I’m 100% Self-Employed – My Plans For the Future

Hey everyone! Some of you were wondering where I was yesterday. Well, I was recovering from all of the craziness after #FinCon13. I still can’t believe how awesome it was, and I learned many things that I want to apply to my work. For anyone who is thinking about going to FinCon in 2014, I…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 25, 2023

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Hey everyone! Some of you were wondering where I was yesterday.

Well, I was recovering from all of the craziness after #FinCon13. I still can’t believe how awesome it was, and I learned many things that I want to apply to my work.

For anyone who is thinking about going to FinCon in 2014, I definitely think you should go. I feel dumb for skipping the past couple of years, when I clearly should have gone.

The networking alone is one reason for why you should go, and the sessions are equally amazing as well. PT did a great job planning FinCon! And Ashley Jacobs is a great rapper.

I met so many awesome people. Seriously, the list goes on forever. I am so happy to have met so many of you. There were a couple that I didn’t have a chance to meet who I wish I could have. Hopefully next year!

And to those of you who met me, I am so sorry that I was sick the whole conference. I’m sure everyone was sick of  hearing my raspy voice and my coughing (I was on medicine though, so I was not contagious!).

FinCon was in St. Louis this year, and I’m very happy for that. I live 15 miles from the hotel, so it didn’t take me long to get to the conference. Luckily W drove me on some days as well. It was definitely a very cheap conference for me.

One big positive of having this conference in St. Louis is that it finally brought people to the city that I live in. I truly believe that St. Louis is very underrated (there are a ton of fun things to do here in St. Louis).

I remember when it was first announced that FinCon13 would be in St. Louis, and I heard some complaints from other bloggers. It really made me sad because so many people have such a bad attitude about St. Louis. However, I had many people come up to me and tell me that they actually LOVE St. Louis after visiting. They loved the architecture, they loved the restaurants, they loved the vibe, and they loved how lively the city was when the Cardinals won.


I’m finally self-employed!

Yes, you read that correctly. I am finally self-employed. Some of you already know, but I haven’t announced it directly on Making Sense of Cents until right now. I will be publishing a more detailed post on this soon.

Wish me luck 🙂 There are many things that I want to work on that I learned about while at FinCon. I’m hoping that this will help me grow and make my work successful.


I want to start working on an eBook.

There are many reasons for why I want to start working on an eBook. I want to give something to my readers, I want to help others, and it would help me look more professional when I am trying to build my brand (see below).

I’m not saying whether this will be a free eBook or a paid one, because I’m not even sure yet. Money isn’t my main reason for an eBook because, let’s be honest, the amount of time it would take to write a quality eBook is very long and the amount of money I would most likely make is very small. Most writers say that when they average out their time with how much money they make with an eBook that it is most likely around minimum wage.

Many writers say that the main positive of writing is that it helps build your brand and makes you more professional to potential readers, clients, advertisers, and so on.


I want to work on building my brand.

One thing that I learned from the keynote from Jean Chatzky is that I need to work on building my brand. I’m not sure what I want to do, or how I will get there, but this is definitely on my long list of things that I need to do.


I need to promote more effectively.

One big mistake that I do is create content, but I don’t promote it enough. Promoting is very important, and it’s something that I really slack off in. Yes, I will tweet my article once or twice a day and post a link to the article on Facebook, but beyond that I don’t do much else.


Accept more interviews.

I have something to admit. I have been asked to do interviews (such as through a podcast), and I have said no. Online interviews don’t make me nervous, because I am able to think about what I am about to say and not have too much word vomit.

Luckily Jeff Rose found me and asked me yet again to let him interview me for a podcast, and I said yes. He asked me a couple of months ago but I said no – because I am a very nervous person.

I often engage in word vomit, and this is what makes me nervous about a “live” interview. That is something that I need to work on.


Eventually speak at FinCon.

I attended many sessions while I was at FinCon, and everyone was a great speaker. There was no one whose session I attended where I didn’t learn anything or thought they haven’t been speaking for years.

I would love to someday be able to do this. I always did good (maybe just “okay”) with speaking in classes in high school and college. However, speaking in front of a bunch of very intelligent people who I admire?

