Is Quitting Your Job to Freelance Full-Time Worth It?

If you are trying to figure out if freelancing full-time is right for you or whether you should even go down this path, Gina’s story offers some invaluable lessons.  I asked her to share her story with us since I find stories like this to be very inspiring.

Enter Gina……

Is quitting my job to freelance full-time worth it?

You may be asking yourself the exact same question I asked myself last year. The answer for me was an overwhelming yes and today Lisa has asked me to stop by and share my story.

I hope that you’ll take from it that freelancing full-time is possible, you can make a good living from it, but it does take a bit of heart, perseverance and a thick skin. It’s hard to truly succeed without any of those three qualities. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Who Am I?

I’m Gina, a married, millennial mama to two toddlers; currently two and three years old. Our son starts preschool next week, which is at times a bit hard to believe!

I’ve been freelancing full-time since the end of 2014 and I’m happy to say that it’s the best decision I’ve ever made! This is a big deal, because I’m the sole breadwinner for our little family of four – my husband quit his job just over two years ago to stay home with our babies when I went back to work (as a financial advisor at the time) after my maternity leave was up.

So we’ve both kind of bucked the Corporate America trend and decided to live life on our terms, according to our values. They just so happen to include spending as much time as possible with our babes, before they grow up and jump ship. (I know it seems like a long way off, but if the past couple of years are any indication, we’ll be empty nesters in the blink of an eye!)

How Did I Get Here?

Well, in short it was due to a growing discontent in my previous job in finance. I was both a support person to our large practice and I serviced a small amount of my own financial planning clients as well.

I loved the clients and enjoyed helping others to set, plan and achieve their financial (and therefore life) goals, but I didn’t dig the compliance, hoops and endless paperwork that also came with the job. We used to joke that the compliance department was really the “business prevention unit.” Meaning their job made ours harder, rather than easier to do.

I also felt kinda stuck. Since Wade had quit his job and I was responsible for bringing home the bacon, I knew whatever I did next had to be for money, as well as for enjoyment. It couldn’t just be for the latter.

So I turned to my trusty friend Google (seriously, what did we do before the internet?) and my haphazard search led me to Leaving Work Behind, a site that my good friend Tom still runs. And I discovered there that freelance writing for the web was a viable career option.

I’ve always loved to write. Heck, it wasn’t that long ago that I started blogging for fun and to connect with other fitness enthusiasts and new moms. I could do this for a living? I was sold!

What Happened Next?

A lot of hard work, LOL!

I juggled building my freelance business with working my day job and still being the best mother and wife that I could be for about eight months, before I left work behind for good. And that was still over five months ahead of my plan!

I like to subscribe to setting low expectations, working really hard and hoping for the best. So I dream audacious goals, go after big things and put in the effort, but don’t feel too bad if it doesn’t quite pan out how I was hoping. I know that something else will come along.

And that’s how I built my freelance writing business. I went after big opportunities, had confidence that I could figure things out that I didn’t know and faced rejection head on. It’s how I ended up as a Huffington Post contributor just a month after I looked into freelance writing for the web.

In fact, whenever I pitched someone and they did reply with a no (which is more rare than not hearing anything), I would respond thanking them for the consideration and letting them know I was around if they changed their minds. I also used this opportunity to ask for feedback on why I wasn’t selected.

I figured that they didn’t hire me anyway, so what did I have to lose? Many didn’t respond to my request for feedback, but some did. And the few that did told me what I needed to know to improve my pitch and therefore my odds of future success.

And it seemed to work. Within six months I was grossing $4,000 per month from my freelance business. And I’ve more than doubled that since going full-time.

5 Qualities You Need to Have to Succeed

In my experience, there are a few qualities that if you have (or figure out how to gain) will help you to be successful in this business. And surprisingly, it’s not having a fancy journalism degree.

  1. A Strong Why. If you don’t have an important reason behind doing what you’re doing, odds are that your excitement and motivation will quickly fizzle out. Figure out what can fuel you through the long haul and then place a reminder in a prominent place (or two).
  2. Decent Writing Skills. You don’t have to be the best writer (or grammar nerd) around. But you do have to like to write and be able to string sentences and paragraphs together that make sense and have a good flow.
  3. Good Organization. Being type-A helps in this business. You’ll be dealing with multiple moving priorities and clients, and you need to keep them and their expectations straight.
  4. Multiple Skill-sets. You need to be more than a decent writer to start and grow a successful freelance business. You’re also the marketing department, accountant, IT, HR, etc. You’ll be wearing many hats as you get started – be prepared to learn on the fly!
  5. A Thick Skin. Building a profitable business is in part a numbers game. You need to be okay with putting yourself out there, pitching a lot and networking like crazy. If getting rejected scares you, you’ll need to learn how to get over it. It’s just business, it’s not personal, so don’t take it that way.

In Conclusion

Building a profitable freelance business and quitting your day job to spend more time at home (or doing what you love) is totally possible. I’m living proof.

But it’s not easy and isn’t usually done overnight. It helps to have a strong why, decent writing abilities, good organizational skills, multiple skill-sets (or the ability to learn on the fly) and a thick skin. And all of these things can be learned or improved over time.

It is worth it though. I wouldn’t be able to have lunch with my family and lay my toddlers down for their daily naps without it. Or travel on a whim and work from the road. Being self-employed has it’s perks!

What’s currently holding you back from starting a freelance business?

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 download a free copy of 8 Tips to Start Your Freelance Career off on the Right Foot!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Stein owns, is a college business professor and a mom to Gabriela and Elle. Lisa is dedicated to playing a part in helping women and moms run a business they love, help support themselves and their family and create a flexible lifestyle. You can find her online on Facebook and Twitter or at home burning something in the kitchen.