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!