That scares the crap out of me. However, I really want to make this a goal of mine. I’m not saying that I will speak next year (AHH!), but eventually I would love to do this. If you have spoken at a conference before, how did you prepare? Were you scared at first?


What are your business plans for the short-term and long-term?

Did you enjoy FinCon? Are you attending next year?


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. “Word vomit”. Excellent. Fincon looks absolutely awesome. I wish I could come, but the cost of the trip from France (or the UK) is a little steep!! Maybe I’ll help the guys branch out with a UK version in the future!! πŸ™‚

    These are some great points to focus on. So great in fact, that I’ve just jotted them all down on a sticky note and added on the wall next to my computer!

    Good luck with being fully self employed. If you carry on as you have to date, I can only see success in your future path!!

    1. Haha, just saying word vomit pretty much is word vomit.

      Thank you so much for your kind words.

  2. Big congrats. Yay for the official jump to self employment. Crossing my fingers to be at FinCon next year.

    1. Thank you! And yes, you should definitely go.

  3. Alicia @ Financial Diffracion

    I have only been reading for a few months but I was always “I will be self-employed soon”, and I am glad to hear you have made the jump. Congratulations – and with incomes you have posted, I would say you will be doing just fine πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you Alicia! It has been the plan for awhile now, I just didn’t want to share the exact date to protect myself, and also to not jinx myself.

  4. Woo! Congrats on officially being 100 percent self-employed. Big steps!

    Sounds like FinCon was great! So happy you enjoyed it.

    Public speaking is something I’m actively working to improve- it’s scary, but so rewarding!

    1. Thank you Jessica!

  5. Travis @Debtchronicles

    Congrats on the jump, Michelle – it was nice to meet you (briefly) in St. Louis – hope you had a great conference!

    1. Thank you Travis!

  6. Shondell

    A big congratulations to you Michelle! That is awesome! I know you are going to do even better now that you’ve made the jump. Can’t wait for the ebook.

  7. Shondell

    A big congratulations to you Michelle! That is awesome! I am sure you are going to do even better now that you made the jump. Can’t wait for the ebook.

    1. Thank you Shondell!

  8. Congratulations on taking the plunge. Keeping our fingers crossed πŸ˜‰

  9. I loved FinCon too! I’m sorry we didn’t get to connect. Judging from how well you’re doing with your site, I think that you would have some really useful insights for FinConners next year — you should definitely speak! If this whole blogging experiment is still working out for me next year, I hope to attend FinCon. It was a great experience, and I agree with you: I learned something new in every session. I was struck by how helpful everyone was, too.

    1. I wish we would have met as well. And I’m sure it will still be working for you πŸ™‚

  10. Big congrats Michelle! But, then again, I am not biased at all. πŸ˜‰ I came away with a list of about 8 pages long of stuff I want to do – I felt sorry for my wife having to put up with me on the drive home. πŸ˜‰ I am decompressing this week to determine what I want to attack first and prioritize from there. Sorry we didn’t get to meet – next year though. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you John! And haha yes, I feel bad for W because I can’t stop talking about it.

  11. Congrats on the move to full self-employment! FinCon sounds like an amazing experience. I have to admit that I felt a decent amount of envy seeing all the tweets from the last few days. I certainly hope my schedule works out next year so I can go. And oh yeah, GO SOX!!!!

    1. Yes, you should definitely go! And noooo CARDINALS!

  12. Congratulations on making the leap and becoming self employed. Yay! I can’t wait to read more about the jump and transition.

    As for your goals, that’s quite a list! I think it’s truly inspiring how you want to push and challenge yourself, despite your fears [of public speaking and whatnot]. Good luck with it all.

    1. Thank you Emily! I hope you make more posts on this soon.

  13. Connie @ Savvy With Saving

    Congrats on making the switch to self employment!!

    Public speaking is scary but something I’ve tried to overcome. Have you ever thought about trying Toastmasters?

    1. I haven’t really thought about it, but I should. Thanks for the idea!

  14. That is amazing!!!! Congrats!

  15. Thank you πŸ™‚

  16. I hope to make it to FinCon someday (maybe next year!) I think it would be a great experience and chance to meet everyone! Some of the things you mention above are exactly the reasons I should go – I don’t promote my posts enough, don’t brand myself, been working on an e-book FOREVER now and it’s still not done (perhaps over winter-break). Maybe I’ll get a chance to go next year.

