100 Days, 100 Grand is a big book, but the techniques it teaches are mostly basic and simple. So this week – prompted by an old piece of internal marcomms falling off my bookshelf, a little book from my agency days called “How to do Ads” – I set myself a task: writing a “little book” with all the basics of successful freelancing, in just 48 postcard-sized pages!
I was done in a (frenetic) 48 hours. Here’s the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-do-freelancing-Chris-Worth-ebook/dp/B07Q59XGSW/. Or email me and I’ll send you a free PDF!
Look what just joined my bookshelf 🙂
I’ve had a fair few comments since launch. Mostly positive. It’s a good book; it’s a colourful book; it’s a well-organised book; it’s (oh yes) a big book.
Most commonly, though, is another riff: that’s it’s an expensive book. There are three reasons for this, so I thought I’d share them.
Reason #1: High fixed costs.
The first (and least important) reason is simple: production and distribution. This isn’t a dime novel; with 1,200 large-format colour pages, each copy costs around £30 just to print! Add shipping and handling (another £5-£8) then factor in the 55% bookseller discount (which comes off the RRP, not the net) and the result is I make around 7-8% profit on the print book. That doesn’t leave me much leeway to cut the price.
Of course, I also sell the book from my own site, avoiding the bookseller margin. Can’t I discount that? Well, I could – but Amazon, among others, gives a price match guarantee if you see the book cheaper elsewhere. So it’s cut everywhere or cut nowhere. You do get a signed thank-you when you buy direct, so that’s the method I’d recommend.
The bright side: booksellers often offer discounts – check amazon.com to see who’s selling cheap. (Which is fine with me; they’re eating into their 55% profit margin, at their own risk.)
Reason #2: Darwinism.
Second, the whole purpose of the book involves investing time now to enable a six-figure income in 100 days’ time. A top 1% income isn’t a free gift: you have to work for it. This book is a work plan, not a shortcut.
Anyone not prepared to risk £30 of their own money for the chance of a £100,000 income probably isn’t the sort of person who’d invest the 100 days of time the book asks. The methods aren’t magic; those 100 days involve work. So the high price makes the audience somewhat self-selecting. People who pay are already motivated to earn six figures, and prepared to invest what it takes to get there.
The bright side: it’s win-win: if you’re unsure about whether you can make the investment, fine, don’t make it. I’m not holding a gun to anyone’s head.
Reason #3: I just don’t want to.
This is going to make me sound like a value-of-labour nut (which I’m not) but think about this: I spent three years of my life and a five-figure sum of my own money bringing 100 Days to market. It took a year just to work out what each chapter needed to do and how they should clump together into sections.
It was a labour of love, but it was also hard work, and I’m not going to give it away. Any more than I work for my clients for free.
The bright side: The higher the price, the fewer people will buy it. So if you take the plunge, you can use the 100 Days methods without being discouraged because every other freelancer in Starbuck’s doing the same. (Nice as that’d be for me.)
Setting myself an unbreakable 90-day deadline to finish the book worked! Albeit with one day off (Christmas day), some very hard days, and about one time a week where I wanted to pitch my laptop out the window. But after 89 days, the Kindle, Print Replica, and paperback editions of 100 Days, 100 Grand are all on sale now!
I’m chuffed to see the idea I had four years ago finally making a thump on the desk. (A big thump – the print edition weighs in at nearly 3kg.) Throughout its creation I’ve remained a working copywriter, and far too often the book took a back seat to my clients. I’m still taking clients as a working writer – man’s gotta eat – but this is the day my business changes a bit.
The plan now is to coach budding six-figure freelancers in the book’s methods, and I’m planning a series of small seminars and presentations to encourage as many freelancers as possible to aim for a six-figure income and share the book’s threefold philosophy.
What is that philosophy? First, that everyone has a saleable “signature move”: some combination of what they love and do best they can offer to the market. Second, that in our superabundant global economy there are customers for that offer: somewhere in the world’s $100tn market there are people with a mere £100,000 to spend on you. And finally, that technology – the true driver of the global economy today – can help you define, find, and connect with those people at low cost, across the wires and waves that link three billion people to information, applications, and resources.
