Meet Karen, an entrepreneur and freelance writer

Meet Karen, a Brit who relocated to Australia and who now helps other families do the same! Check out her interview below…

1. Please introduce yourself.

I’m Karen Bleakley – Founder of Smart Steps to Australia – a migration website to help UK families move to Australia – and a freelance writer. I live in Brisbane, Australia with my husband and three kids and I’m originally from the UK.

2. When did you start working from home? What inspired the change?

In 2008, my husband and I went off travelling around the world and when we returned to the UK seven months later we found out we were expecting twins. I realised straight away that I didn’t want to go back to an office based role. I’d already been freelancing for a few years in a creative project management role, so I decided to start doing freelance writing as I had marketing and PR experience. I’d always loved writing, and I felt it would give me a new challenge that I could do entirely from home.

We moved to Australia a few years later, and being a freelancer allowed me to take my career and clients with me.

3. What different ways have you tried to earn an income working from home? What do you do now to earn money?

I do a lot of travel writing for a UK magazine, and I work for various companies writing website content and blog posts. I published a parenting book a couple of years ago that earns a nice passive income on Amazon. I also have my own website and a family blog which earn me an income through affiliate links and sponsored posts, plus I sell some of my own online products, such as the Ultimate Emigration Checklist.

I love the flexibility of working from home and earning through a lot of different channels.

4. How long did it take you to earn enough money to quit your day job?

As I came back from travelling early in the pregnancy, I did a bit of office-based freelancing for a few months for old clients before stepping back from it just before my boys were born. I was lucky to find a regular freelance writing contract with a travel website six months before having my babies, and I was able to stockpile lots of articles for them on the run up to my maternity leave, and then I went back to it a few months later. I never really had to decide when to leave leave a job – expecting two babies decided that for me!

5. How much do you earn in an average month now?

My income at the moment is very sporadic so I’m working on stabilising it. I work part-time as I now have three young kids aged 8,8 and 5. I could earn anything from a few hundred dollars a month to a few thousand dollars.

My aim is to make more of it passive income through affiliate sales/referral fees and through selling my own products. My youngest starts school in a few weeks so my goal for 2018 is to work towards a more stable income where I’m less reliant on work from other people.

6. What tips would you give yourself if you could go back in time to when you first started working at home?

Set yourself goals and review them regularly. Make your tasks goal drive and only do things that help take you a step closer to where you want to be.

7. What has been the secret to your success?

Being determined and avoiding the temptations of taking a real job to get that regular income!

8. What mistakes have you made along the way?

I’ve learnt that it’s important to set things out clearly in writing to protect both me and my client, also to ask for a deposit before starting work. I had no idea what was involved in freelancing when I started!

9. What is the best part about working from home?

Being there for my kids when they need me. If they are sick, I take the day off. If they have an award in assembly, I drop what I’m doing and go along. I get to pick them up from school every day and hang out with my daughter a few days a week when she’s not at kindy. That is priceless to me.

10. What is the worst part about working from home?

Never feeling like I’m off duty – I love what I do but running your own blog and website is a bit addictive and it’s easy to pop into the office to do something for five minutes and then still be there two hours later.

11. What advice do you have for anyone starting out?

Go for it – if you are determined you can make it happen. Decide what you want to do, and go at it 100%.

To learn more about Karen, visit her migration website Smart Steps to Australia where she helps UK families navigate their way to a dream life in Australia. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram and join her closed Facebook group.

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