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  • Writer's pictureMichael Jaymes

How I Became A Writing Coach: The Unconventional Journey


Michael Jaymes, How he became a writing coach

Hey writers and writing friends! This a transcript from my podcast. You can listen to it here, or enjoy my story below! :)


(NOTE: This is an AI-generated transcript with headers added.)

INTRO

What is going on, goombas? My name is Michael Jaymes, as you probably know, and this is going to be my podcast. This is episode one. I'm going to be calling this Coffee Talk with Michael Jaymes because I want you to go have a coffee while you are listening to this.

 

This can be something that you're listening to while you're having a morning coffee or an afternoon coffee. I mean, if you're driving to work, that's fine too; just don't get in an accident. Or maybe you're doing the dishes or cooking dinner. Whatever it is, I just wanted to make something where you and I can bond as writers and just talk about writing—you know, writing things in general. I might talk about tips I'm learning, tips I'm teaching, some of the writing courses I've taken, some of the challenges of being a writing coach, some of the things about publishing books and being an author, and all that jazz.

 

So I hope you enjoy this. This is going to be exclusively on my Buy Me a Coffee page. If you are a supporter of the Buy Me a Coffee page, I appreciate you, and this content is made for you. I hope you find it beneficial and not only encouraging but also full of information.

 

I also plan to be doing interviews and stuff here, so hopefully we can get that set up. I might have a writing contest coming later this year for anyone who is supporting me on Buy Me a Coffee. So those are all the things that are coming—exciting stuff.


Today we're just going to talk about me a little bit. I'm going to talk about how I became a writing coach and how I got to where I am, and I'll just talk about some of the things I've learned. And yeah, I'm just excited to share it with you guys. So, without any further ado, let's dive right in.


WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

So back in the year 2018, I started working a job that fall at a warehouse. It was an Amazon distribution warehouse, not for Amazon, though. It was just one sole seller that sold tons of stuff on Amazon—some stuff on eBay too, but mainly on Amazon.

 

So he had his own warehouse for it and had all these pallets of products that he sold. I basically made sure they all went out, got on the truck, handled the returns, slapped labels on boxes, packaged boxes, made palettes, and all kinds of stuff. And I worked for this guy named Fred in the little town of Forest City, Pennsylvania.

 

And I really enjoyed that job! Fred was awesome! The people I worked with were great. And I had some really great experiences there. I really enjoyed working in the warehouse industry, but it wasn't like any other warehouse industry out there. It wasn't like I was working with, you know, hundreds of people, or that I had five to six different guys I was working with every single day. It was literally me, Fred, and two other dudes. And that was it. And we all ran this warehouse together. I would say I had one of the most important jobs at the time because I built up a rapport with Fred, and he just had me handle a lot of stuff, and I really enjoyed it.



PRIDE GOT IN THE WAY

But that being said, my pride got in the way. I thought I was so important because I was handling a lot of important tasks, and Fred needed me. And so when someone else wasn't doing their job and it was pissing me off, I decided to write Fred a long emotional email about how this guy should be fired.

 

And then, guess what happened? I got fired, which is a little unfortunate. Hindsight's 20/20, but you know, that's how it goes sometimes.

 

And I was young. I was only twenty years old at the time. And that was really tough. That was the only job I've ever been fired from.

 

I've had multiple different jobs. A lot of them were from places like Craigslist and stuff. I just worked odd jobs because I didn't want to be like everyone else that I grew up around. Like the area in Pennsylvania I grew up in, which is just outside of Scranton, PA, everyone was a blue-collar worker. It was a lot of construction or warehouse work or different things like that, and I didn't want to be involved in working in some warehouse that distributed dog food all over the country, or I didn't want to be involved in building the bridges and fixing all the roads that never actually get fixed, or like my brother Dave's in the Carpenters Union, and he loves that, but I would just never do something like that. It's not me; I'm a creative.


So, working with Fred was a little more interesting because he taught me about marketing. He taught me about why he sells the products he sells and how he buys all these products at liquidations and stuff. I really enjoyed that. So, it didn't turn out well.

 

Anyway, Fred fired me, but the day he fired me, he let me down so kindly. And one thing he said—I can't remember word for word—was, "You have great leadership skills, and I don't think you should work for anyone. I think you should start your own business because you are not going to be happy working for anyone."