That’s the life-affirming message of the book I wanted to write: you can build the life you want, in 100 days. After nearly four years of effort, I think I achieved it. Now buy the book!
Happy to report the Kindle version of 100 Days, 100 Grand is now available for pre-order at Amazon! It’s been a long and hard journey, but the (next) finishing line is now in sight. (After which the real work of getting 12,000 people to buy it starts.)
Companies like Adobe, and other creative types like games designers, build a feature called “snap to grid” into their products. It’s useful when you’re moving an element around an area – like a line of text on a page layout, or a flooring tile in Fallout 4. When it gets close to a related element, it “snaps into place”. Relieving you of having to place it pixel-perfect.
This month, the 100 Days, 100 Grand manuscript seems to be “snapping to grid”.
Without going into details, 2016 so far has been one long slog of making ideas, tasks, actions, and other bits of knowledge consistent with the overall flow of the 220,000-word text. In one session I deleted a 12,000-word section because it just didn’t fit properly. (If I didn’t do this, I’d end up with a book a bit like the car in Johnny Cash’s One Piece at a Time“. An end result that ought to work, but uses so many pieces from different sources it’s a pile of junk.)
Who’d be a textbook author?
This has caused me huge problems. Because 100 Days is so cross-connected, full of evolving actions and information dependencies, it’s more like designing a building than writing paragraphs. If I hadn’t realised last year that that its core message – celebrating individual self-actualisation – has become my life’s purpose, I’d even wonder whether to carry on.
(Naturally, testing the methods at Chris does Content has won me new business … income that pays my bills. Any income I might get from writing a 1200-page textbook is deferred for years. If 100 Days was just for fun, rather than a mission, it’d be much harder to schedule into my working week.)
Much of Spring was a logjam of trying to make Part 2 – where you define your offer to the market – work properly as a week of actionable instructions. It’s still far from complete. So this month, I switched to editing some Part 9 chapters, on turning your first billable projects into regular customers. And guess what? It snapped to grid.
Editing Day 85, I realised its content relied on some descriptors the reader creates earlier in Part 5. (Descriptors are information tags that describe a name on your marketing list, so you can personalise it more deeply with your sales letter. Personalisation is a huge part of how you win customers in 100 Days, 100 Grand.) Wahey! Text junked, text rewritten. The same thing’s happening today with Day 86 – and, looking ahead, with Day 87.
I was deeply unhappy with the text of over half the book’s pages, but now everything’s snapping to grid, it’s much clearer what’s out of shape. And the irony is that all this snapping is further defining what needs to happen way back in troublesome Part 2.
I didn’t need to spend a quarter of a year agonising over the seven chapters of Part 2. I just needed to write Part 9 first, to see what it needed to say.
But that’s textbook writing for you.
In tribute to the freelancer’s art, I habitually work in a T shirt, today a grey one I got as a gift from Australia. Symbolising my much-travelled life, my lower half is today clad in the trusty travel pants that have trekked over Saharan dunes and swum the Nile. As a declaration of how I live, far removed from the sheeplike commuting hordes of train and Tube, I did not shave this morning, and my hair is a little unkempt.
My personal style is a joyous celebration of the indie life: fiercely independent, proudly self-actualised, and accountable only to those I choose.
So, Mr Delivery Guy, your cheery “Sorry if I got you up” statement just now was a stab in the soul of truly monumental proportions.
At the Shard building in London today, enjoying a glass of breakfast champagne with Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
Sad to say it was nothing to do with 100 Days, 100 Grand – my alma mater Warwick Business School was opening its London outpost (that’s the Dean and Vice Chancellor to the right of Boris) – but it was fun to pass on a caricature of the Mayor kicking down the door of No 10, drawn by my pal Simon Ellinas. (Who also cartooned at my wedding earlier this year!)