    Congrats on your self-employment! I look forward to reading a more detailed post. πŸ™‚

    1. I definitely recommend FinCon. Try your hardest to come in 2014!

  17. Congratulations on going full time into self-employment. As someone who has done that for many years I cannot imagine doing it any other way. Never look back!

    As to the public speaking, relax and expect to have a great time. Most people are fearful at first and do not know how to get over the nervousness. Some long time speakers continue to experience it and think it stimulates their speaking but the truth is, if you know the real cause of nervousness you can replace it with a much more positive stimulus.

    Many great speakers are less than handsome in appearance and less than polished in speech, but they hold the audience in the palm of their hand. Why? Because they have something to say. Once you know this you can relax and enjoy doing your presentations. It is like your website. Appearance is great but content is the key.

    I have had the opportunity to speak thousands of times to audiences large and small. The only times I have been nervous have been the times I knew I was not as well prepared as I should have been. Once past those first few learning experiences, you will have those very likely, you can look forward to sharing what you know to be helpful information to people who you know are wanting to receive it or they would not be present.

    Good Success.

    1. Thank you James! And thank you for the positive speaking comment. I need to not be so afraid ad just do it.

  18. Thank you Jordann! And I’m still not sure about the ebook, as I have a ton of ideas. Choosing the topic will probably be very hard.

  19. Tammy R

    Congratulations, Michelle! Self-employment has been the best thing that’s ever happened to us, and I hope the same for you. I am so glad you’re saying yes to more interviews. When we did our first and only live interview, I engaged in word vomit, but I did get a few laughs. Just be you and that will be more than enough!

  20. Thank you Catherine. I will definitely have you review it. However, it most likely won’t be for another year! ha

  21. I’m not sure yet. You should definitely go next year πŸ™‚

  22. Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies

    Congrats on finally making the jump. It was great to finally meet you in person, and I hope you’re feeling better soon!

    1. Thank you! It was so nice meeting you as well. πŸ™‚ I wish we could have talked more.

  23. Haha yes I was sick and it was so annoying! I’m glad that I’m finally over it, because I’ve been sick for two whole weeks.

    It was so nice meeting you also. You are so awesome!

  24. Congratulations! That is awesome – and inspiring, as always! Good luck in your first few days as 100% self employed πŸ™‚

  25. Congrats on being self-employed! I’d like to go to FinCon next year…do they have a location? I understand what you mean by word vomit…I like being able to think about my answer in detail before answer, but with a live interview, I feel a little rushed because when there silence or a pause, I want to fill it with words. I need to work on thinking fasting on my feet.

    1. Thank you Andrew! And yes, you should go. I don’t think a location has been determined yet.

      Yes, I need to work on thinking fast on my feet as well. That is something that I am not good at.

  26. Thank you Anna πŸ™‚

  27. Glad you enjoyed the conference. I am sad that I had to change my plans last minute due to work. I just paid for the virtual pass, so hopefully I will get some good stuff from the recorded sessions.

    There are many things that I need to accomplish with my brand, but I just keep making excuses for not completing them. That needs to change.

    1. Aww that stinks Grayson! I was asking people if you were there and I was sad when I found out you couldn’t make it.

  28. E.M.

    Congratulations on finally making the switch to self employment! Looking forward to hearing about how it goes. I’m sure everything will be fine, though – you’ve been so successful.

    I am really shy too, but it would be a shame to pass up those public speaking opportunities. I’m sure there’s lots of us that would love to actually hear from you. You’re an inspiration to a lot of people! I hope to go to Fincon next year, it sounds so exciting.

  29. Congrats! It’ll be a fun journey and I’m sure you’ve planned things out for a while!

    Good luck,


  30. So flipping excited for you! Definitely hoping to learn from you and follow in your footsteps myself. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you! I am excited also πŸ™‚

  31. Kim@eyesonthedollar

    It was great to finally meet you. I think you’ve done as well or better than most of the speakers there and would make a great presenter. I also really enjoyed St. Louis. It reminded me of Memphis a little bit.

    1. It was so nice meeting you as well Kim. And I’m glad you have faith in my speaking skills. I’m not sure what I would even talk about.

