It’s official! After 7 years of side hustling, I’ve taken my web design and digital marketing business full-time. When I began this journey I was fresh out of college and had a sales/marketing position at a manufacturing company. I started doing a few side projects for family friends and people in my neighborhood but had no intent of turning these side projects into a full-time gig.
As time progressed, I continued to gain experience and clients. I thought that this was a great part-time job. Not only did it give me extra money, but I could do it all in my pj’s on the couch at night and on the weekends!
In 2011, I started getting on a financial plan that would one day lead me to the freedom I have today. I paid off a few credit cards and then my car in about 3 years. Any spare dollar that I could get my hands on went to pay down my debt. I sold things on Craigslist and kept my purchases to the bare minimum. I had “no life” for over 3 years. Instead of going out with friends or going shopping, I did free things like worked on my side business, cooked meals at home, and went on hikes. Looking back it was worth all the sacrifice. It was not easy, but it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever accomplished.
After paying off my debt in 2014, I started aggressively saving money. I wanted financial freedom and wanted it BADLY. I wanted the freedom of career options, the feeling of not owing anyone anything, the ability to make the choices that were best for me, and to never feel held back by my money situation. These last few years, I was saving more than 60% of my full-time job income. While this may seem extreme to some, I don’t feel like I missed out on anything and I have my whole life ahead of me to live the way I want to.
I am by no means rolling in cash. I’m not to the point where I never have to earn another dollar for the rest of my life, but I do have many more options. Currently, my only bills are my apartment, utilities, food, insurance, and gas for my car. It opens up a whole world of possibilities when you are no longer making payments on things you don’t need.
This isn’t all about money, but for me, it was a huge part of my journey to full-time freelancing. I don’t think I would have been able to accomplish this goal with the money habits and lack of contentment I once had. There is something that shifts in the mind when you realize that buying things will never make you happy.
I grew my business slowly and invested some of my profits back into LR Design in order to buy better equipment, software, accounting systems, and cool things that make my work easier for me and for my clients. I never used debt to grow my business faster, which ultimately lead me to make better decisions. I enjoy the fact that my business was built on a bootstrap budget. It feels good to grow something like this all on your own!
It was a record year in 2016, and that is what gave me the final push to take the plunge and leave full-time work. Now is as good of a time as any!
“Never lose hope of your dreams. No matter what it is, just keep going. Fall and get back up because that is what success is made out of. “
Thanks for Reading,