Case Studies July 15, 2016 Meet Nicky, a Brit who was stuck in a rut working the 9-5 lifestyle so became a freelancer writer and is currently living in Istanbul. Check out her interview below…1. Please introduce yourself. Hey all, I’m Nicky and I’m originally from the UK, Sheffield to be exact, but I’m living at the moment in Turkey, travelling around and getting a rather nice suntan as a result! I’m young, free, and sort of single, with no kids, which gives me the freedom to do what I want, however I’m hoping that changes at some stage in the future, when I can arrange my home working life around a more domestic set up. 2. When did you start working from home? What inspired the change? I worked in a large hospital as a typist for 14 years and I was getting seriously stuck in a rut. Every single day was the same and I was getting sick of looking at the clock and waiting for 5pm to come around. I’ve always written stories since I was a little girl, and it’s always been something I’ve enjoyed. I came across Upwork, a freelancing site as a total accident, simply by idly searching for online shopping one night. I decided to give it a go, and I guess the rest is history! I worked both jobs for a couple of years; I was combining my income from my main job in the hospital and freelance writing in the evenings and at the weekends; I was pretty exhausted and my poor wrists were sore from typing, but I wanted to save up enough money to go travelling. I took a career break and worked as a writer for the whole seven months I was away – I enjoyed the freedom of doing something I loved so much that I quit my job three months after I returned from my career break, and I’ve been doing it ever since. It was a bit of a shock to a lot of people, but I think I had the last laugh! 3. What different ways have you tried to earn an income working from home? What do you do now to earn money? To be honest this is my first shot at it, so I guess you could say I got lucky. I work as a full time freelance writer now, and I’m pretty busy thankfully. I work six days a week on average, however I love the flexibility of it, being able to pick my working hours, and arrange my social life around it. It’s something I certainly don’t regret, and I’d urge anyone else with a talent they can make money out of to do the same. I’ve also learnt a lot from it, because a lot of my writing work is about subjects I never knew existed! Researching topics has taught me about many other subject areas, but the travel writing side of it has also given me mega itchy feet. 4. How long did it take you to earn enough money to quit your day job? Overall it probably took me around two years, however one of those years involved seven months’ unpaid leave from my typing job in the hospital. I basically had no life during that time, or very little of one, but saving up enough cash to make the change was worth it. I basically learned how to live on the breadline, which was good training for the first few weeks when I moved out to Turkey. Thankfully things are much better now, and I’d definitely say to anyone else doing this that having a safety net of savings, no matter how much, is the way forward. 5. How much do you earn in an average month now? My income has halved from my full time job previously, but I expected that because my working hours are much less too. On an average month I earn around the £500 mark, but that can sometimes be more or slightly less depending on workflow. I’m never going to be mega rich doing this job, but I love it and that’s a little more important to me. 6. What tips would you give yourself if you could go back in time to when you first started working at home? It took me a while to get the discipline to make myself work. Because I had been working in a set routine for so long I found the freedom quite intoxicating at first! If I could go back now I would give myself set working hours and days, and create a timetable from there. It took me a while to realise how to work from home effectively, without making the common mistakes of letting work pile up and having the ‘I’ll do it later’ mindset. I didn’t realise at first how much discipline was required, but I think I had to make those mistakes to learn how to make a real living from this job now. 7. What has been the secret to your success? Perseverance! If you do a creative job, you need to learn how to take knocks and rejections. I was a little too sensitive at first, but I didn’t give up, which was probably the key to getting this far. I guess you could also say learning how to have that discipline when working at home too; at the start I was on the fast track to failing, but I managed to learn time management just in the nick of time! 8. What mistakes have you made along the way? I’ve mentioned before, not organising my time properly at the start, and that’s possibly the biggest mistake I made. On top of this, not saying ‘no’ to work when I was overloaded. This just led to stress and missing deadlines at first, but I felt like if I said ‘no’, I wouldn’t be offered more work. Of course this wasn’t true, simply explaining the situation is often enough to be offered different assignments in the future. 9. What is the best part about working from home? Freedom! I love the fact that I can work my social life around my job, but to be honest, I also like the fact I can sit in bed and work in my pyjamas if the mood takes me! I probably shouldn’t admit to that, as it’s rather lazy, but it’s part of the freedom element I guess. I don’t have to commute to work either, and that saves me cash, plus I can be as antisocial as I like! There are so many advantages to working from home in my eyes, and working remotely has also meant that I have the time and freedom to see the world, as I would never have been able to see half the things I have when doing my regular 9-5 job. I love the fact that I am currently sitting answering these questions in Istanbul! 10. What is the worst part about working from home? There aren’t too many downsides, but I get so frustrated with my friends assuming that because I work for myself in this way, my job isn’t a ‘proper’ job – it pays the bills, so in my eyes that makes it a certified job, just as much as if I travelled to an office to work. On top of this, I think the discipline side of it again. I’m not going to lie, sometimes it can be hard, and I do have my days where I just think ‘no chance’, and I do something else entirely, but then I suffer the next day with twice as much work to do. 11. What advice do you have for anyone starting out? Be patient and know that at first things aren’t going to bed a bed of roses, but that over time it does build up into something much better. In terms of freelance writing, I’d also say don’t let the knocks make you stop doing what you love, learn to ride them and learn from the comments you get. I still get knockbacks now that make me think ‘ouch’, but I just shrug them off, take any comments on board, and move forwards; it’s the only thing you can do. I would also urge anyone thinking about quitting their job to start working from home to do it slowly, perhaps even phasing yourself in. My friend went from full time working in an office, to part time working whilst doing her virtual assistant job on the side, before taking the plunge and quitting her regular job and starting her at home working. Having savings is so important, because you’re certainly unlikely to go from 0-100 in terms of earning cash, especially in the job that I do; you have to work from the bottom upwards. Check out Nicky’s Upwork profile here to learn more about her writing career and to check out feedback from satisfied customers!