Update: Nine Months of Being Self-Employed

Update- Nine Months of Being Self-EmployedMy last day at my day job was in the beginning of October of 2013.

That means it’s been around 9 months since I left my day job to pursue full-time freelancing.

It feels like it’s been much longer than nine months though. Time is flying by, but it also feels like it’s been forever since I drove to work and sat in my office unhappily for nine hours each day.

I still remember when I first told my employer that I was leaving. I was dreading the day. I was extremely nervous about what my bosses would say (in my head I was a complete wreck), and I kept saying to myself “Six months from now all of this will be long forgotten.”

Now, it’s been nine months and I haven’t looked back once. I still have no regrets and I am EXTREMELY happy with the decision I made.

Self-employment is still going very well. I am enjoying each and every single day. I enjoy waking up, working, having a flexible schedule, and everything else that has been going on.

Below is my update after being self-employed for nine months.

 

Not having a commute is still wonderful.

I don’t see this ever changing. Yes, I like car rides but I don’t like them when the end goal is to take me to a boring and stressful job.

Being able to just wake up and get straight to work is a great thing. Yes, this usually means that I stay in my pajamas for a good portion of the morning (hmmm maybe into the afternoons), but it’s nice to be able to complete so much work in the early mornings.

 

I’m still getting in more “socialization” even though I work from home.

When I decided to make the switch to working from home, many people seemed worried that I would be bored and lonely.

The truth has actually been the exact opposite.

When I had my day job, there was no talking whatsoever. It was extremely boring and not having a single office friend (I worked independently in a field filled with men who were 45 and older) got old really quick.

Now, I can see my friends and family during the day when they are off from work (I have too many nurse friends). I also talk to other bloggers and readers pretty much all day long as well.

 

The thought of unstable income.

The unstable income is something that still gets me every now and then. There are weeks where I will make hardly no money, and, of course, times like those can make a person nervous.

As a freelancer, I’m sure these slow weeks make most nervous because it almost feels like everything has dropped off the face of the earth.

 

Traveling and being location independent.

One big positive of self-employment for me is the fact that all I need in order to work is a laptop and an internet connection. This means that I can pretty much work from wherever I want.

I have been traveling a lot so far this summer (one week in Vegas, 2 weeks in Colorado, one week in the Caribbean), and I worked nearly the whole time as well. I just scheduled as much as I could ahead of time, and then I brought my laptop to complete tasks along the way as well.

I would like to become more location independent then this though. We have been thinking about taking a long hiking/camping trip where we would drop off our car someplace and hike on some amazing trail that is thousands of miles long (okay, maybe just hundreds of miles to start off with).

I’m just not sure how that would work though as I, of course, still need to work.

Any ideas? Or is this completely hopeless? Haha a girl can dream right?

 

I still enjoy freelancing.

When I publicly announced that I was making the switch, I had many people tell me that I would grow to hate freelancing. That has not been the case at all.

I still love freelancing, and I enjoy it more and more every day. It’s great to actually be my own boss. I love how everything I do affects my business and that I am actually growing a business of my own.

 

What else do you want to know about my nine months of being self-employed?

How is self-employment treating you?

 

Interview With My Sister, FITnancials, Plus $250 Giveaway

Interview With My Sister, FITnancialsHello everyone! I hope all of you had a great weekend. I wanted to start off this week with an interview with my sister Alexis. I talk about her blog every month in my monthly income updates, but I’ve never actually dedicated a full article on her website.

Her blog is FITnancials and I helped her start her blog last year. She blogs about healthy living and personal finance.

If you are interested in starting your own, check out my article that will show you the steps to create a blog.

 

Tell us about yourself.

First off, my name is Alexis and I am in my early twenties.

I used to be around 180 pounds and I was extremely unhealthy. Smoking a pack of cigarettes a day and drinking tons of soda was what my average day of consisted of. You might laugh because I was young, but it still happened.

I never exercised nor believed girls should do anything besides cardio.

One day I had a breakthrough and I realized I needed to get healthier, but the journey there wasn’t easy at all.

Why did you decide to blog?

I decided to blog to be able to reach out to others who were in need of help. I wasn’t just going to be any other blogger, I was a girl that came from experience of being heavy once myself.

I can relate to others who are in the process of having extra weight on them.

