I have a work from home success story/interview to share with you today from Gina Horkey, who was able to go from $0 to $4,000 per month in just six months as a freelance writer. If you're someone who earns an income through freelance writing but you've been struggling to find a way to take things to that “next level,” Gina's story and insight will likely be of interest to you.
Gina has also created a 30-day email self-paced course you can take to follow the exact steps she did to launch your own freelance writing business.
Tell us a little about why and how you got started working from home.
At the beginning of 2014, I knew something had to change career-wise. I had a two-year-old and 6-month-old at the time, and my husband had quit his job to become a SAHD the summer before.
I tried first to figure out how to be happier in my current career as a financial advisor and enrolled in the CFP program (Certified Financial Planner). I took and passed the first course and enrolled in the second of six on investments. It was then that I realized I didn't want to do this for the rest of my life, and if I was honest, not for even the next couple of years.
So I did what any other gal in my position would and turned to my trusty friend Google. I came across Leaving Work Behind and immediately identified with Tom's message. I took a course, launched a website and secured my first client within the next two months. I haven't looked back since!
What are the best things about working from home as a freelance writer?
I spent the rest of 2014 building up my freelance writing business on the side of my full-time job (I'm the breadwinner remember). So it wasn't until the very end of last year that I set out on this road full-time.
I recently wrote a post titled, 5 Decisions I Now Get to Make as the Boss and I think it sums it up nicely! For me, it ultimately comes down to freedom – freedom of choice, of time and of schedule. One of my favorite parts of my day is going in for lunch with my family and then laying both of my now toddlers down for their daily naps. They're only little for so long …
Has freelance writing been fairly lucrative for you? If so, how long did it take you to make a full-time income?
Yes! Full disclosure, my freelance writing business has turned into a freelance business. Meaning I make money by writing, as a virtual assistant and also by coaching others.
I was able to go from $0 to $4,000 per month in six months (while working full-time, I might add). I'm now at the point of out-earning my previous salary a year in! So, yes it is lucrative, but not easy. I busted my butt launching and growing this business!
How difficult was it for you to find jobs that actually paid well – better than your average content mill pays?
Not that difficult. I never went on any content mill sites per se, but have landed clients on Elance and People Per Hour. To tell you the truth, my success is almost 100% through job boards, although many of my new clients come by referral.
My first project paid $7.50 per WordPress theme description and if I remember right they were supposed to be around 150 words, so that's like $.05 per word. I have written for free (to build up samples in the beginning) and have taken on $20 trial projects too. My current minimum rate is $75 per post, although for new clients it's $100.
I will break this rule if I think the project is super fun or there's another reason to do it. I bid each project individually and part of the fee is based on how research intensive it is or how much time I think it'll take.
What are some tips you'd share for landing clients that pay well?
Be confident and believe in yourself. Clients don't know how much to charge, just as much as we don't know what to charge. It's more art than science, so you need to figure out what works for you.
At the end of the day, did you make enough money? And did you have some fun doing it? If not, you might need to charge more!
Lastly, for the ladies out there, pitch like a man! Pitch for any job that is remotely interesting to you or that you're remotely qualified for. Pitch early, pitch often and put yourself out there – you CAN do this!!
What kind of start-up costs are involved when you decide to pursue a career as a freelance writer? Is any formal training or certification needed to get the higher-paying gigs?
I spent less than $200 on my start-up costs and I'll tell you exactly what they were for (before I made a cent from writing):
$49 to take Tom Ewer’s Paid to Blog course
$7 for a used Yahoo! Style Guide
$20 for my first month’s Paid to Blog Jobs job board subscription
My college degree is in Psychology, so I'm not a journalism or English major. If people think you're good enough and will pay you to write, then you're a professional writer. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
If you aren't sure what niche to write in, I do offer a workbook with 200+ writing niches to subscribers to help people get an idea.
Tell us more about your course and how it can really help people get started making a comfortable income as a freelance writer.
I wrote 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success after looking back at the copious notes I took when launching my business. I wanted to beat the definition of insanity and not keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. When I reviewed them, I saw that I had created a blueprint of sorts for other aspiring freelance writers.
Each lesson is succinct and actionable, encouraging you to implement what you’ve learned immediately. Due to it being self-paced, you could take the entire course in as little as a few days or stretch it out over a few months – it’s up to you!
The course lays out the framework (from my personal success story) of how to get your own freelance writing business up and running inside of a month. I have a proven system that worked for me (and others), which takes the guess work and research out for you, allowing you to dive in and take the necessary steps to get a successful new business off the ground.
Thanks Gina for sharing your insight! The course is $147. This is very affordable considering that many eCourses are ten times that amount. It can be done at your own pace, completely through your email. There are also lots of great testimonials from people who have seen an increase in their freelance writing income after taking it, so this would definitely be worth checking out if you're trying hard to earn a good income as a writer but can't seem to get things going in the right direction.
I also want to add that Gina let me look at the course for free prior to doing this post. It is some of the best material I've seen for aspiring freelance writers and I have no doubt that anyone who follows Gina's advice will see results and an increase in income. I don't know if you know, but before I was a blogger, I was a freelance writer — a pretty unsuccessful one! I wish I had had access to this course when I was trying to get started as a writer! There is really nothing held back — she pretty much holds your hand every step of the way.
Go here to purchase the course if this interests you! And if you can't afford it right now, feel free to check Gina's informative blog post on becoming a freelance writer. She's also offering a free list of 200+ writing niches to consider breaking into.
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.