In June 2022, 28-year-old Lindsay MacMillan’s dreams came true when her debut novel, The Heart of the Deal, was published. MacMillan wanted to be a writer since first grade and worked for years at investment bank Goldman Sachs, writing manuscripts and suggesting agents. She left the company in March and her second book is due out in 2023.
While working toward her goal of becoming a full-time writer, MacMillan learned that writing isn’t always a sustainable career. Her own book deals, for example, have each been “under $20,000,” she says, adding that “I make about $1 a book after those advances.”
As she launches her dream career, MacMillan looks for ways to supplement the income she earns from her books. “I call it authorpreneurship,” she says, “an entrepreneurial approach as a writer.”
This is how she builds multiple revenue streams.
She books lectures
In March 2022, MacMillan gave a TED Talk entitled “Love is Not a Business Deal”. In it, she draws parallels between people’s approaches to love and business, encouraging them to treat love not as a “commodity” but as a “connection,” she says.
The talk was a launch pad to book various talks covering topics such as how your corporate job can fuel your entrepreneurial aspirations and how to shape your unique career path.
“Right now I’m not charging for speaking fees,” she says, “but I do charge for lectures at universities and corporations and retreats for my events coming up in the fall.”
She will charge around $500 for a two-hour speaking event and began booking paid gigs at universities.
She does one on one coaching
MacMillan also plans to build a one-on-one coaching business for people who want to start writing.
There are many online and in-person courses on how to be a better writer, she says. But it takes a lot of business acumen if you “want to be able to actually walk into and hold a Barnes and Noble.” [your] book in hand,” she says, including knowing where that book might hypothetically fit on a shelf and how to convince an agent that publishers will want it.
“That’s really the void I see filling,” she says.
As an investor, MacMillan regularly walked through the pitch decks of entrepreneurs trying to get financing. “We can learn from how entrepreneurs raise capital,” she says as an example. She herself has agent pitch decks for her books. She charges $100 an hour for her one-on-one coaching.
She gives herself six months to ‘just dive in’
As MacMillan expands the many pillars of her writing business, she has downsized her life significantly. For example, she’s moved back in with her mom in Michigan and keeps her expenses to less than $2,000 a month.
“I’m giving myself six months to just dive in and say, let me just play, let me explore, let me hurl a bunch of things out there and mostly focus on having this really successful first product,” she says .
This 28-year-old made six figures as a VP at Goldman Sachs – that’s why she quit writing novels
How to do a job that’s not your passion, ex-Goldman Sachs employee says: ‘I’ve made friends with being a good employee’
This 34-year-old mom’s Etsy shop raised nearly $160,000 in 2021: How She Build Her Side Job While Working Full-Time
Join Now: Keep in touch with your money and your career with our weekly newsletter