I make a pretty decent living from open source ideas and software. In the last two years I’ve travelled across Canada, the US, Europe and down to New Zealand. It’s a pretty decent life. I get asked (a lot) about how I can afford my life style. I always tell people: I keep things simple at home. I prioritize. And I reduce my costs by using open source products almost exclusively. These days most of my income comes from technical writing. Previously I made most of my income from building Web sites for small businesses and non-profit organizations. Lots of people have asked me to consult with them on how they, too, can quit their day job and run around the world and do open source stuff at their leisure. (Jetlag isn’t nearly as glamorous as it sounds, but let’s run with it for now.)
Chris Gillebeau has literally written the book on how to quit your job and become a freelancer. (Start with Break out of 9-5 if you’re new to the concept of freelancing.) It’s nice of Chris to have done that because it means I don’t need to write down all the crazy things I do to make money (it ranges from writer-for-hire, to book author, to web site builder, to tech support and on). It’s also a really sane approach to starting a business with smarts instead of flailing and hoping to make money somewhere along the line.
Great. So you went ahead and bought the book on freelancing and now you don’t have a job and it turns out you didn’t really plan the whole thing and you don’t actually know what to do? Well this is where I can definitely help out. I decided to get really focused with my business. "laser focused" p’joo-p’joo. Next year I’m going to do one thing that’s going to put over half a million dollars into the economy and hopefully $5500 into your pocket.
In 2011 I’m running Design to Theme’s Drupal 7 Site Building Extravaganza program. Every month I’m going to create a brand new Drupal 7 Web site. Complete with a theme, design files, documentation on how the site was built and videos. I’m going to give you this package and you’re going to turn around and sell the package to one small business or not-for-profit who desperately needs a Web site. The theme (design files) will be GPLed and the documentation will be Creative Commons. The whole program is designed for you to make a profit.
"Open source? Profit? You’re crazy." Yeah, maybe. But I think you’d be more crazy not to sign up.