fine idea, but would the opportunity to do this vanish if you took route 3 or 4? Couldn't you go back and do this in 5-10-15 and just spend a few twilight years doing this before you retire for good? Also, what kind of insurance would you have?

    For #3, the pay may be low comparatively to the other options, but $65k is a really good salary all told. Depending on how you were living, you may need to cut back a bit, but it's a salary you can get by from solo if need be. Anything your wife chips in would be a bonus. The biggest thing imo is premium insurance. That is such a big deal to have for peace of mind, let alone it god forbid actually be needed again. The big risk is you get stuck in some lame office job you despise, but you seem pretty excited for the chance. And if it doesn't work out ... at that point you still have some of the other options. You may need to hustle a bit to recoup some clients that bolt or gain new ones, but that work probably isn't vanishing?

    #4 Seems high risk - what happens if you suffer another attack without any insurance? That seems as though it would destroy any gain and then some without even considering health.

    To me, I'd think about each one alone for a few minutes or a day or two. Picture yourself in that role and see if you can feel emotion. Do you feel any anxiety or stress? Is a voice in your head shouting? Really, if you have the potential to love any choice, choose the one that's best for your health and enjoy life. Involve your wife, see what she thinks. My dad was going to suck it up and shoulder through work for another 4 or so years till retirement, but mom said she didn't want to chance it (his company is doing a lot of shifting and other things that are causing lots of internal churn and stressing people out). They came together and decided both would work another year then both retire together.
     
    KeyFin likes this.
  11. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

    5,443
    7,121
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    I completely understand because it's TERRIFYING going into business for yourself and thinking, "Okay, I'll figure this out all on my own- no need for a paycheck anymore." My friends have always made fun of me....I'm either too busy to vacation with them or I'm too broke. I don't think I've ever had money and free time together in the same month. That's how most small businesses operate these days though; it's always feast or famine with no middle ground.

    I've decided that I'm going to take #3 if it's offered to me...it's driving me nuts waiting for this final interview with the CEO.
     
    danmarino and Unlucky 13 like this.
  12. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

    5,443
    7,121
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield through Obamacare and it's pretty expensive out of pocket. That means the $65k job would be more like $78k since it's the exact same insurance free for my entire family. I honestly didn't think about it that way until now....so it is on par with the other opportunities.

    I am going to go ahead and write that one last book as well- I did a lot of work for this person's company last year and I know the material for the book as well as the client does. We've already wrote a mini-book for him to give away on his website and that's basically what the published book will be....just with a lot more detail/stories in each chapter. So most of the hard work, research, etc. is already done there...I could probably spend a day or two a week on it and still meet the deadlines.

    I hope your dad gets better quick- but here's something else to think about. While the job causes stress, not working let's the body slow down and you age much faster. A lot of folks work until they're 65, seem in perfect health and then they fall over dead a year later....so he will have to find something to take place of those 40 hours anyway. The absolute worst thing he can do is sit around the house watching TV and eating Oreos...a lot of people do that though because they don't know what else to do with their time.
     
    danmarino and Unlucky 13 like this.
  13. texanphinatic

    texanphinatic Senior Member

    9,349
    2,954
    113
    Nov 26, 2007
    Austin TX
    Yeah he is doing well now - it was caught early enough thankfully, and being in good health his recovery was very quick. My brother is a doctor at UM and has access to some world class people as well, so that was cool.

    I did have the discussion about keeping some sense of purpose and socializing after retirement. He's a really gregarious guy, and while he works from home, he definitely still talks to a lot of people every day. It's certainly a balance to keep in mind. I've suggested a number of things such as side consulting, writing, volunteering, etc. The big issue for him is that while he works from home, his job is expected to travel a lot, which is tough. His company is also - as noted - going through internal reorgs and such and lots of stuff is scrambled and in flux, which is again not a great thing. That will work itself out with time, but it's also the time he has to be around for. He was definitely getting fed up previously, this just sped up his timetable a bit and - like you - made him reconsider and reprioritize things. My Mother in law also did the early retirement thing due to stress, though she hasn't had any major health scares yet. It's been good for her overall, in that she's quit smoking and starting walking a lot.