 

And when I was driving home that day, I was laughing and crying at the same time. I remember having the windows down and screaming out the window, and I was like, "This is ridiculous!" I was so humiliated because I always told people how much I loved my job, and I was so proud of it. So then, when I got fired, it was embarrassing because I just lost the job I told everyone about. And I think I only worked there for maybe six to eight months or something. I thought I was going to make a career there.


TALKING IT OVER

So I'm driving home—it was about a 25-minute drive—and I remember talking to God. I was like, "God, this is insane; I can't believe this is happening to me."

 

I'm laughing and crying out the window, probably spitting some slurs, and just freaking out.

 

And so I'm driving home, and I'm so embarrassed to go home that I can't even drive the whole way. I stop at a gas station on the way called Country Trails, and I call my brother Dave up, and I'm like, "Dave, I got fired."

 

And he's like, "Aw, dang dude, are you alright?"

 

I broke down. I said, "No, can you come meet me?"

 

So he came. It's funny because Country Trails is only like 3–5 minutes from my house; it's just down the road, a few miles, and I'm just sitting there by myself.

 

Dave comes, goes inside, and buys us both energy drinks. I think he bought us Monsters or something, and he got in my car and sat next to me. He's like, "How are you feeling, bud?"

 

And I said, "Not good, dude," and we talked about it.

 

We talked about how I felt so embarrassed and stupid and how I should have never sent that email the way I did. I thought I was being helpful, like this guy wasn't doing his job. Wouldn't the boss want to know that?

 

But the way it came off, I remember Fred saying in the conversation—again, I'm paraphrasing because I don't remember his exact words—but Fred was basically like, "Do you not think that I can't handle my own business? Do you not think that I don't know what's going on and I can't instruct people the way that I need to instruct them? Are you the boss?"

 

That's basically how my email came off to him. And that's no fault of Fred. I was just a poor writer back then.

 

So yeah, I guess I wasn't very persuasive with my email. But anyway, so Dave meets me, and he comforts me, consoles me, and makes me feel a little better. And then we go home, and I tell everyone, and I remember my mom's giving me a hug, and I felt so stupid; I was such a loser. But yeah, so that was a really tough thing.


FEELING DETERMINED

But when I got home, I was like, “You know what? Stick it to Fred! Screw that guy! I'm going to make my own business, and I'm going to be more successful than he's ever been.”

 

You know, that's what I was thinking. But it's funny because, if you remember, that's exactly what Fred told me to do, and I'm over here thinking I just came up with this grand scheme that I'm going to prove Fred wrong. But really, I was proving Fred right.

 

And all this to say, I haven't spoken to Fred since then, but I'm sure that Fred's doing well. I'm sure Fred's much more successful than me as well, and I wish him the best. I think he's a great guy. There's no hard feelings toward him or anything like that. So if you ever meet Fred, let him know that I'm appreciative of him and that he's a really smart and godly man that you can learn a lot from.


But anyway, I decided I was going to start my own business, right? And so I was trying to think, “What can I start that is different, is interesting, is on the edge, and cool?”


PRESSURED BY THE COMPETITION

Again, I didn't want to do the common job that everyone else did. It was tough because I grew up in a very business-oriented home.

For example, my sister owned her own photography business. My other sister was a craftswoman. She painted signs and built different wooden signs for people. She used to paint on slates a lot and make welcome signs for homes and for different small businesses. My brother, Steve, used to own his own gym; he was a fitness trainer and nutritionist. My brother Dave, even though he is in the Carpenters Union, used to work with a lathe, make pens, and sell pens to people. My parents are picture framers. They've been in the picture framing business for 30 years. They make handmade frames.

 

So I grew up surrounded by family members who all achieved different goals in their lives by just doing it themselves and setting their minds to it. Especially my brother Steve. He's really cool because I feel like he can just do everything. He's done landscaping; he's worked with my parents for the picture framing; he's done the gym stuff; he's probably done a dozen other things that I don't even know about. Steve is just like the all-around guy who can literally do anything.

 

But that was really hard for me to see because I felt like a failure. I didn't want to get the typical job. I wanted to have a really cool job. I didn't have any friends that had parents that were like doctors or surgeons or worked in an office building that was in New York City. I didn't have any friends like that, and I thought that would be the coolest thing—if I could just be one of those people who was "uppity" (I guess you could say) and always wore a suit and tie to work. For some reason, that was my dream when I was younger. But, you know, I'm in the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania, so that wasn't happening.


