About Nick Wolny
Nick Wolny is a professional editor, journalist, and business consultant based in Los Angeles.
Personal finance can be summed up in 8 words: Make more money, lower expenses, invest the difference.
But most money coverage in media is about the management of money. It’s about things like how to reinvest dividends, earnings reports, daily trading activity on Wall Street, and so on.
This coverage is irrelevant for a lot of people. Many Americans don’t have a penny invested in stocks. And an alarming number wouldn’t last a month financially if they got laid off right now.
Additionally, economic research has shown that these hardships are amplified for LGBTQ+ people. I cover these topics in a finance column for Out Magazine.
For many people, their best next personal finance step isn’t to budget tighter. It’s to go out there and make more money.
There are many strategies for increasing income. Online entrepreneurship is one of the most flexible.
Online business is creative, has low startup costs, and can be something you do full-time or part-time as your career evolves. You can sell products, services, or simply your ideas in the form of intellectual property.
These online efforts are increasingly powered by what we call content. Content is the blogs you read, the podcasts you listen to, the videos you watch, and the product descriptions you look at before you click to buy.
Much of the internet operates on content.
But content creation can become a grind. You can only do so many bicep curls before your muscles fatigue and you have to stop. Especially when you’re not in shape. Content creation is a muscle that must be trained and made stronger over time.
In many ways, content production is like learning an instrument. And I had experience in that.
In 2011, I was young, dumb, and broke. I had two degrees in classical French horn, and about as many dollars in my bank account.
I used to think my music school education was a waste.
But the skill transfer turned out to be great. Mastering a musical instrument requires structure and focus and feedback. Those skills carried over into digital marketing and writing nicely.
I took on various jobs in online marketing and expanded my knowledge in the meantime, learning the ins and outs of copywriting, media buying, and website publishing. I saved money. And when I felt ready, I took the leap into full-time entrepreneurship.
Just like playing a fanfare, you take a big breath, then go for it.
In 2016, I established a marketing consultancy.
My business worked with brick-and-mortar fitness and yoga studios. I worked with owners to set up their online marketing efforts, including website, SEO, and social media strategy.
But I also made truly every mistake in the book as a new business owner.
I burned down my entire $30,000 savings trying to make it work and didn’t get far. When you’re in your twenties and grew up really poor, $30k is a ton of money.
It was devastating, honestly.
In 2017, I went back to having jobs.
But the business seeds I had planted the year prior were still leading to new opportunities.
Over the next few years, I took clients on the side while I had jobs or full-time client commitments. I read up on income streams. I began to pitch a lot more media.
I also shed this skin that entrepreneurship has to be your career identity. That’s really not true. It’s okay to ebb and flow in your career.
In 2020, a pandemic rolled in, turning many people's careers upside-down, including mine.
My full-time client commitment ended, and I was back in the trenches. But I was older and wiser this time.
It was clear what I needed to focus on as a creator and business owner. I had also gotten far better at selling and positioning my skill set to prospective clients.
I began writing essays on Medium, developing intellectual property, and trying out new offers and ways to offer my skill set online.
Things were going well.
Then, in 2021, chronic back pain reared its ugly head.
I was warming up at the gym when it slid. Something in my back.
Immediately, severe sciatica symptoms ensued. I’ve never been the same.
I’ve had low back wear and tear before, but nothing like this. I could only stand for about 20 minutes at a time. I wore slip-on shoes for months, because attempting to tie my shoes left me seeing stars. The complex pillow formation I slept on at night to keep my spine straight looked like Stonehenge.
It was awful. Chronic pain is truly an epidemic. All my hustle died away.
To pursue what I wanted to in my career and life, I had to start working smarter. Way smarter. Working harder was no longer an option. As soon as I overdid it, I was bedridden with pain the next morning.
In 2022, A new publishing opportunity came up—one that would shift my career.
The name of my marketing consultancy is Hefty Media Group.
Over the years, to promote the business and my perspectives, I began writing guest posts and bylines for media publications. I wrote about social media, productivity, personal finance, and what to do as your career changes and evolves.
Editors and media professionals began to take notice. Eventually, I was offered a day job as a finance editor.
At first, I wasn’t interested.
But I felt like I wasn’t growing anymore. I wanted to explore something new and different, both in my career and in my business. With all the back pain, I craved a pattern interrupt.
So I negotiated being able to maintain my business with the job. They accepted, and here we are.
I spent the next year productizing and reprogramming my consulting best practices. The result of that effort is Camp Wordsmith®, a turnkey organization system and online writing curriculum for service providers, small business owners, creators, and online professionals. You can learn more about it here.
In 2023, I have a balanced portfolio career as an editor and entrepreneur.
My journalism covers money, technology, LGBTQ+ life, and how they sometimes intertwine. My business continues to grow and mature. The two work in harmony.
Create the career you want. Yes, the idea of becoming financially independent is thrilling and exciting.
But many of us don’t actually want to stop working. We want to do meaningful work and be productive members of society.
Do the work. Learn new things. Put your thoughts and ideas out there.
You never know who is reading and watching. ◆