    You may want to chat with a financial/retirement planner as well if you aren't already. You certainly don't need to finalize anything right now, but it can help you with specific targets, goals, milestones, etc.
     
    KeyFin likes this.
  14. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Táin Bó Cúailnge Club Member

    9,928
    7,653
    113
    Sep 7, 2012
    Hattiesburg, MS
    Key, you mentioned spoiling kids and having amazing vacations...

    JMO, but if I were you, I'd look at reducing debt, cleaning up the diet, and maybe doing the amazing vacation once a year as a reward for financial prudence and improving your health.

    The bottom line is that you can live quite comfortably making less money that maybe you're accustomed to and also reducing your stress at they same time by cutting out expensive toys, cars, and trips.

    Watched a show on broke celebrities a while back. Johnny Depp made over $300M off the Pirates franchise. The stupid fk was spending OVER $2M A MONTH living a lifestyle that wasn't sustainable. Same thing with Nick Cage, which is why he went from an Oscar worthy actor to making direct to disk movies now to pay for homes, cars, trips, etc... that he doesn't actually need. It's insane.

    Something some people never learn is that it doesn't matter what you make if you're living above your means. Most people create their own stressors...

    YMMV.
     
    danmarino likes this.
  15. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

    5,443
    7,121
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    You're absolutely right in everything you said- but it's also much easier said than done. That's why 75% of people who win the lottery are broke within two years- they give a bunch away and spend like crazy, without a real long-term goal in mind.

    In my case, I never had a long-term goal because I never had a steady long-term income. It's very hard when you're used to living on $3,500 a month and then suddenly an extra check for $10k arrives- you instantly start looking around the house for "what's broken" or "what do the kids need". I always looked at it as bonus money and you're right- that's very foolish since I obviously couldn't grind like that forever. But it took a heart attack for me to realize that.

    Also, I didn't get job #3...and that was like a kick in the "you know what". So it looks like I'll start the book project next week and keep looking for a long term, stable solution.
     
  16. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Táin Bó Cúailnge Club Member

    9,928
    7,653
    113
    Sep 7, 2012
    Hattiesburg, MS
    Yeah, talk is always easy. Good thing is that at least you did realize there were some issues and you're now working to address those.

    My sis in law found Dave Ramsey years ago. I just smiled. That man doesn't really preach anything but common financial sense. Don't spend more than you make. Have a savings account. Have an emergency fund. Cut back on treating yourself to expensive items you don't really need. Don't carry debt. Save and invest for the future.

    You can templates on Google Docs to help with any or all of those if you haven't already gotten something.

    Hope the dieting and health stuff works out as well. Gets harder as you age. Start ASAP. :up:
     
    danmarino likes this.
  17. danmarino

    danmarino Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    9,286
    9,835
    113
    Sep 4, 2014
    I was going to also recommend #3, but I see that's now off the table.

    I'd be wary of #4...most "sure things' that seem like fantasy are just that. Not saying that your buddy's thing is one of those, but option #4 would scare me.

    Good luck with #2 for the time being and I hope something else similar to #3 comes along for you.
     
    KeyFin likes this.
  18. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

    5,443
    7,121
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    I emailed the CEO of #3 since I didn't get to interview with him- it's a Hail Mary but that's all I had. I'm still crossing my fingers but there's other opportunities like that...finding them is the challenge though since the tech community almost always hires from within. I am pretty sure that I want to transition to an actual job though to cut out the highs and lows of being self employed.
     
  19. Ohio Fanatic

    Ohio Fanatic 30 years and counting Club Member

    25,682
    11,306
    113
    Nov 26, 2007
    Concord, MA
    I was with you until you described Nicholas Cage as Oscar worthy.
     
  20. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Táin Bó Cúailnge Club Member

    9,928
    7,653
    113
    Sep 7, 2012
    Hattiesburg, MS
    That's cause you're only looking at his body of work since "Leaving Las Vegas", in which he actually won an Oscar, or you missed his earlier stuff.

