We’re back with another post in the Student Success Stories series. Why are we interviewing these freelancers? Glad you asked! It’s because we want to feature people who took Gina’s 30 Days or Less courses and actually got serious about working on their online business.
Every story in the series is a little bit different from the others. That’s because they’re real journeys, and everyone is on a different path.
This month we’re featuring Ariel Stephens, a writer and stay-at-home mom who is homeschooling her kids while building a career as a lifestyle content producer.
Thanks for joining us, Ariel!
Name: Ariel Stephens
Short bio: SAHM freelance writer/homeschooling mama to four kiddos and wife of one for 12 years
Location: St. Louis, MO
Date hired by first client: July 30th, 2018
Return on investment: I broke even within the first week of freelancing.
Average hours worked per week: about 10 hours (more if I choose)
Average monthly income: about $600
Services offered: SEO Lifestyle/Parenting content writer, ghostwriter, essayist
Hi, Ariel. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a stay-at-home mom to four kiddos ages four through nine. I’ve been married for 12 years, and we’ve been homeschooling for nearly five years. We have two golden retrievers who are giant babies. 🙂
Can you tell us a bit about your business?
I’m a freelance SEO lifestyle/parenting content writer. I’m currently expanding my business and trying to really define my niche. I’ve been working steadily for a company for about two months and I’m continually looking for ways to gain more experience and more clients.
Why did you decide to start an online business?
I knew that I always wanted to be a writer and I knew I could make money from home.
I didn’t finish college, and I want to be able to homeschool my kids as long as I can. Also, with no college education I was out of luck financially if something happened to my husband. I needed to bring in extra income and eventually build a business that I could fall back on if I found myself as a single parent. Morbidly thinking ahead. 🙂
I also have a child with ADHD who needs therapy, and I wanted to be able to provide financially for that.
What was holding you back from starting your business?
I just didn’t know how to begin.
Honestly, I wasn’t really that scared (maybe a little bit), but I had no idea about where to search for clients, how to build a resume, or anything. I had the drive, but no blueprint.
Gina’s course provided everything I needed to hit the ground running.
Also, I have four small children. I’m with them almost constantly, along with other activities, so finding time to devote to writing and building my business sometimes proved to be challenging.
What was the most challenging part as you got started?
Probably figuring out a schedule to fit in writing.
There are so many things to accomplish when you’re a SAHM and so many lessons to complete when you’re homeschooling your children.
I often feel a mixture of awe and fear.
Awe that I get to write for others, and fear because I’m so obsessed with making sure I get the content and ideas properly organized and fleshed out.
How did you manage to find the time to write with such a busy schedule?
I decided to write in the morning while the kiddos are still asleep, during our daily quiet time (which isn’t always so quiet!), and at night after my family goes to bed.
Most days are extremely draining, but I really want to do it, so I make it a priority.
What has been your biggest success since you’ve started?
Being able to do what I enjoy and getting paid for it! It hasn’t been easy, it’s been quite a hustle, but because I love writing and I have a strong desire to improve, I push myself to grow.
I had trouble zeroing in on a niche, because I really didn’t feel like an expert in anything, except how to change a diaper. And there are so many things I love writing about.
So deciding to hone in on being a SEO lifestyle/parenting content writer and essayist was a big part of my success. That’s when I knew where to look for work.
Having my personal blog is a success. (According to my own standards, I consider just doing it a success!)
This was my initial and still is my main goal: to start a blog and reach out to other moms and offer them hope. My readership is growing – this has been six years in the making – so seeing it come alive on the web is awesome.
My first guest blog post was also very exciting. I remember reading the email that the article would be published and telling my husband about it. He was very confused, because he didn’t know what a guest post was.
Can you tell us about your favorite client or project?
My favorite project was writing an article for a popular website geared towards mothers.
When my article was accepted, I knew that there were other people out there like me. This one single piece of content gave me confidence that I could find clients.
How are you working on growing your business currently?
I’m continuing to write for this company and pitching to several other publications every day. I beef up my Contently profile periodically with samples also.
I publish posts on my blog regularly, sharing my stories and insights, hoping to reach more moms everyday.
What are you looking forward to over the next 12 months?
Ideally, I’d like to gain more clients to build a sustainable home business and income for my family, but I also want to become a better writer. Staying on top of my craft is so important to me. I never want to stop learning and growing.
Ariel Stephens is a Mid-Western freelance writer and blogger, specializing in SEO lifestyle and parenting content writing, ghostwriting, and personal essays. She’s a wife to one, homeschooling mom to four, and lover of avocados.