Reflecting on My Journey: 2 Years from When It All Began!

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I think milestones and anniversaries make for the perfect time for a little reflection.

Tomorrow will be EXACTLY two years from when I started looking into freelance writing and emerging myself in the world of online business.

Two years. That’s really not that long ago!

What If I Didn’t Get Started?

Last month, I had my best month ever and grossed almost $25,000.

I grossed about $6,000 per month at my old day job. That’s more than a 400% increase in income. (Mind you my expenses are higher, but that’s by choice.)

And that seriously BLOWS MY MIND.

It’s never been all about money though – but an unlimited income potential was and still is very appealing. I like being able to work harder (or smarter) and see it reflected from an income standpoint.

How could I ever go back to a 4-5% annual raise?

Reflecting on My Journey_ 2 Years from When It All Began!Building an Online Business Is the Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done!

It hasn’t been easy.

I’ve had many a days and nights when I’ve wondered what the heck I’m doing. And if it’s all really going to work out.

I’ve been overwhelmed and unsure of what direction to travel next.

I’ve felt like a fraud and questioned if I was truly good enough and worth it.

I’ve been fired. I’ve been criticized.

And everything in between.

I basically worked two jobs for the first 6-8 months until I was able to build my business big enough to leave work behind.

I’ve worked early in the morning, evenings and weekends too. At times, my family has probably felt a little put out.

But I try to make up for it. And I’m actually with them a fair amount. I mean, I work from home…

I also am the one to get up with the kids in the morning. And come in for lunch and lay them down for their afternoon naps. We eat dinner together every night. And of course there’s our extensive bedtime routine.

I just sometimes feel guilty that since I’m the mom, I should be their primary caretaker. Totally dumb since my husband, Wade does a stellar job and loves the role. But I digress… 😉

I’d Never Be Afforded the Same Opportunities in Corporate America

Remember that whole Texas trip thing? Yeah, that NEVER would have happened at my old job.

And even though I work a bit more, it’s on my terms.

Again, I see my kids more than ever. And I’m available for school conferences during the day. Or tumbling class, which starts soon.

I’m the one choosing which new projects or clients I want to take on. And the freelancers I choose to contract with. And that rocks!

And again, there’s that whole unlimited income thing.

How You Can Do It Too!

Well, first of all you have to get started.

And then you have to keep moving forward. I’ve talked about it before, but you too should give yourself two years to build your new business.

30 days, a few months or even six months isn’t going to cut it. It takes time yo!

You’re going to have ups and downs. You’re not going to feel like you know what you’re doing. You’re going to want to read everything on the internet. Or have “the perfect website” up before launching (hint: it doesn’t exist!).

If you can, start with good enough. Get a shell of a website up. Take one course. Read one new article per day.

But don’t try to do it all.

And don’t try to be perfect.

And for gosh sakes, don’t let the excuse of a site resdesign or needing perfect samples keep you from getting started or putting yourself out there to be hired.

It’s a bunch of baloney. And it really just keeps people from taking action.

For example, I started Horkey HandBook with a good enough website. I used a free, clean theme and had a pretty horrible logo, but I didn’t let it hold me back.

I didn’t have any writing samples when I started. So I wrote some up.

And posted them on my new, good enough site.

Then over time I tried to make things better. But I didn’t pause growing my business and prospecting for new clients in the process. And you shouldn’t either.

Instead of building the perfect website, start with good enough instead. (Not sure what that looks like? Try our free website building tutorial, 7 Days or Less to Branded Website Success).

Instead of doing an entire site redesign, try improving one or two things each week. And you don’t need to pay a designer (unless you’re loaded, then go ahead). Buy a beautiful theme for $50 instead. $50 beats $5,000.

Are you looking for more ways to get paid as a freelancer? Then download this handy PDF that outlines 7 ways to make money as a freelancer. Give some a try, you never know what it might lead to! Click here to download now and start making more money.

So There You Have It

All in all, I’m more than happy that I took the leap of faith I did. That I started, built a good enough site, got some good enough samples out and prospected my butt off.

Now leads are coming to me.

And that’s weird. But also very cool.

And I hope you take my unsolicited advice to heart. Because it’s all true.

So don’t be scared. Instead take action.

Succeed big time or fail hard.

Don’t try with a half-assed approach. You’ll just be left wondering “what if?”

Why not you, why not now?

Did I light a fire under your butt or do I sound like a pompous ass? Sound off in the comments.

47 thoughts on “Reflecting on My Journey: 2 Years from When It All Began!”

  1. I love this! It was exactly what I needed to read this morning! Thanks for always being honest about the ups and downs of building your business!

  2. Totally needed this. I am in the process of getting off a freelance mill site and building my own website and brand name, and I’ve been stressing out over what my portfolio should look like and if the site theme is too bland. Thank you for the pick-me-up.