    One of my all time favorite movies is "Raising Arizona". That's right there with "The Big Lebowski" in terms of comedy genius.

    https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000115/awards
     
    danmarino likes this.
  21. Ohio Fanatic

    Ohio Fanatic 30 years and counting Club Member

    25,682
    11,306
    113
    Nov 26, 2007
    Concord, MA
    I was about to say, his only great movie was Raising Arizona -pinnacle of his career. Never saw leaving la s vegas
     
  22. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Táin Bó Cúailnge Club Member

    9,928
    7,653
    113
    Sep 7, 2012
    Hattiesburg, MS
    Both movies were his best work and in completely different genres.
     
    danmarino likes this.
  23. Boik14

    Boik14 Admin Club Member Retired Administrator

    69,504
    28,184
    113
    Nov 28, 2007
    New York
    I was going to say combine 2+3 but I see that 3 is off the table. Is there a way to combine 1+2? As in maybe close the shop the months you’re slow and do the ghost writing stuff then and then when it gets busy put that on the back burner? Maybe do a book during Jan-March and then do one other one throughout the year as time presents itself?

    Owning a business is bleepin impossible nowadays. My dad has a small CPA firm in NYC for 20 years. He wanted me to get my degree in accounting and I laughed at him. It’s not that being a CPA is bad, or even that I probably wouldn’t like the job (I’d actually enjoy working with my dad and that would probably balance a lot of that for me)..,the man can’t even get a week off in 10 years! My mom and I made him take a trip to Vegas in 2004 after his stroke (he recovered thankfully) and he swore he would take more time off. He can’t. When you run your own show, no one cares about your business like you do. Finding reliable help is torture. I’m not jealous of your position here. It’s just really difficult nowadays.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
    KeyFin and danmarino like this.
  24. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

    5,443
    7,121
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    That's the thing people don't realize about small business- when you're busy with work, it's long hours and putting other parts of your life on hold to handle as much work as possible. But when you're slow, you're actually even busier because you're updating your website, calling clients, chasing referrals, studying new industry tools/techniques, etc. so you can get busy again. It is literally never-ending if you want to stay on top of your game.

    It's the same in any industry as well- you have to stay at that frantic pace 12 months a year to survive.

    For ghostwriting books, I've never pursued it because it takes that same type of commitment- I'd have to hit events out in LA, network like mad with publishers, etc. to get my name out there. And I wouldn't mind doing that but it means that 90% of my writing/digital marketing income would have to stop. I've just never had the guts to focus on it full time- I've written about a dozen books so far and all of them were off of referrals from business contacts.

    It would probably be a better life though because you're only trying to line up three clients per year- but its a pretty big transition.
     
    Boik14 likes this.
  25. texanphinatic

    texanphinatic Senior Member

    9,349
    2,954
    113
    Nov 26, 2007
    Austin TX
    Talk to a financial/retirement planner and start getting things set in concrete. If you have funds still hanging around, look into investing or building a big emergency health fund based on what they say. You don't need to be rich to have one, both my parents and in-laws consulted with them before making decisions and say they were very helpful.
     
    KeyFin likes this.
  26. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

    5,443
    7,121
    113
    Nov 1, 2009
    I had that, then I had a heart attack and didn't work for two months.

    Here's some math for you guys- I was in the hospital a total of +/-60 hours, had two stints placed and was kept just long enough to make sure I was stable. $162,000 was the cost...that's $2,700 per hour, forty-five bucks per minute, or 75 cents a second. I had pretty decent financial savings and very good insurance, but all told those 60 hours probably cost me $60k out of pocket between bills and missed work. It completely wiped us out and destroyed out credit.

    I'm only 44 so I'm not sweating it, there's plenty of time to catch back up and start building a savings account again. The only difference this time around is that I have zero credit to get us through the bad months, to finance business trips, etc. So it's like learning to walk all over again (so to speak).
     
    texanphinatic likes this.
  27. Ohio Fanatic

    Ohio Fanatic 30 years and counting Club Member

    25,682
    11,306
    113
    Nov 26, 2007
    Concord, MA
    yeah, that sucks. it's really unfortunate how broken our healthcare system is.
     
    texanphinatic likes this.

Share This Page