This is a guest contribution from Gina Horkey.
Two years ago, my husband and I were just like any other American couple.
We were both working in Corporate America, had a one and a half year old and another on the way. Our work schedules and commutes weren’t bad, we just weren’t doing work that we were passionate about.
Someone else was also raising our child. It could have been much worse – our son was maybe in daycare for 30 hours per week. And the provider was great! It just wasn’t what we wanted. Plus, with another on the way, daycare was about to get real expensive!
Since I’m not one to sit back and accept less-than-ideal circumstances, we decided to make some changes. Here’s our story of going from a dual income, Corporate America household, to a single earning one dependent on just my freelancing income. Buckle up!
Finding a Better Solution
Even though I was a financial advisor, we never thought it’d be possible for one of us to quit work and stay at home with our growing family. After a couple failed nanny attempts and the end of my pregnancy looming, we got desperate and finally entertained the idea.
My husband had always expressed interest in becoming a SAHD and my career was more promising at the time, so we set out to see if it was possible for him, the carrier of all benefits to quit.
By significantly cutting our expenses (cutting cable, reducing our dining out, raising our insurance deductibles, stopping our retirement savings, etc) we were just able to make it work!
Thank goodness we had the good sense to pay-off most of our debt the year or two before.
Fast Forward a Year
Our second child was going on a year old and Wade was enjoying staying at home. All should be well then, right?
Wrong. It should have been.
But I couldn’t help to acknowledge the growing discontent I was experiencing with my work. My clients were great and so were my colleagues. I just didn’t really enjoy talking and reading about investing, tax law or compliance all day long.
I tried to throw myself further into my career by enrolling in an accredited program and pitching a plan to buy into the larger practice. I began studying and we began talks to make it happen.
But then I realized it wasn’t what I really wanted. And I actually listened to myself for once.
Starting a Freelance Writing Side Hustle
So, I did what any other “normal” person did and turned to the world wide internet!
I explored my passions, my available options and started freelance writing on the side a little over a year ago. I secured an unpaid contributorship with The Huffington Post, got some samples by guest posting elsewhere and started my own blog.
I would get up every weekday morning at 4:30 and write for an hour or two before my family woke up and I had to get ready for work. I also had a four-day workweek at the time, so I used Fridays to work on my writing business as well.
I even hired a babysitter from time to time on the weekend to give Wade a break and get some time-sensitive client work done. It was fun, I saw the potential and I was committed to taking charge of my own career future.
All of my hard work and perseverance started to pay off. My income grew month-over-month and I figured out I really enjoyed this world of freelance. I had blogged socially for years, but this was the first time I was treating blogging like a business and reaping the financial rewards.
Putting In My Notice
Eventually things came to a head at work. I opened up about my freelance success and that I had changed my mind about what I wanted for my career future.
I was super nervous about it, but the conversation went better than I had expected. I had been an advisor for almost a decade at this point and with this particular practice for six years. We had a great relationship and I considered them almost like family. But it was hard to disappoint a father-figure!
Due to our great mutual respect, we worked out a plan for them to buy my small practice, for us to find my replacement (for the support duties I performed for the office) and that I’d have a long transition schedule to both train in said replacement and continue to build up my freelance career into a viable business that would support my family.
Becoming a Full-time Freelancer
Right around Christmas, 2014 I had my last day of work. I was now officially a full-time freelancer!
It was exhilarating and a bit frightening all at once. But now, six months later, I can happily say that I made the right decision.
I may work more than ever, but it’s work that I’m passionate about (I write, am a virtual assistant, coach newbie freelance writers and have a course to help aspiring writers for the web launch their own business in as little as 30 days). We also own our schedule, our time and choose how we get to spend it.
Better yet, we choose WHO we get to spend it with.
Blogging changed our life.
We now decide our schedule, rather than our Corporate America jobs dictating it.
For us, it’s not about being rich or continuing to earn more money – it’s about defining and living out our own priorities, which just so happens to include spending as much time as we can raising our own children.
Want to know my favorite part of each workday now? Coming in for lunch with my family and laying my two toddlers down for their naps. I never would have been able to do that a year ago!
How would your life look different if you felt empowered to make big changes?
Gina Horkey is a writer for hire, with a background in personal finance. She also offers coaching services and really enjoys helping other freelancers gear up to quit their day jobs and take their side hustles full-time. Please stop by Horkey HandBook and say hello and download a free copy of 8 Tips to Start Your Freelance Career off on the Right Foot!
Thanks for having me guys! I’ll pop in to answer questions if anyone has any.
I feel lucky to know blogging among them all because my life is now changed for the better.
Congrats! My wife and I went from unemployed, former office workers to full time, island hopping, pro bloggers. Love inspiring stories like yours. If you crave freedom more than you fear doing uncomfortable stuff, you’re golden. You’ll do it. We preferred to make the world our office ;)
Thanks for sharing!
We’re not island hopping, but we do have a flexible lifestyle and I’m currently working from my parent’s cabin in northern MN:-). It also helped with having my appendix (unexpectedly) taken out on Monday!! Good for you guys!!
It’s wonderful to read about blogging success stories and how it changes lives. I have personally been blogging since the time when Geocities was still alive, but I always found it hard to be too strategic about it. Somehow it was more important to me to write about something I am passionate about rather than something that makes me money. How do you strike a balance?