  3. You’re living the dream Gina!
    I love that you point out the real reason that motivates most of us; our families, and having the flexibility to work AND care for them.

  4. This is awesome. It’s so great to hear your advice that I should give myself two years, and that everyone feels lost sometimes. It’s also nice to know that I’m not the only person who feels like this is damn hard sometimes. Thanks for always being real. 🙂

  5. “And for gosh sakes…” lady you’re killing it (and me with that phrase)! You’re vulnerability and opennes with your journey is always a source of incouragement to me. Thanks for being a light! 🙂

  6. Love how you keep it real and inspire at the same time. I love hearing from this side of you! So easy to get overwhelmed and find yourself with analysis-paralysis. Lord, I should know. But not anymore!
    Gina, you’re officially adorable, and I’m so thankful for you and all you do to help our dreams come true! xo

    • Let me assure you, you DO GOT THIS! Just not equally every day. Some days you’ll be focused and productive and you’ll want to milk those days for all they’re worth. Other days, not so much and it’s okay to take a step back. Just know that stepping back and quitting are two completely different things. 🙂

  7. Gina: I pretty much think of you as a product producing machine! It’s nice to hear the stories about how things “actually” work. Most people don’t start with a knock out website, professional photo of themselves, mastery of SEO and time organization.

    Why is it so hard for us to get to , “Good Enough” ? Why do we keep waiting until we learn more or do it better ? It’s like never leaving the house because we don’t have the perfect outfit and shoes. But, are you really living life if you don’t go outside ?
    ~ C

    • Totally, love your comment! I suppose it’s fear and insecurity at the core. But we really do learn the most by doing, not reading. That’s why children often make the same mistakes their parents did – they have to learn from experience the consequences themselves. My best guess anyway! 😉

  8. Gina I really needed this today! I always want things to be perfect but I have to understand that there is no such thing. I never want to come off looking as though I am a fake or that I do not know what I am doing, but that is just fear talking and I need to let go of it. Thank you so much for being such an inspiration! I hope to be just as successful one day!

  9. Thanks for opening up like this, Gina. It’s cool to picture you conquering the web world then hitting pause to put your children to bed (with an unpredictable outcome as to how long that will take!). My biggest takeaway was to build my business for two years before I get my panties in a royal twist about how far behind I feel or how much I need to do to yet. So, thank you for that.

  10. Thanks for this Gina! Your honesty about the highs and lows definitely shine through. 🙂 This is what I needed to hear too because I’m constantly worried about the quality of things and let that distract me from actually pitching for jobs.

    I’m glad I found your website! It’s inspired me to take more control and leave content mills behind and I really can’t thank you enough for that!

  11. Hey Gina,
    Never thought I’d say I was glad I couldn’t sleep, but I’m glad tonight that I couldn’t because, if I slept, I might not have read your article. Boy what a loss that would have been. Of course I wouldn’t have known any different, but I do know and I’m happy to say it was/is the catalyst I needed.

    Thank you for being so real.

    • Hey Susan – sorry you couldn’t sleep – that sucks. Am glad you got a chance to read/connect with the article though. Hope it inspired you to take some sort of action. 🙂

  12. In August, I’ll be coming up to my first year of business and already I’ve come further than I ever thought I would. I’m so excited to see what the second year has in store! Thanks for always being such a huge inspiration — and you absolutely were for me!

    Maria x

  13. Oh boy do I struggle with perfectionism! It has held me back from growing my blog time and time again. I need a static homepage or I can’t promote this until I write a blog post on it or change my opt-in. You are so right, at the core they are all excuses from taking action! What you’ve accomplished in two years is amazing and astonishing! Also, I think it’s awesome Wade is so supportive, there is nothing better than a husband who is a good daddy! 🙂

  14. Love your transparency Gina. You have your priorities right and it shows. It takes sacrifice but you’ve even chosen those. Can’t wait to read the post in two more years!

  15. I sought out this post specifically because I knew that you did this from nada, and I needed reminding that it can be done. This is the year I have to make it happen, because I am moving back to Minnesota with no job lined up, or idea of what I might do with myself (other than finally buckle down and make this freelancing thing work).

    My husband and I are making a leap of faith in order to raise our kids where we want them to grow up. It’s very exciting, but daunting too. I’m ready to kick butt at this! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Hey Rachel – so glad it was uplifting for you! We’ve walked out in faith in this journey too – you can do this! And we’ll be neighbors when you’re back in MN – I have to plan a meet up for all us Minnesotans!!

  16. Thank you for your life and supportive and inspiring words. Still trying to pick up steam and be better focused. I am a step closer to what I’m trying to do and zero in on my interests.

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