How I Quit My Day Job to be a Work from Home Freelance Writer after only 6 Months

Since I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how I was recently able to quit my day job and work from home, I thought I’d go ahead and write a blog post on the subject. My hope is that it inspires you to take action toward living the life you’ve always wanted!

First, a little about me…

I’ve been finding ways to make money working from home for about 15 years. As a single mom, money seems to always be a little tight to say the least! I could take up a whole page telling you all the things I actually tried, but just a few of my ventures were crafting, cooking, online selling, direct sales, eBay and Amazon.

I was able to make a decent income from most of my work from home ventures. In fact, I could’ve pretty easily turned my eBay business into a full time work from home job if I’d been willing to spend more time on it. I still sell on eBay some and bring in a great supplemental income when I need to, but it just doesn’t offer the freedom I have with what I do now.

The Side Hustle that Finally Paid Off

So what is it I do now?

Glad you asked!

In November of last year, I landed my first paid freelance writing gig. It was an exciting moment. I made a whopping $40, but you would’ve thought it was $4,000. I was ecstatic! I couldn’t believe someone would actually pay me to put the words on a page that were in my mind. I had produced something from nothing, and they paid me! To this day, I think of it as the day that changed my life.

But how did I get there?

Work From Home – Small Beginnings

About 4 months prior to that first writing job, I had built my website, but I was blogging about Christian living. I really had no direction or purpose except that I knew God had led me to start writing again.

But my prayer for so many years had been to have my own business and have the freedom to work from home, and I knew somehow this was opening the door for that to happen.

Because I had been reading everything I could get my hands on about freelance writing, I knew there were jobs out there and hoped that maybe this was the answer. I had read on several sites that guest posting was a great way to get your name out there, so that’s what I started doing. I was thrilled when I got my first guest post on Money Saving Mom. What a great place to start!

How I Learned the Ropes

After a few guest posts, I knew it was time to buckle down and figure out how to market myself as a freelance writer for hire. I had the basics down, but still lacked the direction I needed to make a work from home career out of this. I took a couple of free courses, and finally booked a few sessions with a freelance writing coach.

I think the biggest factor for me was knowing that if I landed a writing gig, she was available to answer any questions I might have and help me through those first assignments.

Would I be where I am today if I hadn’t reached out for help?

Honestly, I probably would have gotten here, but not nearly as quickly.

My First Writing Jobs

The first time I received an assignment, it was my coach herself who took a chance on me. After that, I pitched a few job ads on Problogger and ended up landing a gig writing descriptions for a photographer. It was a small job that didn’t last long, but it helped boost my confidence a little more.

I had a hard time pitching in the beginning. What if my writing wasn’t good enough? What if I got scammed? What if I got fired?

It was all just fear trying to keep me from pushing forward. But somehow, I powered through.

Doing it Afraid

I would never tell you it was easy. It wasn’t. And some days, it was downright impossible. In the beginning, I had emotions I never expected to have – anxiety, self-doubt, depression…you name it. Some days these emotions wrecked me and kept me from writing anything at all.

Fighting through those emotions was hard, but I did it by feeling the fear and doing it anyway (or something cliché like that). I can’t say I never have negative emotions now, but after a couple of months, writing became more routine and caused me a lot less stress.

Pitching My Butt Off

The thing that got my career off the ground was a pitch contest I entered in a Facebook group. I wanted to win, so I was looking for writing gigs everywhere. I think I sent between 30 and 40 pitches within a couple of weeks and ended up with 4 long-term clients that I still write for today.

At that time, I pitched for any and every job I felt remotely qualified for and it really paid off. At first, I didn’t enjoy some of the topics I was writing about, but after a few months, I was able to write them so quickly, I didn’t mind pumping out articles on boxing, lighting, junk removal and real estate. It’s become second nature!

I learned from that experience that finding work is really just a numbers game. The more you pitch, the more you land.

