A few months before I graduated with my MBA, I was searching for my first “real” job. I was living in Chicago at the time and open to moving just about anywhere for the right position.
After sitting in a Starbucks for days and applying to hundreds of jobs, I finally got one response.
The response was from a digital marketing agency in Chicago that specialized in helping car dealerships build their online presence. Since they didn’t have any openings for a full-time job, they asked me if I wanted to write automotive content for them on a freelance basis.
Follow Ladders’ magazines on Flipboard covering Happiness, Productivity, Job Satisfaction, Neuroscience, and more!
At first, I was a bit frustrated. I spent so much time applying to jobs and the first bite I received wasn’t even for a full-time gig. After doing some more research on the company, I decided that I’d give this freelance thing a shot while I continued my search for a full-time job. I liked cars and writing, so I figured I had nothing to lose.
A few days after I accepted the freelance gig at the automotive marketing agency, they sent me my first assignment. It was a 350-word article on the 2013 lineup of Mercedes-Benz SUVs. The pay was only $15 but at the time I didn’t think that was bad because I finished it in less than an hour while sitting on my couch in my pajamas.
I continued to write these automotive articles for $15 a pop until I landed my first full-time job as a link builder at a large marketing company in Charlotte, North Carolina. After a few months at my full-time job in Charlotte, I decided that I’d love some extra money and began writing the automotive articles again. It was a nice little side gig that allowed me to pay for a few luxuries that my meager entry-level salary simply didn’t allow for.
Eventually, I moved back home to Cleveland and found a new full-time job at an insurance company. I continued to freelance write on the side but wanted to diversify my portfolio so I began to search for new clients. After landing three new clients, I was able to significantly increase my writing income and write about more than just cars. I was writing about dental procedures, home improvement projects, moving solutions, and a plethora of other random topics.
I loved making extra money on the side in the comfort of my own home and continued to do so for the next four years. I was landing new clients on a regular basis and eventually got to the point where I was earning more from freelancing than I was working full-time for someone else.
Since I was writing before work, after work, and on the weekends, I started to get very overwhelmed. I basically had two full-time jobs and my husband convinced me that I had to pick one. After about eight months of a full-time job and writing like crazy on the side, I quit my full-time job and became a full-time freelancer.
October 1, 2018 was my last day working a full-time job and I can honestly say that quitting was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve been able to significantly scale my writing income and enjoy a higher quality of life. I am now in control of my own schedule and income and love working from home. While I don’t get a steady paycheck, health insurance, a 401(k) match, or paid time off, the pros of self-employment outweigh the cons for me.
If someone would have told me that the $15 automotive articles I was writing back in 2013 would put me on the path toward becoming self-employed, I would have laughed and called them crazy. I am forever grateful that the automotive marketing agency got back to me and introduced me to the world of freelance writing because my life has been changed for the better.
This article first appeared on Business Insider.
You might also enjoy…