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Amber Daugherty, United States
(415) 964-0559 andaugherty@scratchthatws.com
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The Freelance Writers Behind Horkey Handbook & Making Sense of Cents

July 21, 2017

Disclosure: There are affiliate links used in this post as a way to promote products I have successfully used and love.


With an excessive amount of information to be found online, it's easy to find yourself sitting for hours looking at content – whether it's reputable or not.


The amount of free information you can learn from online is amazing, but it’s important to be sure you are finding reliable resources and businesses.


From Google to Pinterest (a gold mine for business owners... hello, free marketing!), it’s easy to see which businesses and websites are reputable. The things that quickly catch our eye are engaging visuals, consistent social media presence and content readability, as well as testimonials.


Finding someone in your field (paving the way for successors) whom you can look to for guidance and influence is especially important when transitioning from a different career.


I have definitely found my fair share, and limiting it to a few wasn’t really that hard.


There are two women whose websites and online presence have stood out to me more than others. These women and their blogs, websites, and courses have helped me the most when dealing with self-doubt, confusion, and what move to make next.


On their sites, you can find high-quality content relating to freelance work and making your online business boom.


It has been inspiring and even a bit defeating at times to see what amazing businesses these ladies have developed. I often thought (and still occasionally think), Will I ever get there?


"No great thing is achieved suddenly... "   – Epictetus


Here are the women who are rocking the freelance writing world and redefining what full-time work means (and looks like!). They both kindly agreed to answering a few questions. First up is Gina Horkey from Horkey Handbook, and following her is Michelle Schroeder-Gardner from Making Sense of Cents.


Gina Horkey, Horkey HandBook



Gina is a shrewd online business owner and financial wiz. She is working hard to make a million dollars this year!


In just a few short years she has gone from working a 9-to-5 job to being her own boss – and helping others achieve their goals along the way!


I took Gina’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success course in order to figure out where to begin with my freelance writing business. In her course, I learned the legality of owning an online business, a lot about organizing your business using Google and Excel, and where to look for jobs online.


I still go back to refresh my memory on some of her tips and tricks, and I read her newsletter weekly.


Below is my Q/A with Gina. Check out her website to learn more!


Aside from monetary value, what aspect of your business would you say brings the most joy to your day, week, or year?


Gina: Meeting new people and hearing their stories, dreams and goals is really rewarding. I've made so many amazing friends from this journey and have been blessed to meet many of them in person and have plans to meet many more in real life over the coming months!


You inspired me to launch my online business, how does it make you feel to know that you are changing/inspiring people's lives?


Gina: I'm grateful. My gifts lie in teaching, encouraging others and executing. If I can use my gifts of teaching and encouragement to inspire others (even a little bit) to go after their dreams and live their best lives, I'm thrilled!


What would you say was the hardest part of starting your business? Think back to those early months, where I am now.


Gina: Constantly being connected is a struggle at times. That and the negativity that can sometimes be found online – it really is true that one negative comment can wipe out 100 compliments! There's probably more now though – early on my biggest challenge was probably self-doubt (Am I good enough?). Turns out, I am! But I wouldn't have known if I let myself quit all of those times I wanted to!


"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."  –Winston Churchill



Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, Making Sense of Cents


I came across Michelle's blog on Pinterest. She has a great website with lots of tips on how to make and save money. I was drawn to her commitment to living a life free of debt.


Michelle posts an income report on her blog for transparency and to show others the endless income potential with freelance work (she makes over a hundred grand each month)!


Seeing that Michelle was able to set a goal to pay off her student loan debt, and come out of it quitting her full-time job and owning her own business was so encouraging. At first, I didn't know just how inspirational she would come to be. She's not even 30 years old yet and seems to have the good life figured out! She travels all the time, while working full time (her Instagram is what dreams are made of) – does it get much better than that?!


Here is my Q/A with Michelle:


How do you balance your love of traveling with work? Work for a few hours, then play for a few hours? 


Michelle: I try to work ahead as much as I can. Currently, I'm around 2 months ahead with content on Making Sense of Cents, so that allows me to explore new places without the stress of having to write something at the last moment.


I also make sure to explore every single day, which is easy because we have dogs and they need to get out of the RV often. So, we go on hikes or long walks with them every single day.


I am actually hoping to pay off some major student loan debt in the next few years, and while I can't go back to encourage my younger self to be more responsible and limiting with the amount of money I borrowed, is there any one profound thing you feel young adults should know before borrowing money for education? Some of us really had no clue what we were getting ourselves into! 


Michelle: Many young adults take out student loan debt, and too much of it, because they think it's a normal thing to do. Graduate from high school, go to college, take out student loans to pay for college, and then hopefully you'll get a job that allows you to pay off your student loans.


However, life isn't that easy. You shouldn't just take out student loans and maximize the amount that you take out just because you can. You'll have to pay back your student loans eventually, and those monthly payments, once they start rolling in, can be extremely stressful and probably much higher than the average 18 year old thinks they will be.


Due to that, I recommend exploring other avenues of paying for college as much as you can. This may mean applying for financial aid, working more hours at your job, applying for scholarships, and so on.


Some people believe that luck is a major factor in having a successful online business or blog; I believe it's hard work, connecting with readers and the ability to tap into a certain market. What would you attribute the most to your success? 


Michelle: It's definitely hard work! Blogging is not easy, which I bring up all the time on my blog yet some people still don't believe me. I had to work long hours to get to where I am currently at, and that was on top of me working full-time as a financial analyst. Blogging requires a lot of work and a lot of learning.


Finally, you are so young and had your finances figured out a lot earlier than most of us! Other than your education, what influences (if any) have you had in your life that encouraged such a shrewd outlook on finances and business? 


Michelle: I had to grow up young, and that helped me to better manage my money at a younger age. My father passed away when I was 18 and I have been on my own since then, which forces a person to learn how to manage their finances because there is no one to fall back on.


In Conclusion


Both Gina and Michelle are working hard to motivate others while following their own dreams. It was such a pleasure to hear from both of them, and I can't thank them enough for taking the the time to share their expertise.


Have you ever wanted to quit your job and look for something at home or online? What resources do you use when exploring making your pipe dreams a reality? Leave a comment below!


For help getting started on your online business, check out my post on how to start a freelance writing business from scratch.




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