Have you ever wanted to make money writing? In this Money Moms interview, a successful freelance writer (and mother of 9!) shares her best tips for how to make money freelancing.
I am very excited to share with you my Entrepreneur Series called Money Moms. I interview successful mompreneurs from many different fields who are juggling mom life with bringing in the dolla dolla bills. These moms have diverse jobs and businesses…some of these jobs you might never even have heard of before.
Many of these jobs are online or work-from-home jobs, and these women will share how they started up and grew these flexible businesses so they could make a great income while having more time at home with their kids. They break it all down so you can learn how to make this happen for you too!
So sit back with a cup of coffee and get inspired by these incredible ladies!
If you missed it, you can read the other entrepreneur stories here:
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How to make money writing from home
Today I’m very excited to introduce you to Lisa Tanner. Lisa is a bit of a phenom – she is a homeschooling mama of nine kids, and she is a successful freelance writer and virtual assistant (VA).
She has learned lots of tips and tricks about how to make money freelancing while balancing a large and busy family life.
Let’s get to the interview!
Q: Tell us a bit about you and your journey to working online – what do you do, when did you start, how much you work, etc.
A: I’m a freelance writer, virtual assistant, and blogger. Back in 2012, daycare was eating up my entire paycheck as a teacher. So my husband and I made the decision for me to stay home with our kids. We pinched pennies and made it work on a single income for a couple of years, but our family grew and finances were really tight. By 2015 my husband was working crazy hours trying to earn more, and the kids and I never saw him. I contemplated going back to the classroom, but really didn’t want to leave the kids. So, I started searching for ways to earn money online.
I stumbled upon freelance writing, and have been making money from home every month since from my written words. Eventually I launched my blog. At first it was just for samples for my writing business, but it morphed into its own aspect of the business. Shortly after my blog launched, I started offering VA services. I experimented with a lot of different services over the years, but I’ve niched that down a bit over the years and now primarily help with scheduling, social media, and behind the scenes blog work.
How many hours a week I work has varied a lot. When I first started, it was about 20. But then life got super crazy and I purposefully cut that number in half for about a year. Now, I’m back up to working 20-25 hours a week.
Q: I understand if you don’t want to share exact numbers about your income, but IF this is something you share, we would love to hear what your average online income is per month
A: In 2019, my income averages out to just over $3000 a month.
Also if you want to make money with freelance work, check out these 15 Best freelance websites to start making extra money now.
Q: How do you balance work as a freelancer with family?
A: Balancing work with family reminds me of one of those balance scales we used to use in the classroom. Ideally, they’d be perfectly balanced. But, in reality one side is always getting a little more of me. So my job is to make sure the scale doesn’t slip too far in either direction.
Being a homeschooling mom definitely has its advantages as far as this goes. We spend all day together, even if it isn’t always doing fun things. We really try to work as a team. They are my biggest cheerleaders and take on more work around the house as my time gets poured into my business.
Having a few times of the day to purposefully stop working (and put my phone down) also help. Each day, we do a dedicated family play time. I assign my kids each a day of the week, and on their day they get to pick what we do. On their day, I also have special time with them while the other kids pair up and do sibling play time.
Putting time for fun into the schedule helps with the balance. So does recognizing that there’s value in working together. I have several tasks my kids can help with, and enjoy spending time teaching them to work.
Q: What was the hardest thing about figuring out how to make money writing online?
Once I learned about freelance writing, I was able to find gigs to pitch on job boards. But, my internal battles stopped me from applying. I was scared to put myself out there and actually hit send on a pitch.
I kept asking myself why someone would want to hire me when there were so many other writers out there with more experience. Negative self-talk and limiting mindsets really held me back for a while.
Imposter syndrome is very real, and if you let it, it will have the power to ensure you never succeed at growing a business. But, imposter syndrome is not the truth. And truth will help you be brave enough to hit send.
Q: Why do you think you have been able to make money writing where other people haven’t?
I think there are two key factors that allowed me to make money providing writing and VA services when other people haven’t:
Now, these two things sound like total opposites. And in some ways they are. But, they are both crucial when you’re trying to balance diapers and deadlines.
Let’s look at each.
Being consistent matters. You can’t grow a business if you work on it one day and then get distracted by life and don’t come back to it for a couple of days, weeks, or even months. You’ll miss deadlines and opportunities. A hit or miss business isn’t sustainable.
You must consistently take baby steps to grow. Consistency will take you so far, even if you’re only moving a tiny step at a time.
But, let’s be honest a minute. Growing a business while raising a family is hard. Crazy hard.
I’m homeschooling nine kids. And one of my children has Angelman Syndrome. He’s severely disabled and struggles with many medical problems. In the month of December, we had to take him to the ER three times.
So traditional consistency when your life is crazy is nearly impossible.
You can’t have a strict schedule where you do things at the exact same time every day when you never know what each day will hold.
That’s why flexibility is key. You’ve got to be able to rearrange your day when things come up and prioritize on the spot. My family and I hold daily “Plan of the Day” meetings with breakfast. We talk about the priorities for the day and what work each of us needs to accomplish. Then we work together to work the plan. Keeping my family in the loop has been so important. And they help hold me accountable.
If something comes up, we touch base as a family again quickly and flex as needed. We intentionally drop some lower-priority tasks to accommodate the changes.
You’ve got to be consistent to make progress with your business. But, you’ve got to be flexible to accommodate life as a busy mom. When you find a way to merge these that works for you and your family, you will have the path you need to succeed.
Q: What is your best advice for how to make money freelance writing?
Stop trying to learn all the things. You never will know it all.
Instead, pick a direction and take a step. You may discover you don’t like it there and decide to swerve. (I used to do bookkeeping for a client and I discovered I hated it!)
Don’t be afraid of failing. Just do one thing. Learn from it. And then take another step. It may be in the same direction, it may not. Either way is okay.
You will find clarity as you take action.
But, you have to do it. You will never make money if all you do is research how to make money.
Be brave. Take that first step. You can do this!
Make money writing online
I absolutely love Lisa’s mindset tips on how to make money freelancing. I definitely have to push myself at times when it comes to taking action, as opposed to just gathering more information before I start!
If you are serious about wanting to make money writing (or another home-based business), Lisa developed a fantastic course called Balancing Diapers and Deadlines that I want to share with you. If you have always wanted to start your own business but you just don’t have the time as a busy mom, this course is what you need.
Lisa will teach you time management strategies, help you create a flexible schedule that works with your family, and help you grow a home-based business. And as a reminder, this is how Lisa knows her stuff: she is a homeschooling mom of nine, and a successful freelance writer and virtual assistant! Check out the course here.
Maybe writing isn’t your thing, but you can Marie Kondo your sock drawer like the best of them. Read all about how to become a professional organizer.
Thanks Lisa for sharing your tips about how to make money writing!