Beans and rice.
Beans and rice again.
Beans and rice with cheese—now that’s a luxury.

This didn’t look like the meal planner of a solopreneur who’d hit the $5,000-a-week mark just six months earlier. But the truth is that no matter how impecunious life was at that moment, I really had been rolling in it.

Every time a buddy wanted to fly out for a beach vacation, I bought the plane ticket before we ended the call. I had enough to buy a new car in cash. I ate out every single meal.

I was living the solopreneur dream.

But underneath this façade of success, my wealth was silently eroding because of my own stupidity. And I didn’t even know it.


I had started my solopreneur journey as a writer and editor. I got published on progressively better and better paying sites, which led to my independence, which gave me a ton of value to share in the self-improvement sphere–so it wasn’t long before I was receiving requests for personal coaching. It was a lot more money. And even more importantly, it was my first diversification of income—which is EXTREMELY important when you’re tearing it up as a solopreneur.

Life was really good at first—really, really good. With three kinds of checks coming in from several different sources, I was constantly amazed by the number of zeros in my bank account. But as much as I loved writing and editing, this coaching thing was just too good: it gave me more fulfillment, the work was more enjoyable, and it was much more lucrative.

I wrote less and less for pay, going so far as to reject 90% of the writing offers that came in—“because I didn’t love it as much as coaching.” And besides, I was earning my first $3,000 dollar weeks with the coaching gig alone.

I stopped querying new writing clients. I didn’t stay in touch with the old ones. And before six months of coaching had elapsed, I had unceremoniously deleted the writing website ( that had launched my solopreneur career. I was a coach, I thought. I’d never look back.

But the truth was that I was a solopreneur—not just a coach. And rule number one of solopreneurship is to diversify your income in as many ways as possible so that you can still prosper when you’re blindsided by a soul-crushing drought that comes spinning from hell. Oops. I’m still a little emotional over it.


I got so hooked on the gravy train of effortless client acquisition that I became cocky and put all my eggs in one basket. Then when my editor at the publication from which I’d gained all my clientele was fired, I was like the man-baby that got thrown out with the bathwater.—Within one month my $5,000 a week business was barely more than a $500 a week business. But I was still above writing…I was a coach for God’s sake. And within six months, this coach was signing up for food stamps for the first time in his life I shit you not.

That’s when my dinky little self-made seemed like a dream from the golden days of yore…

If only I’d maintained that $3-doller-per-month site and put ONE MEASLY DAY per week into new client outreaches and prior client contacts, I wouldn’t be asking my landlord to borrow money just to play a game of beach volleyball! I wouldn’t be stressing myself sick over being a full month late for rent.

Long story short, this solopreneur learned hard from the royalist ass-kicking he’d ever received from the boot of life.

I got back into paid writing and even further diversified my income by creating physical products, which I’d developed through my coaching career. I learned, and eventually came back 10x stronger than I’d ever been. But the reality is that life didn’t give me a soul-sucking drought: I brought that upon myself. And if you’re a smart solopreneur, you’ll learn well from my mistakes.

Trust me. It’s no fun to go hungry every day of the week, or to be forced unwillingly into the habit of intermittent fasting (which I’ve actually kept up, and recommend from an energy/focus/metabolic standpoint). After a while of being broke, it really takes a hit on your confidence—which affects your actions and can send you into tailspin that threatens your existence as a solopreneur and the glorious lifestyle that goes along with it.

So no matter how much more you like some things than others, or whether the thing you’re currently getting paid to do isn’t your passion, keep your income diversified. Keep your income flowing. Even millionaires who could live comfortably till eternity on the fortunes they’ve amassed all have multiple streams of revenue—and studies show that the more streams they have, the richer they are. Same is true for you.


So what are some income streams you’ve been thinking of tapping lately? Have you been thinking about discontinuing any of your bread-and-butter jobs? Do you need to invest in any education or training to maintain your income streams or to create new ones?

Let’s talk about it!

Originally published at


  • Daniel Dowling

    Performance Coach, Writer for Greatist,, Mindbodygreen, and FastCompany.

    Dan Dowling, here. I was the poster child for lost millennials - couldn’t keep a job…addicted to relationships…constantly checking social media and email. But when I got hungry enough for success as a writer, I gave up my distracted lifestyle and adopted one daily goal that changed my life forever: Do. Your. Best. Today, five years later, I’m a productivity coach who’s published on the world’s biggest sites (including Entrepreneur, Fast Company and Mindbodygreen), and I’m transforming lives through the best-effort, zero-distraction lifestyle that worked so well for me. Come and and learn how to always give your best at Millennial Success!