Corporate America to Wepreneur: My Journey Over the Last 18 Months

These last two years have been a real whirlwind for our family. But in the best way!

My name is Gina Horkey and I’m the breadwinner for our family of four. My husband stays at home with our now two and four year olds and quit his job to do so right after our second child was born (two children under two in daycare is crazy expensive!).

I’m here to share my story of moving from a career in Corporate America to that of a full-time webpreneur (which basically means an entrepreneur with an online business). Afterall, it wasn’t that long ago that we were your typical American family…

When Falling Back in Love with Work Doesn’t Work

As a former financial advisor, I’m not one to take big risks. I wrote financial plans for others for a living and analyzed their unique situations to counsel them about the appropriate next steps for a more successful financial future.

So it wasn’t my first choice to start a new web-based business. First, I tried to fall back in love with my career at the time. I enrolled in the Certified Financial Planner program, pitched a plan to buy into the larger practice I worked as a part of and tried my hardest to psych myself up about the tremendous opportunity I had in front of me.

Only I didn’t want it.

It kind of depressed me to envision myself doing what I was doing for another 30+ years. And I didn’t know what else I could do. My family depended on me to earn a living, so it seemed impossible to change careers.

Or was it?

Gallivanting with Google

On tax day, 2014 (which is why I remember it so distinctively) I did a little Google search. I have no idea what I began searching for, but what I ended up on was a website that showcased a successful freelance writer for the web.

You mean you can get paid for writing blog posts and articles for websites?

I had no idea. See, I had always loved to write, but I thought you had to be a journalist by trade or make it big as a fiction writer in order to do it for a living. But my search proved to me that that wasn’t true.

And my career path was forever changed.

Starting a Side Hustle

Since I’m the breadwinner and my family is dependent on my bringing home a paycheck, it wasn’t possible for me to quit my job and start a business from scratch and work on it full-time.

So instead, I started my freelance business as a side hustle. I set up a website and blog, started securing writing samples and secured my first few freelance writing contracts. A couple of months in, I also took on my first virtual assistant (VA) client.

And I continued to hustle and grow my online business. I’d wake up at 4:30am to write for a couple of hours before getting ready for my day job and used Fridays (I worked a four day workweek) and weekends to get client work done. It was a bit exhausting (remember I had two very young kids), but worth it!

Giving My Boss the Pink Slip

Eventually, I had to share my plans with my office and put in my notice. I had a long transition and helped them find a replacement for the support side of my work, as well as trained her in before I left.

We had a great relationship and they also purchased my small practice, which helped ease the transition financially for the next several months. I also contracted with them for a few hours a week during the months that followed my resignation.

3 Lessons Learned from My Journey

1. Starting a Side Hustle Is the Right Way to Test Viability

I’m so glad that I was forced to start my freelance business on the side of my full-time job. Sure it was exhausting, overwhelming and a bit much at times, but it made me focus on what was important and that usually meant money-making activities.

2. Maintaining Previous Work Relationships Is Beneficial

I’m also happy that I handled things the way I did at work. I made sure it was a viable option before bringing it up, but by sharing my plans, I was able to strike a deal that was a win/win for us both.

We both had a long timeline to plan for the change, I offered to help interview and train my replacement and I also was able to supplement my income by contracting with them for a few months after I left. And we’re still very supportive of each other’s businesses.

3. Shoot for the Moon, You Just Might Hit the Stars

With this new business, I allowed myself to dream big. I set audacious goals and went after them full steam ahead.

I figured that even if I missed the mark, I’d be much further along than if I played it safe. And that strategy has worked out really well for me.

In Conclusion

People love to read success stories of real people. I hope that I’ve inspired you by sharing how and why I left my job in personal finance at the end of last year after building up my freelance writing business into a sustainable career, which supports my family.

If you’re not in love with your corporate career, there are other options. Consider starting something new on the side of your full-time job, maintaining a good relationship with your office and allowing yourself to dream big.

Why not you, why not now?

Bio: Gina Horkey is a professional writer and online business marketing consultant. She has a decade of experience in the financial services industry and enjoys helping other freelancers gear up to quit their day jobs and take their side hustles full-time. She also shares what she’s learned while building her online business through her 30 Days or Less courses. On a personal note, she self-identifies as a married, millennial mama to two precocious toddlers (and is thankful her husband has the patience of a saint as he stays at home with their children).

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