I retired in 1989, at age 55, when the corporation I worked for offered an early retirement program. Thereafter, I started a home-based business, writing and designing communications for businesses in the northern suburbs of Minneapolis. In 1997, a friend tipped me off that a local small town was looking for a new editor for their monthly newsletter. I’ve been doing this publication ever since…and I just completed the 249th issue!
They currently pay me $900 a month for doing a 4-page, 11 x 17-inch newsletter, and sending versions to their printing company, while also posting them to their website. The project usually takes about three days a month.
What does this lucrative, ongoing freelance job entail? I go to the local Chamber of Commerce meeting once a month (the Chamber provides the financial support for the newsletter), pick up material at City Hall on the same day, and occasionally take a few pictures at ribbon cuttings or other events.
I then write summaries of the City Council meetings, and police and fire reports. For some issues, I write a profile of a local business. And of course, I edit the material that others provide for the newsletter.
Many small towns and suburbs have newsletters like this. Those that don’t should have them. This is a market that most writers may not be aware of. It’s a dependable, continuing source of income and an opportunity that is well worth checking into.
If your local community doesn’t have the funding for a newsletter, maybe you can talk your Chamber of Commerce into financing it!
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Wayne Adams and his wife, Mickey, operate WordMagic Communications, a home-based business serving companies in the Minneapolis area. Previously, Wayne worked in the Public Relations & Advertising Department of an insurance company. Wayne and Mickey have six children, 11 grandchildren, and nine (soon to be 11) great-grandchildren. Wayne is about to retire from doing the monthly newsletter described in his success story, in order to concentrate on a book he’s writing, a light-hearted look at aging called “Downhill is Where the Fun Is.” He says that, at age 82, growing old is perhaps the only topic on which he can claim to be an authority (although, at the other end of the age continuum, he recently wrote a rhymed children’s book, “My Backwards Day,” which an illustrator is currently working on). One lesson Wayne has learned from his long career is that it’s a good thing to retire frequently, but never permanently.
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