But I did think, "I'm going to start my own business. I'm going to do my own thing. I'm going to figure it out."


EARLY ATTEMPTS AT SUCCESS

So first, I tried drop-shipping. I didn't buy anything. I just researched it a lot for probably a week or two. And then I was like, "Yeah, this ain't worth it." So I didn't do it. There was just too much risk involved.

 

But then I thought maybe I could get into affiliate marketing. I thought that was a cool idea. There was this guy I watched on YouTube that would wear his pajamas in every video, and he would just talk about how he was an affiliate marketer and made all these websites that would just link to things like Amazon and different websites, and then people would buy things and he would make lots of money. And I was like, "Oh, that's so cool. I could do that." And that didn't work out either. I tried that, and that didn't work. I already had a blog at the time. I had this Christian blog, and it was like motivational posts. So I tried putting all these ads for buying things like study Bibles on the sidebars of my blog, but I didn't get any sales. So, you know, that didn't work out.

 

But from there, I decided, "What about white label? White label is kind of cool." And if you don't know what white label is, it's basically where you buy a generic product, put your own label on it, and then sell it. So, like, I could buy a spatula that's made in China. I can buy a thousand of them and then just slap the name Michael Jaymes on it and try to sell the Michael Jaymes spatula and say how good it is.

 

I wanted to get into that, and at the time, I was really into working out. I wish I still was. I am not in the shape I used to be. But I was like, "What if I can make some kind of nutritional drink, like a post-workout or a pre-workout with my own blend of ingredients, and it'll be all natural and all that jazz?"

 

So I bought all these ingredients and probably dropped like $500 on them, which, at that time, you know, I'm fired, so I have no money coming in, and that was a lot of money to me. And that didn't work either. I tried making all these different concoctions. And the post-workout shakes I made—some of them were tasty, and some of them were just bad. They didn't work. So, I mean, they were nutritional. They were very good for you, but they just didn't taste good, and I didn't think anyone would be buying them. So I didn't go with that option either.

 

Then I decided, "You know what? Let's try something else," and I found freelancing, and I was like, "Oh, I wonder what service I could provide for people."

 

I had already done a lot of Etsy SEO-type stuff for my father because he sold a lot of his picture frames on Etsy. So I was like, "I can offer that. That's pretty easy. I know how to do it. I could probably do that for a bunch of people." But it was boring. I didn't like it. and I did it, I think, for only one or two clients, and then I was like, yeah, not doing this. And I only made, I think, 10 bucks. So that didn't work.


BIG IDEA

But then I saw that you could be a ghostwriter, and I was like, “Ooh, no freaking way! That sounds awesome.” So I was like, “I'm gonna get into ghostwriting.”

 

So I tried ghostwriting out, and I wasn't getting any sales early on. I tried marketing myself as a ghostwriter, and I knew nothing about writing at this time, just so you know. I've written, and I liked writing, but I knew nothing about writing. My idea was: force yourself to try to get a job so that if somebody hires me to ghostwrite something, then I have to learn about writing, and I'll have no other choice, and it'll have to be great. So that's what I did, and I wasn't getting any sales, and I was like, "Ah, dang, this isn't working. How do I build rapport? How do I do this?”


THE HARD TRUTH

So I started trying to write short stories and posting them online.

 

I had a guy from my church who was really smart. His name's Dave Lindow; you should look him up. He works on things like clock parts and stuff and all these different cool machinery-type things, and he's a really cool dude. But I sent Dave Lindow one of my stories way back then, and I was like, "Hey, I think I'm going to be a writer. What do you think of this?"

 

And he basically told me, "Your writing sucks." He was just blunt about it. He's like, "You're an awful writer, and if you ever want to make a career out of this, this is not the way. You are such a bad writer." And he gave me no hope. He basically said, "If you want to be a writer, you better start reading books."

 

He named like a dozen books I had never heard of that I should have been reading. And they were all classics. I should have known, but I didn't read a lot growing up.


So then I was like, "You know what? I'm going to prove Dave Lindow wrong too."

