Updated May 2, 2017
OK, I’m an average gal.
Until the end of 2013, I believed the only way to earn money was through a 9 to 5 job.
At the time, I had already tried a few solopreneur ventures, but nothing seemed to stick or bring in any cash.
To be blatantly honest, each idea failed.
Sadly, I became convinced the only real way to make money was to fill out a job application, attend an interview, turn in a W-2, and punch the clock.
Sure, I saw other entrepreneurs making dough, but it felt like it wasn’t in the cards for me. I started to believe I didn’t have that “it” factor.
Then I made my first $25 freelance writing. I got a taste of the possibilities. And it tasted like fine wine.
Why is Any of This Important?
Not because I think freelance writing is the answer to quitting your job and riding off into the sunset.
I want to preface with that.
I think too often in the online space we share what’s worked for us without the disclaimer that everyone’s talents and dreams are different.
Doing something just because it’s working for someone else can take you away from your real calling.
Instead, I want to let you know that making money from whatever you’re good at is possible.
Now, for the story:
I met someone new randomly a while ago.
We got on the topic of my job and career history which sparked me to take a trip down memory lane.
The stranger (that I’ll likely never see again) is a recent immigrant working his butt off in three jobs to pay for college.
He still has about four more years before he’ll even graduate and he looked to be in his mid-20’s.
When I explained that I freelance/own my own business and I’m not in a career related to my major, he was flabbergasted.
He didn’t outright say it, but I got the impression he felt I was ungrateful for the degree.
He couldn’t believe I left regular jobs when other people kill for the credentials that can lead to a stable career. I felt the need to open his eyes to the fact there is money to be made outside of working for someone.
Because for one, I felt defensive.
Working solo is my choice – judgmental, much?
For two, making money on his own might save him a lot of energy. I mean three jobs? His story still has me feeling pretty, pretty, pretty guilty. (Shout out to Larry David.)
He saw the possibilities, but he had no idea where to begin and I was reminded how starting from square one feels like an uphill battle.
But it’s the same uphill battle for everyone. Remember that.
I made my first $20 outside of the 9 to 5 contributing two blog posts for a client or $10 per post.
Now, I’ve closed deals that pay over $400 per blog post.
Regardless, that $20 made me feel like a million bucks. And for a newbie, it made me realize anything is possible.
It proved I have what it takes to make money on my own. People want the skill that I possess.
I do want to make one thing clear. Self-employment isn’t for everyone.
Heck, I’m not against accepting an offer down the road if it’s a great job.
There’s nothing wrong with climbing the corporate ladder as long as you feel happy doing what you’re doing.
But, just like my new acquaintance grinding to pay tuition, multiple streams of income (i.e. side hustles) puts more money in your pocket.
If for any reason your job stops providing you good money or satisfaction it’s always nice to have cash from other sources to fall back on.
My Journey From Peanuts to Lox
I love smoked salmon aka lox, but it’s expensive.
Scraping for assignments that pay peanuts to gigs that pay smoke salmon didn’t happen overnight.
I started a blog first which was invaluable.
I consistently made efforts to build my platform and then pitched for guests posts on major sites until I had enough experience to command a higher rate.
The First Writing Assignment
For the sake of showing where I came from (and so I can laugh at myself), I dug up my first ever pitch that turned into a writing job.
If you can even call it that. The job was a paid gig as a gossip writer.
I’m a recovering celebrity gossip blog addict, so I figured writing for them would be the perfect use of my skills.
I found writing about people I don’t know feels icky inside even if it’s just for entertainment.
Here’s the first pitch I sent out…
Yes, I promise. This email is real life. Medine is my maiden name (hey dad 🙂 and Gran <3 ). My negotiating skills have improved greatly…
My original quote was $25 per post, but I bartered far lower just to get paid.
I got paid $20 for two 250 posts or essentially $20 per hour.
How Did I Get to the Next Income Level?
First, I focused on a higher paying niche and ditched dead weight clients.
Gossip reporting doesn’t pay very well – at all – unless you’re one of the big names or writing for a seriously big publication.
Plus, it wasn’t my cup of tea anyway and to really earn the big bucks it’s best to be passionate about what you do. I moved to focus where there are businesses offering legit products to customers.
These companies need content to sell their product. And companies with tangible products have a bigger marketing budget. Gossip sites typically rely on ad sales.
Bottom line: If I pitched a gossip blog a $400 idea they’d probably laugh in my face.
Since getting hip to the freelancing game and understanding how it works, I’ve been able to increase my rates and transition into writing full-time.
The moral to this story is, just start.
All you need to do is start somewhere.
Your start probably wont be as sexy as the “starts” you see on social media because that’s just for show anyway.
What you do behind the scenes (like sending gossip pitches to random sites) and then building on your experience will get you to where you want to be.
Not sure where to start?
Or just looking to get a little productive right this second? I have a mega list of 107 Productive Things to Do Instead of Spending Money to share! It includes ways to get your finances together and ways to bring in more income. Grab the PDF version of this list below!
— This post or page may contain affiliate links. Don’t worry, though. I only promote products that I’ve used or truly believe in.
Grab the productivity list
Subscribe to get the list and to get weekly Tay Talks Money Insider emails on saving and making more money... booyah!