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From Vet Tech to Self-Publishing: One Woman’s Journey to Passive Income

In the face of economic uncertainty triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Jamie Reed, a 27-year-old veterinary technician from Akron, Ohio, embarked on a quest for financial stability. With private student loans unaffected by the federal student loan pause and Discover diligently collecting nearly $600 monthly, Jamie sought a backup plan to cushion herself against potential financial setbacks.

Discovering the Allure of Self-Publishing

Amidst the lockdown, Jamie stumbled upon a YouTube video that introduced her to the world of self-publishing through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform. Inspired by the prospect of generating thousands of dollars monthly, she purchased a $400 video course, “Authority Pub Academy,” to learn the intricacies of successful self-publishing.

Venturing into KDP: Initial Steps and Disappointments

Armed with knowledge from the course, Jamie embarked on her first KDP project – a 60-page journal designed using Canva and a provided template. Despite her efforts, the journal garnered only one sale during its first month, likely purchased by her mother. Recognizing the need for a more distinctive product, she redesigned the journal, incorporating writing prompts to guide users. However, this iteration also failed to gain traction, selling only 14 copies in its initial month.

Expanding Horizons: Tackling a Pet Illness Guide E-book

Simultaneously, Jamie worked on a comprehensive e-book serving as a guide to pet illnesses, aiming to assist readers in identifying signs that warrant veterinary attention. She dedicated evenings after work and household responsibilities to this project, often sacrificing time with her fiancé. The extended screen time before bedtime affected her sleep and motivation, leading to a decline in her performance at the animal hospital, which nearly cost her job.

Confronting Burnout and Reassessing Priorities

By early 2010, after approximately 10 months of pursuing passive income through self-publishing, Jamie reached a breaking point. The immense workload and minimal financial returns proved unsustainable, causing burnout and strained relationships. She realized that the “passive” aspect of her project was elusive, as it required continuous effort without yielding significant income.

Seeking Balance through a New Job and Side Hustles

Jamie considered exploring alternative side hustles that better aligned with her lifestyle and didn’t require excessive screen time, such as dog-walking or pet-sitting. However, she refrained from committing to one immediately, still recovering from the burnout experienced in late 2020.

In July 2021, Jamie took a decisive step towards improving her financial situation by securing a job at another veterinary clinic, resulting in a $3-an-hour raise. While not as substantial as she had hoped to achieve through self-publishing, the increased income eased her budget constraints and restored a work-life balance that had been severely disrupted.

Conclusion: Lessons Learned and Moving Forward

Jamie’s journey into self-publishing as a means to generate passive income proved to be a challenging and ultimately unsuccessful endeavor. The time and effort invested in creating and marketing her products did not translate into significant financial gains. However, the experience taught her valuable lessons about the importance of realistic expectations, work-life balance, and exploring alternative income streams that align with one’s skills and preferences.