Interview With My Sister, FITnancials, Plus $250 GiveawayWhat do you like about blogging?

I love being able to meet others who are so passionate about fitness and nutrition as well. Surprisingly, a lot of my friends around me aren’t into eating healthy and exercising.

Most of my fitness friends are from online that I’ve met through blogging and Instagram.

What are your favorite blogs?

My favorite fitness blogs would definitely have to be Blogilates and Simply Taralynn.

I love Blogilates because she posts free workouts along with free meal plans as well. Taralynn’s blog reminds me of something out of Pinterest. She is always posting so many creative meals and makes everything look so interesting.

This is a personal finance blog, so I have to ask. Would you say you are good with money?

In all honesty, I would say I’m best with my money when I am running lower than I’d like to be at.

It’s sort of like a wake up call.

It hasn’t happened in awhile because I think I finally learned to save money whenever possible. I set aside a certain amount of money bi-weekly and that has helped me tremendously.

What’s your best money tip?

What I mentioned in the last question; take out a certain amount of money each check. Have it direct deposited through your bank account to your savings so you don’t even have to think about it. This has saved me so much money.

Pay yourself first!

Do you have any student loans?

At the moment I do not. I went to community college for a year and paid out of pocket. I am starting school in Chicago starting this Fall, so I will definitely have some school loans then.

Why should people read your blog?

People should read my blog if they’ve ever felt alone in the process of losing weight or becoming healthier. A lot of people feel like they are in the journey alone or don’t personally know anyone who is going through the same feeling.

I come from experience knowing what it is like to be heavier and I am here to help you achieve your goals. I love motivating and inspiring others and simply making others feel good about themselves no matter where they are body wise.

 

Are you working on being healthy as well as improving your finances?

Do you prioritize one over the over? Why or why not?

 

Giveaway

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How To Know If Freelance Blogging Is Right For You

How To Know If Freelance Blogging Is Right For YouHello! I am still on my cruise and thankfully have a great article from Karen to share with you today. Enjoy!

If you’re a regular reader of Making Sense of Cents, you may know how Michelle went from making money on the side to quitting her job and becoming a freelance blogger. If you are considering to start your own freelance business but you’re not sure whether blogging is right for you or not, this post could help you.

It’s easier for current writers to make the transition from a hobby to an online business. However, as a beginner blogger you probably have more doubts.

 

You Love Writing

I’ll start with the obvious here. Forget about office reports or meaningless documents. I’m talking about creative writing. It’s time to remove the dust from your forgotten kid’s perspective. Wake up your inner writer. If you enjoy telling stories and sharing information, you are halfway there.

 

You Read A Lot Of Blogs

Chances are you already read personal finance blogs (You’re reading this, right?). You could even read other topics like diy home projects or new technology and apps for your smartphone.

The more you read, the more you get to know the blogging business. It gives you the opportunity to find out which topics you enjoy writing about.

Think about your favorite blogs. They have ads or affiliate marketing programs. Some other blogs sell their own products as memberships or online courses and ebooks.

As a freelance blogger your goal will be to help your clients succeed writing relevant content for their readers. This builds trust and eventually leads the audience to buy the products the blogs offer.

 

You Like Meeting New People Online

Most online business owners don’t get daily face-to-face with clients and colleagues. Sure, there are meetings and events but the usual is to be in front of the computer all day.

Your biggest asset will be your online community. If you’re uncomfortable talking to new people or meeting them online, then this may not be for you.

 

You Are Willing To Reach Out To Clients

When most creatives start out, they usually believe their only job is to create.

Take musicians as an example. It’s an old cliché to see this authentic musician with his long beard composing amazing songs. And that’s it. Money and fame won’t knock his door.

A famous musician reach out to disc records, sell them his album, go to TV interviews, sign autographs and deal with paparazzis.

Maybe you’re not a musician, but you still need to play more than one role. You’ll make cold calls, send proposals, write guest posts and build your online presence.

It’s part of your job to guarantee you’ll have work to fill your schedule to eventually become a full time blogger and quit your job.

 

You Are Excited To Learn HTML And CSS Coding

You are in charge of your blog. It’s your responsibility to install security plugins to avoid someone breaking through your site.

