Side Hustle to Full-Time: How I Became a Six-Figure Freelancer

This guy has freelancing down to a science.

Do you dream of quitting your job, walking away from Cubicle Land forever in favor of a career where you work at home, for yourself, online? I had that very dream, and I’m excited to share the journey of how I went from a traditional corporate career path to one where I make over six figures from the comfort of my own home office.

It wasn’t easy and didn’t happen overnight, but I firmly believe it is something anyone can replicate if they follow some tried-and-true principles in money and business management to build a solid foundation before taking the jump to freelance self-employment.

Click to read more about changing careers and landing your dream job.

It Starts With the First Dollar

My online business didn’t start out making thousands of dollars each month. Like every business, ranging from Apple to Zappos, it all starts with the first dollar. I didn’t start my online business thinking I would quit my job and become a six-figure freelancer. That happened over a period of years, which you can see in my monthly income reports.

I started writing about money online as a hobby with a little personal finance blog drawing on my own knowledge and experience. That blog led to new relationships and opportunities. My first income from the blog was a $10 sponsored post nearly a decade ago. From that point, it took about eight years before I was able to quit my job and go full-time. It takes years of hard work and dedication to build a successful business in most cases, and I was no different.

Build and Test Multiple Business Ideas

My personal finance blog is far from the only business idea I’ve tried. Here is a quick list of some ideas that I’ve tested out. Some led to reasonable successes, while others didn’t work out quite so well.

  • Flash mob planning company (success)
  • Reusable bag store (failure)
  • Flipping items online (small success)
  • Selling custom bracelets (small failure)
  • A group beer blog (fun, but no profit)
  • An online lending platform (TBD)

Any of these could have been a great success. Some worked out well, like my flash mob company that earned me thousands of dollars in profit over the years. But my reusable bag store … let’s just say you can’t compete with Walmart and Kroger selling something for 99 cents and win. But I wouldn’t have known that unless I tried, and I wouldn’t be here had I not taken a risk starting the business that led to my biggest success.

Focus on What Works and Repeat

When I started, I thought my personal finance blog and I would follow in the footsteps of well-known online personalities, like Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income or Robert Farrington of The College Investor. I wanted to be a big-name blogger revered by millions, but my own path to success looked a little different than my expectations.

As it turns out, I don’t get millions or even hundreds of thousands of visits to my website each month, but I am still able to make six figures by writing online. With my freelancing writing, I make more money than writing on my own blog. It’s not what I envisioned originally, but by embracing that success and working to build on what was already working, I hit $40,000 in online revenue in 2015.

If you want to build any type of business, freelance or otherwise, this is an incredibly important concept. Even if it isn’t what you expect, recognize your strengths and successes and run with them.

More on Striking Out on Your Own: How to Go From Millennial to Millionaire

The Six-Figure Freelancer Formula

Making $1 million or more in a year seemed like a crazy goal when I first wrote it down, but breaking down your goals makes them much easier to reach. Rather than focusing on making $100,000 in a year, consider a monthly goal of $8,333, or a goal of $417 every weekday (more than enough to hit $100,000 in a year). If you can find a way to do that and hold yourself accountable, you will be on track for that six-figure success before you know it.

I admit, in my case, I was able to draw on six years of education and years of experience in finance to build a profile as a freelance writer. While you may not know your way around money like I do, you likely know something better than most anyone else. Build on that knowledge while setting clear goals for your future income. If you do, six-figure success may be just around the corner.

Click through to read more about 12 people who retired young — and how they did it.