Want to Earn a Damn Good Living as a Creator? Keep. It. Simple.

So, I woke up this morning and started working on…………two new books.

WHO AM I?!?!

The first is a non-fiction book that examines how different people around the world find joy—and how we can all get a little bit more of it in our daily lives. Which is to say: move the f**k over, Bill Bryson! I’m coming for you!

(But, no, really. Wouldn’t it be great if Bill Bryson and Caitlin Moran had a literary baby? That’s what I’m going for with this. And I’m having so much fun. You should see my table of contents. It’s honestly kind of 🔥 🔥 🔥.)

The second book, however, is a total departure from my usual shenanigans: I started writing……………a novel. I know! Who am I? A novel?! But, alas, it seems like the best container to explore the theme I’d like to explore with this project: whether your beliefs about happiness can actually hold you back from it. I’ll leave it at that for now, but holy Cheez-Its, I cannot express how important the first three hours of my day is. This is the kind of work I do those first three hours. Blissful, selfish, soul-pumpin’ kind of writing. For years now, I’ve made myself my #1 client, and I can’t recommend this approach more. You don’t have to have a spare three hours, but any time you can consistently dedicate to working on your own passion projects before doing anyone else’s bidding is important. My rule of thumb: create before I consume. No emails, no socials, none of that come before I do this writing. I don’t know how else to create, tbh. Otherwise I’m just distracted and spinning my wheels the whole day!

On another exciting note, I want to tell you how PROUD I am of you. I’ve been in contact with Lisa, our reader in the Ukraine who is currently housing 29 evacuees in her home, and she said that the donations have poured in from you guys. And not just that, but really heartfelt notes of encouragement that she’s been reading aloud to all of the brave Ukrainian people that are with her right now.

Last week, I was happy as hell to send her a donation in the amount of $5,985 on behalf of The Middle Finger Project: and thanks thanks to YOU, for purchasing during the flash sale for that purpose. In total, I believe that we’re going to be responsible for approximately $10,000 that’s going to help these families stay warm, stay fed, and stay with a roof over their head. Thank you so much for aiding this important effort!

Let’s see, what else is going on?

AH—THE COFFEE! Our coffee, With Love From Costa Rica, is now on shelves in select stores in Costa Rica, and it’s really tickling the hell out of me. It’s such a random project, but I’m a huge fan of solving your own problems, and entrepreneurship is a great way to do that. Now we have beautiful, artisanal, design-forward gifts to bring home to the people we love! (And so will other tourists.)

In addition, I’ve been working hard on an irreverent travel guide to Costa Rica—clearly all I do is write books these days!—called Don’t Be a Tourist Boob in Costa Rica: The In-Like Slim Guide to Doing Costa Rica Like a Local (And Having Way More Fun Than Everyone Else). I’ve been getting so many requests for this over on my Costa Rica blog; tons of people writing in and saying they would buy if it were ready, which is a great sign! I’ve had a sign-up form to gauge interest for a while, and the response has been encouraging. My intention with this one is to self-publish for a couple of reasons:

  • You control the pricing
  • You control the inventory
  • You control the promotions
  • You can sell it for more than an average book
  • You get nearly 100% of the proceeds (after processing fees)
  • You can update information on the fly
  • You still get the benefit of authority & credibility
  • It’s an awesome passive income stream
  • It’s a great way to build trust with your audience that will lead to more investments with you
  • It’s fun!
  • You can also publish to Amazon and let one of the world’s biggest search engines work for you
  • And you don’t need to mess around with publishing print copies if you don’t want to—digital is fine to get started! Keep it simple.

^That, right there, has been one of the best, most important lessons I continue to learn as a member of the creator economy: keep. it. simple. There’s so much pressure to make everything EXTRA ULTRA EXTRAVAGANT AND AWESOME right out of every gate, that most of the time, it prevents you from even getting started. But, I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful when I force myself to ask: what would be the simple way to do this? And then do it that way. Get started. Begin. Let it be easy. Let it be straightforward. Let it be basic. IT’S OKAY. You can always grow later, add to it, expand. But for now?

Your only job is to create.

So, remove the mental obstacles holding you back, and you’ll be surprised at just how much you’re able to accomplish.

Speaking of keeping it simple, it’s tax time (ugh), and if you’re a creator or small business who is ENTIRELY OVERWHELMED by all things bookkeeping / expenses / write-offs / rules / laws / taxes. May I make a suggestion?

Hire Bench! (My affiliate link—I use them and I’ve been their partner for years because I love them so much.)

They’ll plug in your Stripe and Paypal and take alllllllll of your transactions and do a historical bookkeeping on ‘em for the year (or years, if you’re seriously behind), and then go ahead and actually do your taxes for you—without you having so much as a single blister. (You know, on your tongue? From biting it so much?)

The only catch: the cutoff for historical bookkeeping is March 29th. (And it’s for U.S. businesses only.)

Cannot recommend Bench enough. Even better is the subscription plan where they just do this for you all of the time, regularly, so you always see your profits and losses in real time and never have to do anything disgusting like Quickbooks again. 😂 (I’m pretty sure molecular biology is easier than Quickbooks.)

Hire them!

Alright, that sums up my day / life / recommendations! How’s your day going?

XOXO,

Ash

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