What it Took to Quit My Job and Work for Myself in 6 Months

This post is part of a series by Cat from Budget Blonde, who’s documenting her journey to quit her job and become a self-employed freelancer in 6 months.

I finally did it! The mission to become a self-employed freelancer in 6 months has been accomplished!

I feel a lot of emotions as I sit here and write this post. I’m excited. I’m proud. I’m nervous, and I’m a little scared.

After all, it’s been a long six months since I first started telling all of you about my goal of becoming a full-time blogger by January 1, 2014.

It’s hard to believe all of the changes and surprises that have happened in my life in the last six months. How many times I questioned myself.

And of course the biggest surprise of all (getting pregnant with twins) which made me wonder if any of this was really going to work at all.

I definitely still have my doubts and fears, but I crossed the biggest hurdle. I don’t work for anyone anymore.

There are no more steady paychecks coming in. There are no more co-workers (unless you count my virtual friends). And, there are no more meetings or rules or bosses.

It’s just me. And it’s pretty surreal.

Of course, becoming my own boss and primary breadwinner for my family with two little ones on the way didn’t just happen. It took a lot of mental and physical strength to have the courage to step out of my comfort zone and realize I could do this after all.

Here is a summary of the last six months:

I Had to Get Over the Idea of a Wasted Degree

I didn’t realize how much of this journey would be purely mental. I had a really hard time giving up the idea of a traditional career.

After all, I spent a huge chunk of my life studying a very specific thing.

For six years, I lived and breathed 19th century U.S. history. I had my life planned out. I had tons of colleagues and friends in my field. I enjoyed my work and for a long time, and I felt like I was really utilizing my degrees.

Then, for the last two years, I used all my education to teach others. I was the course director for a senior level college writing class. My job was really rewarding, paid well and I felt like I made a difference.

Still, when I went home at night to work on my blog and grow my freelance client base, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I really liked blogging too. In fact, sometimes it was really nice to sit there and push myself to write another post.

It was challenging, but kind of freeing to be rid of the responsibilities I had at my day job if only for a little while.

For a long time, it was a tug of war. Did I want to keep working at a university, teaching smart college students and really making something of myself?

Or, did I want to basically forget about all my graduate school work and formal academic conferences and publications etc. and simply live the peaceful life of a blogger?

These are questions that didn’t have easy answers, and although I’ve made my choice for now, I still struggle with feeling “legitimate” or feeling as though others view me as a professional.

I Learned to Give, Get Organized and Connect

I spent a lot of the last six months working closely with other bloggers. I tell people all the time how bloggers are among the most generous people in the world.

I asked constant questions and advice of my fellow bloggers, and I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am today without their help. Dozens and dozens of bloggers I admire gave me advice, contacts, and tips over the past few months which helped me get to where I am now.

I was amazed at how even some of the biggest bloggers out there were willing to give freely of their time. The more they gave me, the more I wanted to give others.

So, I shared information freely about my income streams. I still don’t say exactly how much I make, but I do often write posts about how I make it. I answer e-mails from readers all the time, helping them to become freelance writers and explaining the process of how I do things.

A lot of people might ask why I’d help others become freelance writers in my niche. Wouldn’t it be bad for business and breed competition? However, I think it’s the total opposite. The Internet is a big place, and I think there’s room for anyone who has the talent and work ethic to give it a shot.

I personally can’t write for every finance blog in the world, so why not help someone else who has a unique voice and good stories be able to share their work?

This has been the biggest lesson of the last six months: The more you generously (and genuinely) give, the more you get. Blogging and freelance writing isn’t as solo of a career as you would think.

About 70% of my success is due to the support and help from others, and 30% is simply me sitting down to write and get the job done.

I’ve also spent a lot of time getting organized, figuring out how to keep track of the posts I have due and finding a way to stay on track.

It’s not easy juggling so many clients and my responsibilities for my own blog, but getting organized was a huge help in ensuring I was ready to take my blogging career to the next level.

I Focused on a Plan For the Future

The most pressing plan I have for the future is to get my business ready for April, when my twins are expected to arrive. Time has gone by at lightning speed, and I can’t believe I’m going to be a parent in just a few short months (depending on when the twins decide to grace us with their presence.)

I’m working a lot on communicating with the bloggers I currently work with, trying to get posts written ahead of time, and also trying to remain calm.

One of my biggest fears this whole pregnancy, aside from the health of my kiddos, was concern that my business would fail when my kids arrived. I’ve realized, though, even if I have a dip in income, I can build this exact same business back up again.

So, my goal for 2014 isn’t really to expand my business or to try to take over the world. My goal is simply make the business survive a very intense point in my life and not beat myself up if my income dips or something goes wrong.

What’s most important this year really is the birth of my babies, not whether or not my blog has a high affiliate or advertising income in a particular month.

Still, I will be working hard over the next 2-3 months to ensure it has a fighting chance. After all, it’s been a long road, and I want to take good care of the reputation and business I’ve built.

Overall, I’m excited for this new journey and am looking forward to all of the fun and freedom that comes with working for myself.

Thanks for following along through all the various highs-and-lows over the past few months as I got ready to take a leap of faith.

If you want to read other posts in my series on becoming a full time blogger, you can see them all right here.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment or connect with me on Twitter!

About the author: Catherine Alford is a freelance writer who currently lives in New Jersey with her husband, twins, and spoiled pup, Julep. She received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. When she is not writing for other websites on all topics frugal and fabulous, she enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog, www.BudgetBlonde.com.

11 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own

  • Debt Busting Chick January 11, 2014, 10:44 am

    Congratulations on achieving your goal. You seem very focused and your future looks bright. Congrats also on your pregnancy, all the best!

    • Cat Alford/ Budget Blonde January 11, 2014, 10:57 am

      Thank you so much!! :)

  • Michelle January 12, 2014, 10:26 pm

    I really needed to read this post! Cat, you’re going to be an amazing mother AND entrepreneur. Btw, I may have some questions for you :)

    • Cat Alford/ Budget Blonde January 26, 2014, 11:20 pm

      You know me – Ask me anything anytime. :D Thanks for the sweet words!

  • Sarah Li Cain January 14, 2014, 6:48 am

    I am so excited for you! Not to jinx anything, but you and I are on similar life paths. I am living vicariously through you right now ahah!

    • Cat Alford/ Budget Blonde January 26, 2014, 11:19 pm

      You will be joining me in no time Sarah!!!

  • Marc Sandor Woolf January 17, 2014, 11:42 am

    My sincere congrats on reaching your goal – it’s not everyone who can look in life’s full-length mirror and have the courage to pursue their passion. Great point about connecting, asking for help and giving back. Creating community, providing real value and living life on your terms is what it’s all about, isn’t it?

    Best of luck with your babies :-)

    • Cat Alford/ Budget Blonde January 26, 2014, 11:19 pm

      Thanks so much for the kind words Marc!

  • Andrew080 January 27, 2014, 12:46 am

    Awesome Catherine!!! Thanks for the inspiration. Success is deserving of those who give beyond themselves. Well done!!

    • Cat Alford/ Budget Blonde January 28, 2014, 9:29 pm

      Thank you Andrew! :)

  • Sarah April 15, 2014, 12:41 pm

    Hello — I’m curious to know if your husband is working also? I am trying to determine how feasible it is to get pregnant when you are the sole breadwinner working freelance? It’s as though you have to have a whole year’s savings in place to live on just in case the unexpected happens… Working freelance, one does not have the luxury of maternity leave and medical insurance…

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