  32. Thank you Angella!

  33. Jayon

    FinCon seems like a good time. Would you have gone if it wasn’t in St.Louis?

    1. I definitely still would have gone πŸ™‚

  34. It was great meeting you there. I had a blast as well, and you’re right, the networking alone was worth the (low) price of admission. I met so many people my head is still spinning, and my brain is full of awesome things I took away from each session. I started my brain dump yesterday, continuing today. Oh….and….

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! Being self-employed is a definitely a dream of mine as well πŸ™‚ Excited to follow along!

    1. Thank you Jacob. It was great meeting you also!

  35. Candice

    You’re going to do so well! I just know it. I’ve recently started my own business (last Tuesday actually) and I already have 3 clients. So exciting. You are such an awesome role model for me!

    1. Wow you are doing amazing Candice.

  36. Sorry to hear you were sick at #fincon13 Michelle, but I bet it was still worth it to be there. I’m already planning to attend #fincon14 next year as well. Like you I have a ton of work to do before that happens yet. I’m actually in the process of redesigning my site, and whole bunch of other things as well. Also congrats on going the self employed route.

    1. Luckily I wasn’t too too sick, but it still would have been better if I was perfectly healthy.

  37. Thank you πŸ™‚

  38. Thank you girl πŸ™‚

  39. Pretired Nick

    Hey, congratulations! I’m not surprised at all, but I am delighted!

  40. Congrats on being self-employed!! I hope I can be self-employed one day!

    1. Thank you Whitney!

  41. Congrats on becoming self-employed, girl! I know you have an amazing future ahead of you (speaking in public, and all…:)

    1. Thank you Whitney!

  42. Congrats! Look forward to what the future brings for you Michelle! I need to get better at building my brand as well. Still learning how to do it without dropping a ton of money.

  43. Congrats!! That is so cool.

  44. I REALLY hope to get to FinCon next year. The east coast would be preferable.

    I can relate to your need to build your brand. I feel like I’m constantly working to stay on top of content or social media, I haven’t really taken a big picture look at what I want my brand to be and where I want it to go.

    1. Yes, you should definitely go next year.

  45. It was awesome to meet you at FinCon! Congrats again on quitting your job! Welcome to the dark side πŸ˜‰

    As for speaking, you should totally do it! FinCon was actually my first big speaking gig and everyone was so amazing and nice! No better place to start if you ask me πŸ™‚

    1. It was so nice meeting you Amanda! Thanks πŸ™‚

  46. FinCon sounds like so much fun! I don’t think we have an equivalent here in the UK which makes me a bit sad. Congrats on being 100% self-employed, you must be so excited! Can’t wait to read more about all your planned projects! πŸ˜›

  47. Congrats Michelle! I wish you the best of luck on your self employment journey!

  48. Peter

    So, you have finally done it… Congratulations. I’m sure it’s very exciting and yet somewhat scary time for you. Letting go of any type of security can’t be easy. I’m certain that you’ll do well in your self-employment and would love to hear you speak in FINCON.


  49. Congrats! I look forward to reading about your new venture in self employment. I would love to attend Fincon next year. Sounds like there is alot to be learned there.

  50. Congrats on being self-employed!! I just started following your blog and am totally inspired. Thanks for putting such great content out there, I will be following along!

    1. Thank you Rika πŸ™‚

  51. Tara @ Streets Ahead Living

    Congrats on the full self-employment! I didn’t attend FinCon but would be interested for next year. Sounds like you had a great experience.

    Don’t be afraid about the public speaking. It can be scary at first but I’m sure you’d be great. You have so much material that would be great for conference.

    1. Yes, you should go next year!

  52. first of all.. let me say that it was great to finally meet you. you are just as charming and sweet in person as you are here on MSOC and when you comment around the PF blog-o-sphere.

    secondly.. a huge congrats is in order for your new self-employment. i know that you have done an amazing job with marketing so far, and i do hope your story and brand continues to develop and grow!

    please keep us updated on your ebook progress.. i am wanting to start working on one myself, here at some point, and i would love to see a few updates as the project gets rolling.

    1. Aww thanks Jefferson! It was so nice to meet you two as well.

  53. Hey Michelle is was great meeting you in person.

    Goog luck on being self-employed!!