Getting Referrals

The next growth stage of my work from home business was when I got a referral from a current client. He said some of his business partners liked my writing and wanted to hire me to ghost blog on their website. I had just decided to raise my rates, so I gave him my new rate, totally prepared to be turned down. But to my surprise, they didn’t balk at the rate at all, and I gained another great client who is super to work with!

I have since received several other referrals, which is the key to sustainability of any business.

My Decision to Quit My Day Job

My business was growing quickly at this point and my freelance writing income was pretty close to what I was bringing home from the 9-5. But I knew in order to completely give up that job, I would have to double what I was making to account for things like insurance and taxes.

Every time I got a new assignment or client, I would get out my calculator (or iPhone) and add up what I would be making for the next month.

One morning I received an email from a current client asking me if I could do more work for her. I told her I’d be happy to. She’s a great client in a niche I’m very familiar and comfortable with, so I had no problem adding on some assignments. But to my surprise, the amount of work she gave me would add up to about $1,500 per month or more. I had never made this month from a single client!

I can’t tell you how excited I was! I probably danced around my living room a little bit. I can’t be sure. 😉

After a lot of prayer and careful consideration, I decided to go ahead and turn in my notice at my day job. To be honest, I wasn’t 100% ready. My plan was always to have more in savings first because you never know when you’ll lose a client or someone will decide they need less work (both of those happen). But the truth is, I knew if I didn’t immerse myself fully into my own work from home business, I would always consider it a side hustle.

So I took the leap.

It was scary. It was hard. And as happy as I was to pursue my dream, it was honestly a little sad. But for me, endings are always a little sad.

That’s it. That’s my story.

What’s yours?

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21 thoughts on “How I Quit My Day Job to be a Work from Home Freelance Writer after only 6 Months

  1. Cheri,

    What an empowering and inspirational story you share.

    I’m a amazed by your determination and so happy for your success. You really nailed it on the head that in the beginning it is a numbers game. But after that, referrals is and inbound inquiries is what will sustain you as a full-time writer.

    And after that? eCourse? 🙂 The sky is the limit now. Congratulations.

  2. Hi Elna!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

    I agree. My biggest clients right now are from referrals and inbound requests.

    Thanks for all your great advice and encouragement!

  3. Wow!

    It is scary to take the leap! But that’s awesome! I know freelancing gets me down sometimes because I read about people who land high paying clients like its nothing. And then I start wondering what I’m lacking.

    But your post shows that if you put some effort into it, and just not give up, you can land enough clients!

    I’m so happy for you Cheri!

    • Hi Raymonda!

      You are right…it is VERY scary! I know I wrestled with the decision quite a bit before taking the leap!

      You are also right about persevering. I think the key is finding the clients who are looking for the style that is uniquely yours. 🙂

    • Hi Veronica!

      I’m glad you liked it! Yes ma’am…with a little perseverance and hard work, it can be done. Just find your niche and keep pitching!

  4. Thank you for such an honest and inspiring post. You’re doing exactly what I aim to do someday, and after reading your post I’m now even more determined to make it happen. Congrats on your success!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Dottie! I’m so glad you found inspiration in my story. Determination is about 90% of what it takes. You got this!

  5. Cheri, you’ll have to thank Elna Cain for my visit here…

    Nice to meet you!

    As you can see, because you persevered, it paid off!

    Congratulations from one freelancer to another! 🙂

  6. Hi Cheri! Dan finished his Masters and is ready to get started. Thanks for all your advice! Hope to see you again soon!

  7. Thanks for sharing your story. Great that you havet managed to do the things you want 🙂

    I have had a small dream to be a freelancer, but don’t know where to begin.

  8. Powerful story! I was worried about pitching for writing content I had not the slightest of interest to write about, but so many successful writers swear by it, so I may apply for that real estate job writing job.
    But how do you pitch to a job in which you know nothing about?

  9. Congratulations on your decision! I’m confident taking the leap of faith will pay off for you! Looking forward to following along on your journey here! 🙂