Passive Income Series: What Are Your Priorities?

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Last month, I told you about my intention to start a new website. My goal, insha’Allah, will be to make at least $2,000 per month in passive income within a year of launching the site.

This may or may not be realistic (many sites out there never earn anything more than pocket-change), but one thing I have learned over the years is that it is important to aim high, and I am willing to work hard to get there.

Paying Work Comes First

I do have priorities, however. As a freelance writer, editor, and Arabic to English translator, my priority is to keep my already-established business running smoothly. When I am working on a project for a paying client, my focus will always be on my client’s needs.

Some translation projects in particular are very intense and require months to complete. If my regular paying work requires me to set aside my passive income project for a while, that is okay with me. This is exactly what happened last week, when a regular client of mine approached me with an urgent deadline.

Alhumdulellah for my Trusty Notebook

Although I am making progress with my project, of the biggest obstacles I continue to face is staying focused on a single passive-income idea. Yesterday, I had an awesome new idea for a book and website that fits in pretty nicely with the “Open Call” for Muslim writers currently taking place. I got super-distracted and spent several hours researching the new idea. I can totally see the concept in my mind and envision it as a success.

Finally, though, I had to remind myself that I will not be able to accomplish my goals if I continue to fragment my efforts in this manner. It is a subtle form of self-sabotage that I have to be really cautious about. I will, however, save my ideas in my trusty notebook and come back to them at the right time, insha’Allah.

Even More Important than Work

Besides work, I have other priorities, including:

Family. It is important to me that things are running smoothly at home, which means staying on top of laundry, meals, homework, etc. I also find that I work much better when I take care of these things first.

Deen. I don’t want to be a halfhearted Muslim who is always rushing through prayer and other religious obligations. I want to really savor them and be a good example to my children as well. Can you believe it is almost time for Ramadan again?

Health. Regular diet, exercise, and sleep are all essential for avoiding the burn-out that is so common amongst freelancers.

As a lifelong night-owl, I used to have horrible nighttime habits that I have really struggled to overcome. I have always loved working at night, after everyone else has gone to sleep and the house is calm and peaceful.

Alas, that is really difficult to sustain when you have responsibilities during the day as well. Alhumdulellah, I have trained myself to sleep (and rise) early instead and have benefitted greatly from the barakah of the early-morning hours.

“And (have We not) made the night as a covering – and the day as a means of subsistence?”

– Qur’an (78:10-11)

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“O Allah, bless my nation in their early mornings.” (Ibn Majah)

Self-discipline Non-Negotiable

As you can see, I am seeking the work-life balance that is so crucial to success. When one part is lacking, things can seriously spiral out of control. I’ve already “been there and done that,” and it’s not something I really care to repeat. Alhumdulellah, I am more aware now and hope that I am able to deliver this message to others who are just beginning to work at home.

Working at home is a great blessing, but the danger is that we are kind of “always” working and do not turn off unless we make a conscious decision to do so.

Next time, insha’Allah, I will talk more about the website I am planning.

In the meantime, what do you struggle with? What are your priorities? Share by leaving a comment below!

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Amel is an experienced freelance writer, editor, and Arabic to English translator. She started the Muslim Writers Club as a means of sharing useful information about the art (and business) of writing.
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