Living the Writer's Life: Les Worley
Double Burnouts Led Him to Fish, Cheese, and Joy in Mexico

Les enjoys quick access to the ocean thanks to this nearby beach in Progreso, Yucatán.Les enjoys quick access to the ocean thanks to this nearby beach in Progreso, Yucatán.

Not only does Les Worley have a vibrant personality, but when I connected with him from his home in the Yucatan, he was surrounded by color, from his cheerful shirt and art to the vivid view out his window. But while he’s living the ultimate expat writer’s dream now, it didn’t come without a few key lessons. Read on to discover how writing made its way to the forefront of his career — twice — and how he’s leveraged it to live the semi-retired lifestyle of his dreams.

How and when did you discover copywriting, and what about it appealed to you?

Les and his husband, Casey, at the Gladiator’s Arch by the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.
Les and his husband, Casey, at the Gladiator’s
Arch by the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

I first found copywriting in 2005 when my husband and I were about to move to Mexico. I purchased the Accelerated Program for Seven-Figure Copywriting as a way to supplement my income, having retired from IT and moved to a foreign country. But then I never did the course.

I moved back to Dallas in early 2009 because of the market crash, went back into IT for almost five years, and burned out again. And I discovered a box that had the accelerated course in it (this was back when it was in paper format). My husband said, “Look, you helped me get into my new career. It’s your turn.” So I went to Bootcamp in 2013, and at the end of that year, I tendered my resignation to my company. I actually wrote my resignation letter on the plane home from Bootcamp. By 2015, it started ramping up really fast. I ended up on a retainer for an agency that does copywriting and content writing for technology companies.

And eventually you moved back to Mexico?

Yes. I continued writing for my main client as a full-time employee, working from where we live now — Merida, Yucatan. Then in August of last year, I became a freelance writer again and decompressed for a few months and just started putting my toes back in the water. One of the toes got nibbled by my previous company, so I’ve been doing a little writing for them. Then last week I started writing on retainer for a different company. Most of my clients are in software, and I write websites, articles, blog posts, and what they call glossary pages, which are SEO-focused pages.

What does a typical day look like for you now?

I get up, have coffee, clean my fishpond, which is part of our new garden and has 400 or so fish and lilies. It’s something I’ve always wanted. Then I feed the dogs, read emails. And when I get to my desk, if I have an assignment, I work on it quite peacefully, because I turn off all messages and notifications. I’m not making a full-time salary, but I’m working only a few hours a week.

Sounds amazing. How did you land your clients?

LinkedIn was one of my biggest magnets initially, and it pointed to my website. Today, my clients come from the network I’ve developed over the years. It’s kind of like a perpetuating machine. After you’ve done it for a while and have enough people in your network, you don’t necessarily have to spend time prospecting. But you have to do that relationship-building in the beginning.

What kinds of hobbies are you able to enjoy with your part-time writing schedule?

There’s my fishpond. And cheese making is a hobby of mine. It’s hard to explain. It’s not like a recipe. It’s biological. It’s a very intense, very personal thing. Everybody says, “You can buy whatever kind of cheese you want.” I’m like, “That’s not the point.” The point is that you make it yourself and it’s something you love to do that I now have time for.

It’s almost a form of self-care. It makes a lot of sense.

It is, yeah. It’s not that it doesn’t require a lot of mental energy to do whatever hobby you choose, whether it’s cheese or wine or fishing. It takes time and energy, but it lets your brain recharge.

And that’s crucial to a creative profession. What would you tell somebody who is just getting started in writing but isn’t sure this can be a long-term career?

What everybody wants from a writer’s life is different. Some people think they will never be good at selling themselves. That doesn’t mean they can’t be a freelancer, but it also doesn’t mean that they can’t go and get a full-time writing job, right? So, there are all sorts of different paths. Only you as a person know what you want to accomplish with that.

Les' Living The Writer's Life story was originally published in Barefoot Writer. To learn more about how you can start living your dream writer's life too, click here.

What help do you need to move forward with your version of the writer’s life? Let us know in the comments below so we can help guide you in the right direction.

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Published: March 23, 2024

1 Response to “Living the Writer's Life: Les Worley”

  1. Nice article!

    Guest (Sidney)

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