Hey Asher (love the name!). I think it ultimately comes down to what your goals are – make money doing something you love (writing, running an online business) or have a hobby that you’re super passionate about. Work will be work regardless, there’s just some that’s more enjoyable than others (IMO).
Love this post – so inspiring. I’ve been a freelancer for 7 years now so I’m comfortable in that world and love the freedom it gives me to spend with family BUT I’ve decided to make a drastic change this year by changing my core business from non-profit consultancy to freelance writing/blogging. Scary but exhilirating to be doing something I love – so it’s inspiring to read about your journey and know that it’s possible with a lot of hard work.
If there was only one piece of advice you could give to an aspiring freelancer, what would it be?
Great post – thanks again!
Keep going and don’t give up prematurely! Once you get that momentum ball rolling, it’s AMAZING! Another piece of advice, would be to pitch like CRAZY! And realize that rejection (or not hearing a response) is just part of the game. Can’t take it personal – keep going. Good luck Heather!
Its really interesting story of Gina Horkey, how they made it. This articles shows their dedication and the way they planned for it. Life is valued not with money but with the kind of life that we live and yes in today’s corporate world very less people have access to their life and get to socialize.
Finally should we start exploring our passion and connect to world in different way.
Thanks Harsha. Yes, life is valued differently for us now (or at least we’re acting in accordance to our values). Thanks for your comment!
These are great suggestions. I personally try to interact with visitors in the comments section because it adds a personal touch and opens up two way communication with your visitors.
For sure! 100% agreed. Isn’t it funny though how less people are leaving comments than ever before? It seems that sharing content via social media is more indicative of if they like a post, but can be confusing I find as the author:-)
This is really an interesting story and i love the decision you took, i believe its for the better. I also understand that it wasn’t an easy one but its good you were able to follow your heart.
Blogging is the best thing anyone can make and i know that we all can do it as well, its just a matter of knowing what you want and going for it.
I wish you good luck in your freelance writing career Gina, i will check out your blog right away.
Thanks so much Theodore. Of course, it’s not without its challenges, but I don’t regret the decision in the slightest!
Congratulations on changing your life. Following your passion takes courage. I can’t think of any greater life than writing and publishing. Its not easy, but the rewards are huge. Good luck!
For sure Laurie! Thanks for your encouragement:-)
Wonderful blogging inspiration. It goes to show anyone can start a respectable blogging business and make good money.
It does take a fair amount of hard work, persistence, patience, thick skin, etc though;-). But you don’t have to be a journalist or the best writer ever.
Gina, great to hear of your story. Neither my husband nor I have had a “real” job for going on four years now. (My husband lost his job over five years ago, and I quit mine almost four years ago.) When I first quit my job, I was doing client work, which was great from the perspective that it paid the bills, but after a period of time, I realized it wasn’t what I really wanted to do either. In spite of the fact that I was working from home, I still had to face the demands of others day in and day out and found that I was in many ways working much harder than I had been when I had a full-time job. I hit the burnout point, and almost went back to my previous place of employment.
Over time I figured out that what I want more than money is freedom. And yes, I do have to have some degree of money in order to have freedom. The important thing is knowing the primary source of motivation, and making sure that your business lines up with that.
As of the beginning of this month, I’m now 100% client free. All of my income now comes from affiliate sales, sales of my own digital products, and book royalties. It’s scary, but I believe it’s the right thing for us, at this juncture.
I share all of this to say that this whole “make money blogging/from home” thing is one that (at least for me) may have to be adjusted over time to become more of what you want it to be. The great thing is that with a blogging lifestyle business model, the freedom is there to tweak things and make adjustments as you go along. The ability to do that is probably one of the most important aspects of making a living blogging, and while not easy, I love it!
Wow, great for you Rebecca! Passive income is definitely appealing, but (for now) I also really enjoy doing client work and learning new (internet marketing) skills. Money does in some way equal freedom, as long as you keep it in check, i.e. don’t keep working harder for more money! That’s a struggle;-).
Gina, most definitely! Initially client work worked for me as well, but then at some point there was a need for a change. I think that’s part of the adventure!
Success story of others inspire most of the people trying to do that their passionate about.Thanks Gina Horkey. Your story would help not only them who wants to be a freelance writer but also all who are confused to make change.
Appreciate you reading and your comment Marvin. I love encouraging people, so it’s a win/win!
Awesome Story Gina, its true that blogging is the best way to share your views/ Story and its good when you got interested in blogging and also can make a bright future in blogging.
anyways your story is very interested and keep it up and waiting for next articles..
Thanks Shanu! I’d love to appear at ProBlogger again in the future if they have room;-).
Love inspiring stories like yours. If you crave freedom more than you fear doing uncomfortable stuff, you’re the best!
:-) Yes, you need to have a desire stronger than the fear. We all have it, action beats it every time!!
Great article. I just bookmarked this blog and for sure I will come back. Keep posting.
Hi. I just Wonder how and where ill find the best paid freelance writing Jobs? Many freelance writing job are scary low paid, and if you want to try to make a living on it its seems hard!
Excellent read ,I think this site holds very wonderful composed subject material posts. Thanks for the article. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I was very interested in what you have to say! I am mainly involved with forex trading but I really got a lot from this.Great article with great information!! Keep up the posting and keep up the great work
Hi! Would be interesting to know what you are writing in your blog, blogging about? What kind of Subject? And how you get money from blogging. Is it on ads? Or? // /// Åsa