Meet Emma, a freelance writer and blogger at kiwimoneymum.co.nz who quit her corporate job to become her own boss. Check out her interview below…
1. Please introduce yourself.
My name is Emma. I am from Christchurch, New Zealand which is also where I’m currently based after many years as an expat. I’m married to an Irishman and we have 2 little boys.
2. When did you start working from home? What inspired the change?
I started working from home purely as a fluke. I was in a management position in a big corporate office in Sydney when I had my first child and continued to work from home after he was born.
It wasn’t so much an inspired change as a very fortunate one. I’d always dreamed of having that flexibility, and thankfully, my employers trusted me to continue to deliver good work away from the office. I eventually resigned from the position as we wanted to travel so we would be out of the country for a long period and I felt it was the right decision. I left on very good terms with relationships in tact.
3. What different ways have you tried to earn an income working from home? What do you do now to earn money?
I’ve tried lots of things. The most fruitful in the early stages was offering myself as a remote marketing consultant to my former employers and their clients. In fact, I still work for some of them now when projects pop up. However these days I earn more from blogging and freelance writing than consulting, which is fine as I’m my own boss.
4. How long did it take you to earn enough money to quit your day job?
I took a bit of a plunge and resigned from my corporate job before I was making anywhere near enough to support myself. I’m quite frugal and my husband and I started living on his income and saving all of mine a few years before our first child came along, so taking the leap wasn’t so scary. Having money in the bank makes everything easier.
It’s taken a few years but I’m finally on track to make a full time income from my online ventures this year.
5. How much do you earn in an average month now?
Between $2000-$3000 per month and growing. It works out as a low hourly rate considering how many hours I put into my work each day but since I love what I do and work when I want, it feels like enough.
6. What tips would you give yourself if you could go back in time to when you first started working at home?
Focus on one project at a time! I have shiny object syndrome and want to pursue every idea that comes into head. Now I know that I only have so much bandwidth so even if I have a good idea I really examine whether I have the resources to execute properly.
7. What has been the secret to your success?
Perseverance! I just cannot fail at this. I’ve spent too much time and money trying to succeed and if I quit, I’ll never forgive myself.
8. What mistakes have you made along the way?
Trusting someone without seeing their results. I took a lot of training from a ‘mentor’ who wasn’t really walking the talk. It only became apparent after a couple of years of bad advice. I then sought out new training and advice and things have dramatically turned around.
9. What is the best part about working from home?
Not working from home! Ha. I love working from anywhere I want. Cafe, coworking space, holiday house. Sometimes I like to work at home for the quiet but other times I get to be anywhere I want. If I am out and see a new cafe that I want to try, I take my laptop along and work there for a few hours. The changing surroundings suit my personality.
10. What is the worst part about working from home?
For me it’s the isolation. I loved working in an office and having chats with people all day long. Now it’s just me and my laptop I do go a wee bit nuts. For that reason I try to work from a coworking space or cafe as much as possible. Sometimes being around other people is motivating but I love that I have the flexibility to choose where I work, so I can have a quiet workday at home if I need to write a lot.
11. What advice do you have for anyone starting out?
Don’t discount the opportunities your regular job could provide when it comes to your work from home life. I hear of so many people who hate their job and really want to quit so they can start to work from home and I think that’s the wrong attitude.
Go to work everyday with the aim of making yourself indispensable so your boss can’t turn down your request for flexible work hours. If that won’t work, establish relationships with key decision makers and keep in contact with them. This exact strategy landed me a 20hr/week remote contract for a former employer. The contract lasted for four months while I was traveling in Mexico. I was paid in AUD which more than covered a luxury lifestyle in Mexico. Living the dream!
There are loads of ways to create a framework for your work from home life while still in a regular job. Think of each day as an opportunity to grow your network and nurture future opportunities.