 

So I had to start reading a lot and studying a lot. I began listening to YouTube videos, podcasts, interviews, and stuff about writing.


BOTTOM OF THE BARREL

During this time, since I wasn't making money as a ghostwriter, I was trying to find other writing jobs that didn't require any experience, or people didn't care if I didn't have reviews online. And at the time, I was using the Upwork platform (if you don't know what Upwork is, it's a freelance platform). So I found this guy on Upwork who was looking for someone to transcribe videos for him.

 

I was like, "Oh, that's similar to writing. You know, I'm still typing. I'm just listening to someone speak in a video and then typing what they say, and then I get paid."

 

So I reached out to that guy, and he hired me, and I worked for him for probably five or six months. I only made a thousand dollars in those six months, but it was a thousand dollars of hard-earned money because those were difficult videos to transcribe. They were all spoken by people who were talking about coding and programming. It was something very foreign to me. And a lot of the speakers were not native to America. And I don't mean that to be racist or rude—they were just not very good English speakers. So when they spoke, it was very hard to understand what they were saying.

 

A 30-minute video would take me three hours to transcribe. It was very difficult. And then I would get paid like 20 bucks or 30 bucks for that video. So that was very rough, and it just wasn't worth it. But you know, I pushed through; I got reviews for doing dirt cheap work, and by getting reviews, even though they weren't about ghostwriting, because I was marketing myself as a ghostwriter on Upwork, people saw that I was a ghostwriter with reviews now.


MY FIRST ORDER

In January 2020, I got my first ghostwriting gig. I was pumped!

 

I had to write a story about a guy who was about to get on an airplane, and then these guys that looked like spies in professional uniforms came up to him and said, "We'll give you $5,000 if you carry this briefcase and drop it off at the next airport at this location."

 

And he was like, "What the heck?"

 

And they were like, "Do not open it. You're not allowed to know what's inside, but you will get $5,000 if you drop it off where we tell you to."

 

So he was all confused, and he took the job, and then all this stuff happens while he's on the plane.

 

So that was a 10,000-word short story I wrote. And for 10,000 words, I got paid 40 bucks, which, to put into perspective, is four-tenths of a penny per word, which is pretty rough.

 

But, you know, you have to start somewhere, and I was so, so pumped! That is my first ghostwriting order, and I was so excited that, finally, you know, I felt like I made it. I did it. And if you do it once, you feel like you could do it again and again and again. And so I just kept ghostwriting, and I ghostwrote dozens of stories for people over that year.


A BUMP IN THE ROAD

And another funny side story to this is that I truly believed—you know, I was praying all this time—"God, if you don't want me to do this, make it very clear to me and rear me in the other direction. Make me go get a job or something."

 

And if you remember, this is the year 2020. This is when COVID-19 is about to make waves in America, right? And I was trying to make money. I just got engaged, like, six months before this. and I was supposed to be getting married in June of this year. It's January, and I was running out of time. I wasn't making a lot of money. I had little to nothing. And I was supposed to make enough so that I could get my own apartment and get out of the house so my wife could move in when we got married. So I was kind of freaking out on the inside, but I kept praying about it and kept saying, "God, is this what you want me to do?"

 

And I felt very confident that this was what God wanted me to do. It seemed clear to me, but I had a lot of backlash from different family members and friends who thought I was a fool, who thought I was stupid for working in my parents' basement all this time, wasting my time away, and not getting anywhere, and that I should just go back to finding a normal job like everyone else and be normal. And I hated that mindset, but that's what everyone was telling me.

 

And finally, I think it was the month of April that came around, and I was starting to make a few more orders online. I think one month I made like $300, so I was feeling pretty good about that. But I still wasn't making a lot; I wasn't making enough to make a living, of course.

 

And during this time as well, I was working a side job where I worked for a company called Lox, and they are a hair grooming company, and I would do hair grooming stuff for them while the boss was in, but the problem was that he got deployed and didn't need me anymore. Like, he had me working all the previous summer after I got fired, while I was trying to create this kind of freelance gig and trying to become a writer. He offered me a job during that time, and I was only working like 20 hours a week, but I was making a little bit during that time. But then, when he got deployed, he didn't really need me too much anymore. I would go in maybe once a month or something, but I wasn't really working too much for him.

