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Today, I had the privilege to come 1-on-1 and interview a great persona and one of the most inspiring self-made entrepreneurs, none other than Gina Horkey.
She’s the brain behind Horkey Handbook, a blog that helps people like you and me start a profitable online business.
She started as a freelance writer back in May 2014 and within six months she was earning $4,000/month from it.
Soon after, she quit her 9-5 job and took freelance writing full-time to earn a living out of it.
In this interview, Gina Horkey spills some beans on making money as a freelance writer and what exactly she did to get to where she is today.
Table of Contents
Interview With Gina Horkey From Horkey Handbook
1. Hi Gina, please tell us a little bit more about your blog Horkey HandBook
Hey Adnan! I started Horkey HandBook as a place to showcase my writing samples in May of 2014 as I launched my own freelance writing business.
It’s evolved quite a bit from there and is now the go-to resource for people that are looking to find qualified VA/writing help and those looking to break into offering services like writing and other virtual assistant services online.
2. How did you get started as a freelance writer? Can you walk us through a mini step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today? What was your first move? What did you do next?
I had worked for almost a decade in personal finance and found that I was no longer passionate about it.
I happened to come across freelance writing for the web and decided it could be fun to try.
So I started my biz on the side of my full-time job in finance and started waking up hella early to work before nursing my then baby, getting ready for the day and heading into my 9-5.
I was able to land my first few clients pretty quickly and turned a profit within the first month.
It grew from there and I ended up adding additional service offerings to the mix over time.
Writing has always been a passion of mine and even though I don’t have a journalism degree, it turns out it’s also something I’m quite good at.
While I don’t write for clients very often anymore, I do a ton of writing in my own business (think sales pages, website copy, sales funnels, etc.) and continue to practice this skill daily.
3. What was your life like before starting as a freelance writer and how has it helped you?
As I mentioned, I was in an unfulfilling career and wanted a change DESPERATELY!
Starting my freelance biz on the side limited my risk and allowed me to save some money for when I decided to quit my job and go out on my own FT.
My husband was (and still is!) a stay-at-home dad at the time, so I needed to ensure the business was viable before putting in my notice.
Life is pretty sweet for the most part now – I get to choose when I work, where I work and whom I work with!
4. If you can recall, how long did it take you to land your first client? And how did you get hold of it?
I landed my first two clients within a month of launching my biz/website. I found one through a Facebook group and the other through a job board listing.
5. If you were to start all over again, where would you go about finding clients?
I would do the same thing I did, which is try ALLLL of the things.
Long-term I would focus on investing in/growing relationships and becoming the go-to person for their online writing needs.
6. How much can a newbie expect to earn in their first 6 months? (Given that they’ve put their 100% into it)
That’s a tough question – it really depends on your natural writing chops (everyone gets better with time!), the writing niche(s) that you select and where you source clients from.
Check out this list of 200+ freelance writing niches
I’ve been paid as little as $7.50 a pop for writing 150 word WordPress theme descriptions and as much as $1,000 for a single 1,000-word article in the financial services niche.
Many writers go on to earn six-figures within a year or three. Anything is possible!
7. What are some necessary skills one should have to become a freelance writer?
As mentioned previously, you’ll hone your writing skills with practice over time, but having a passion for writing (and learning!) and an affinity to “do what it takes” to build a new freelance biz from scratch is essential.
One should also be communicative, reliable, able to meet deadlines on time and take feedback well.
8. What are your thoughts on starting a blog as a freelance writer? Does it help?
I’m all for it! It’s a great place to showcase early writing samples like I did and if you treat yourself like a client, it can be a great learning experience as well.
Building out your own WordPress site is ideal because you can get familiar with the backend – clients will appreciate this skill and may even have you write posts/sales page copy into their backend directly.
In addition to learning new tech skills, maintaining a blog helps you to develop consistency, write even when you “don’t feel like it” and establish good business practices overall.
9. On a scale of 1-10, how hard do you think freelance writing is?
Maybe a 5?
Again, if you’re naturally a strong communicator, have the grammar basics down (and are willing to decipher various style guides – each client tends to have their own!) and put in the work necessary to hold yourself out there for hire, land and work with clients, then you’ll be a good candidate.
Pro Tip: Use Grammarly to check your writing for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.
10. Tell us about your spectacular course “30 days or less to Freelance Writing Success” and how it can change lives of people wanting to become a freelance writer.
Sure! 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success was my first online course, originally published in December 2014.
We continuously update the material (and are currently in the middle of this process), to bring the most relevant strategies to our students (they get access to the enhancements for free!) when launching their own freelance writing biz.
It’s self-paced and you’ll learn step-by-step (with plenty of assignments!) how to break into this niche and start offering various types of freelance writing services, including what topics to write about, how much to charge, where to find clients and how to pitch them effectively.
11. Could you give me 3 UNDENIABLE reasons why people should grab your course?
- It’s based on my personal experience, which has successfully been reproduced by thousands of students.
- It’s extremely affordable – it shouldn’t take landing more than a client or three to turn a profit.
- Regardless if you decide to offer freelance writing services, you’ll learn SO MUCH about online business, which you can repurpose in a multitude of ways!
12. Lastly, if I walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a couple of minutes to give me your BEST tip, what would it be?
Commit 100% and check your fear/insecurities at the door!
Learning a new skill/starting a new business will take time and elbow grease.
If you’re not willing to give yourself time and grace, this might not be for you.
If you are, the sky’s the limit in where this journey can take you!
Don’t focus on the worst possible outcome – focus instead on the best possible one. Likely you’ll shoot for the moon, but land on a few stars.
Why not YOU? Why not NOW?
Ready To Make Money As A Freelance Writer?
Freelance writing is something simple yet a very reliable way to make money on the side.
I’ve been working from home as a freelance writer since quite a few years and I gotta admit, it has become a great source of income for me.
If you want to start working from home as a freelance writer, then I highly recommend enrolling in Gina’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success course.
What was your main takeaway from this interview? Let me know in the comments. 🙂