    1. It was great meeting you too Mike. πŸ™‚

  54. I’m so sad I missed FinCon this year, and I’m sure when I go next year I’ll look back and feel dumb for missing. I wish I could have met you and all the other awesome bloggers I talk to on a daily/weekly basis, but hopefully everyone is still in the game next year. Congrats on being self-employed! I hope you know how motivating it is for me (and others I’m sure!) to see you create a sizable online income stream. Looking forward to your ebook!

    1. I am definitely going next year, so we can hang out at FinCon14 πŸ™‚

  55. liz

    WOW full-time self employed… living the dream! Congrats on your huge accomplishment!

  56. Oh, how I would’ve loved to go to FINCON! Everyone’s been saying how awesome it was and how much they learned. SO glad you finally took the leap, Michelle, and are now officially self-employed. Woohoo!

    1. Thank you Laurie!

  57. Congrats on your self employment, Michelle! How exciting. I didn’t make it to FINCON this year and for that I am a bit sad, but maybe next year. I have been enjoying everyone’s lessons learned and recaps. I always come back from conferences feeling very inspired.

    1. Yes, you must go next year. I want to meet you!

  58. Congratulations Michelle! It is scary to be 100% Self-Employed, but also exciting to think about creating a brand that is solely you. Good luck!

    1. Thank you Shannon!

  59. Jamie V

    I learned about it too late, but FinCon sounds like something I’d be really interested in attending. I’ll have to look into next year! Maybe it’ll be in or near Milwaukee.. πŸ˜‰ Congratulations on being completely self employed! I hope to be there some day, too. I too want to write a book..but I’d have no idea where to even begin. I know the topic, but beyond that..oh boy! In the mean time, my boyfriend and I are trying to set up our brand new travel blog (we leave for Peru on Monday so I think our asses will be put to the fire this weekend to get a first post up!), we’re each trying to start up individual blogs which we call “lifestyle blogs” because we’re not sure what aim we’ll each be taking yet (is Lifestyle an option?). We’re also thinking of selling our photography, and we’re getting into the alpaca business (we bought our fist 2 this summer!). Overall, I think we’ve got some great plans, but we’re getting stopped up by really small technical details and we’re not sure how to overcome the hurdles. We’re looking for a mentor (I guess?) and that in itself is a process. So we’re a long ways off but the seeds have been planted! Your successes make me feel optimistic about our goals. Yay!

    1. Hi Jamie. Yes, you should go next year! Good luck with your goals πŸ™‚

  60. Thank you Martin!

  61. Hi Michelle,
    It sounds like you’re totally on the right track. Your strategy to write an ebook and accept more interviews sounds perfect to me. (And remember when you think about “word vomit” that at least it’s not actual vomit.) Hope to see you at FINCON next year! Jean

    1. Hi Jean! Thank you so much for stopping by my website πŸ™‚ I definitely look up to you for inspiration.

  62. Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans

    Congrats Michelle! Your future looks bright! So excited for all you and MSOC has to offer πŸ™‚

  63. Michelle, this is HUGE!! Congratulations on living your life the way that you want to! I am surprised that you engage in the occasional word vomit situation. You will do well, looking forward to hearing about your new adventures.

    1. Haha I am surprised that you are surprised. I am a horrible speaker!

  64. Glad you enjoyed the rap! πŸ™‚

    1. Haha it was the best part!

  65. Congrats!!! I hope to be joining you soon with being self-employed. I am trying to make money on my blog
    because of being laid off and it can be a scary move but YOU CAN DO IT!

  66. Alicia | Jaybird Blog

    I’ve heard time and time again the advice to do things you’re scared of–so it sounds like you’re on the right track with accepting more interviews and future speaking engagements! You have such interesting and helpful things to share, and writing is just one way to do them. Looking forward to hearing more about your self-employment. Congrats!

  67. Kay

    Just wanted to point out…you are still contagious while you are taking meds!!!! Meds just mask/suppress symptoms, so you are still spreading germs while you are on them, you just don’t feel as miserable while doing so. This is why germs spread so much, because people will take meds and go to work/school/wherever thinking they feel fine, while spreading their virus all around!!!

    1. Hmm my doctor told me that the medicine/antibiotics he prescribed made me not contagious after 24 hours.