 

So that was kind of a problem because since he didn't need me, I also wasn't making money from freelancing—or at least very little—and now I'm getting married and have nothing coming in. And I just kept praying about it, kept feeling like this was the right thing to do, but everyone was hating on me, telling me, "You're so stupid. You're foolish. This is dumb."


GIVING UP

So I... I caved in April. I decided, "You know what? I need to go get a job. I'm freaking out and getting nervous." I was supposed to get married, but I had no money coming in. I couldn't even move out of my parents' basement on my own. So I was like, "I need to stop doing this. It isn't working."

 

So I gave up on freelancing. I thought maybe it'd pop off one day, but at this time, it just wasn't going to work out. I left my pages active (I was on Upwork and now Fiverr at this point), and I left them active, but I wasn't getting enough orders to really make a difference anyway.

 

So I went and filled out an application for this candy factory nearby. I forget what it's called, but it was near where I lived, only like a 15- to 20-minute drive. I did the orientation, and it was a paid orientation, so I was going to get a $60 check for that, so I was pretty pumped about that. And then I had my first day coming up, and I was working the night shift. I was going to be working the night shift so that I could be on the same schedule as my [soon to be] wife, who already had a job where she was working the night shift, and the craziest thing happened.


WAKE UP CALL

I stopped trusting what I believed was the right thing to do. I went to have my first day at this job, and I went in, and they told me to sit in what was basically like the lunch break room until someone came and got me.

 

I was wearing the clean boots I had to buy to get the job. I wasn't in uniform, but I was dressed the way they told me to, you know? And I was just ready.

 

I sat there and sat there and sat there, and like 30 minutes passed. I was like, "What the heck is going on?"

 

So I walk up to this woman, and I'm like, "Hey, can you let me know where this woman is? She told me to come into work today, and I'm just not sure what's going on. This is my first day."

 

And she was like, "Yeah, let me try to get a hold of her." So she tried to call her but couldn't get a hold of her, but then she called me back up, and she's like, "Hey, I guess you weren't informed, but you got laid off."

 

And I was like, "Laid off? I just started!"

 

And she said, "Yeah, we're not allowed to take anyone else on because of COVID-19, the huge virus that's washing over our country. We're not allowed to take anyone on, so you got cut already."

 

So I was like, "What in the world? How did I already lose this job that I haven't even begun?" I still got the $60 check for the orientation, but I was like, "This is ridiculous!"

 

But it's funny that I tried to go against what I believed was not right—I believed I was supposed to be doing this writing gig thing and trying to work out freelancing, but everyone was telling me not to. I went against what I believed. I believed in my heart that it was true, and it backfired. And I just thought that was so funny.

 

So I had another drive home where I was laughing and crying and being very hysterical. And I'm praying about it, like, "God, how is this happening? You're nuts!" Like, I just thought this was insane.


THE PAYOFF

And then that week, I got a bunch of orders—my first week filled with tons of work on Fiverr. I think I made like $800 that month, and I had just enough money to pay the security, the down payment, and the first month's rent on an apartment for me to move into. And then, a month or two later, I got married.

 

So, that is kind of the opening story of how I got into the freelancing life. And from there, it just kept working out. I kept getting orders. The boss for whom I worked for the grooming company came back from his deployment, and I was working part-time but also had my side hustle. My side hustle slowly continued to grow, to the point where I was able to quit working for Lox and go full-time as a writing coach.

 

I started out offering ghostwriting and outlining, but then I learned about more things. Today, I offer a lot of editing services and one-on-one consulting.

 

So yeah, it was just a really, really crazy rollercoaster of emotions coming to where I've gotten to today. But that is the backstory of how I got into the freelance writing world, and just a little bit about me.


OUTRO

So I hope you enjoyed this little story—this little sneak peek into my life. This is, like I said, the first episode of my podcast that I'm beginning here, and I hope you guys enjoyed it, because I just appreciate that people are willing to support me on this journey that I'm on as a content creator and as a writer, and I'm just really excited for all the other things that are to come.

 

I plan on having more topics other than just topics about my life, but topics about writing and possibly doing interviews and different talks with special guests in the future. So thank you again for listening. I hope you enjoyed your coffee during this little time that we've had together, and yeah, friends, keep writing, and I'll catch you in the next one.


If you enjoyed this, consider checking out my podcast here!


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