You’re the only one doing backups and adding anti-spam plugins. You manage your mailing list, your blog’s theme. You are the developer modifying your code to personalize your blog.

You are the business owner reading statistics and understanding what SEO means, what is the bounce rate and how to improve your visitor’s experience.

Someone has to do the dirty work. At least, while you’re still poor. You can hire a web designer eventually.

 

You Want To Run Your Own Business

Let’s face it. Most of us don’t want to work for someone else.

Do you dream of running our own business? So it’s your job to know the time you have available for writing, calculating a fair price for the service provided and increasing the productivity to reach your income goals.

Remember you’ll also be working non-billable hours completing tasks like invoicing, registering expenses and answering emails.

 

You Have Self-Discipline

Working on your own is tough. It’s especially true when you have a day job.

You finally got home after your daily commute. You need to find energy to sit in front of your laptop and pitch to prospects, write blog posts and network with other bloggers.

Unlike your office job, no one but yourself is going to force you to do this.

 

You’re Motivated

This is as important as self-discipline, they go hand in hand. Motivation is key to build a successful online business.

Creating a freelance career is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It requires hard work and compromise.

Let’s say you reached out to 30 potential clients, wrote a lot of blog posts but you’re still not making enough money to quit your job.

Remember this: The hardest moment you’ll face will be before your first success. Don’t give up too easily or you’ll not be able to achieve it.

 

You’re OK With Controllable Risks

Quitting a day job and becoming a freelancer is scary. That’s why most freelancers started slowly. They don’t quit the day jobs right away. They build a reputation, work for clients and make money until they reach the point where they don’t need the 9-to-5 job anymore.

Trusting yourself is a vital part of becoming a solopreneur because you have to make the jump some day. Freelancing means not getting a bi-weekly paycheck anymore. You’ll have good and bad days.

You can minimize the impact of non paying clients and slow months by creating a client agreement and marketing yourself, but the risk will still be there.

 

You Like Working On Your Own

As a freelance blogger, you’ll probably be working from home, a library or the local coffee shop.

You can rent a shared office to keep contact with other entrepreneurs.

However, your main work will be you in front of your computer. It’s up to you to get out of the house and meet with friends and family.

 

You Are Good At Setting Up Your Schedule

One of the reasons I don’t like my day job is not knowing how my day is going to be. You’ll see, working in the IT industry, our clients are small businesses with emergencies, such as hard drive crashes and broken servers. So I’m constantly depending on our support department so I can do my job.

Blogging’s nature is different though. You can schedule what you need to do. Unplanned or last minute events are rare.

 

You Believe In Meaningful Projects And Creating A Purpose

One of your goals could be quitting your job. I get that. However, if you only care about leaving your work and nothing more, freelance blogging is not for you.

You are capable of sharing your thoughts and useful information with readers about a topic you love. You’re helping your clients to build their online presence. If that’s not exciting, I don’t know what is.

 

 

Where To Start?

Test The Waters

Pick A Topic - Michelle blogs about personal finance. I enjoy writing about freelancing, relationships and self-development. Now think of your own interests and pick one or two.

Begin Your Own Blog – You won’t know if you like blogging until you do it. Experiment with your blog design, your writing style and showing your personality.

Do Guest Posts – Network with other bloggers in the topic you chose. Let’s say you blog about fitness. Find popular blogs about that topic and write for them. Related topics are valid too. A healthy food blog is related to fitness, so you can explore those blogs too.

 

Freelance

Reach Out To Prospects – You have two easy ways to do this. You could search on job boards or reach out to clients directly. Offer your services and continue building your brand.

Write – You got the job! Now it’s time to overdeliver. Write excellent content for your client, reply to comments and improve your writing.

Get Paid – You could accept credit cards, but I recommend using online payment systems like Paypal or 2checkout to make your clients feel safer. These systems take a small commission but it eliminates you a big headache.

Repeat – Now you’re a paid freelancer. Ask your clients for feedback. It will help you to improve your services and it makes you look professional.

 

Do you want to blog? Why or why not? 

 

If you want to freelance online, I recommend you read the articles below:

 

Author’s Bio: Karen Martínez is a freelance blogger for hire. She’s the author of Freelance from Scratch, where she shares stories and tips for building a freelance blogging business and a better lifestyle.

Image via 123rf by Gustavo Toledo