I met Gina — a fellow freelance writer/biz owner — on Twitter a few months ago, and we quickly to decided to hop on a Google Hangout to get to know each other a bit better, as you do. (Oh internets, I love you.) I’d noticed Gina floating around the web when she started writing for Leaving Work Behind last year, so it was exciting for me to finally start chatting with her. Naturally I decided I wanted to interview her on my blog. And she agreed. And everything was joyous. Here’s how it went down:
What do you do?
Hey! I’m Gina Horkey, a married, millennial mama to two toddlers, living in the Midwest (Minnesota, USA to be exact).
I’m a webpreneur with a diversified freelance business. It includes freelance writing, virtual assistance work, business coaching and lately online marketing support (i.e. autoresponders, sales funnels, etc.). I also have two courses that help others break into freelance writing and virtual assistant work.
How did you get started?
Well, I was a financial advisor/support person for almost a decade before realising it wasn’t what I wanted to be ‘when I grew up’. After I finally admitted that to myself in early 2014, I started looking at other career opportunities.
I happened across Leaving Work Behind and freelance writing for the web. I’ve always loved writing, but didn’t realise non-fiction writing for the web was a viable career path.
So I started a blog and website, got an unpaid gig writing for the Huffington Post and started building my business. I took on my first paying writing client in June 2014 and my first VA client just a couple of months later. And I’m happy to say it’s continued to grow ever since!
How has your business evolved since it began?
I still get paid to write blog posts and work as a VA (I have two prominent webpreneur clients). In the writing space, I’m transitioning more to copywriting and online marketing though.
I’ve also expanded my platform and use it to teach other aspiring freelancers how to start a business through my courses and coaching. I’ve always had a diversified freelance business model and that continues to hold true today.
More specifically, I went from making $40-50 per post to getting paid closer to $400 per article. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or not, but I’m now spending more than I used to make per month reinvesting in my business (crazy, right?). I’ll always be a bootstrapper at heart though!
What was your life like before you started your own business?
Ha, that’s only partly true. Since I’m a mama to two toddlers (now two and four years old), life’s never really boring.
But I had a job that was just a job and work that didn’t really fulfil me.
What are your favourite parts of your business and lifestyle?
I love that I’m now building my business, not someone else’s. I love that I can have a million new ideas and decide to pursue what interests me and not have to worry about jumping through compliance hoops or work according to someone else’s plans or lifestyle.
I like that I determine my work schedule and make it a point to have lunch with my family most days and lay my kiddos down for their daily naps. I like that my income potential is literally unlimited.
I don’t miss setting an alarm! Or having to ask for time off work for doctor’s appointments or travel.
And the worst parts?
It’s easy for me to work too much!
I’m the breadwinner of our family, so there’s also a lot of pressure there to succeed. And since my husband is a stay-at-home dad, sometimes I feel guilty about being the one who’s working and enjoying my work. (It’s a weird mama’s guilt thing that I can’t fully explain.)
Probably the hardest part for me is the work/life balance. But I recently read something that states work/life balance is basically a myth. There isn’t work life and home life, there’s just life!
What does a day in your life look like?
I try to keep my work schedule to 8-5 every day. I take an hour lunch between 12-1, where we eat together as a family and do the whole naptime thing.
Between the hours of 8-12 and 1-5, you’ll find me taking meetings, checking email, writing, brainstorming and interacting with my private Facebook communities associated with my two courses.
Then I go home, have a glass of wine and hang out with the kiddos while my lovely husband cooks dinner. I try not to work anymore, we have our meal together and then unwind for a couple of hours before bed. We also try to plan some fun family stuff on the weekends, as well as tackle home projects.
Not too exciting still, huh?
What’s next for you?
Great question! Last week I launched my second course, 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success. I’m pretty excited about that! I’m also trying to put together a service to match small business owners or entrepreneurs with those who have taken the course and want to work as VAs.
As far as my writing business and marketing support initiatives, I’m pivoting to do more copywriting and conversion optimisation to help online businesses make more sales. It’s really fun when you can track the impact and results from your writing!
Gina Horkey is a professional writer and online business marketing consultant. She enjoys teaching others through her 30 Days or Less courses and helping other freelancers gear up to quit their day jobs and take their side hustles full-time. Please stop by Horkey HandBook and download a free copy of 8 Tips to Start Your Freelance Career off on the Right Foot!