An Interview With “F.I.T.S.” Series #freelancewriter Elna Cain

FITS Series Welcome ImageFITS Series Freelancer Elna Cain
Today Elna Cain is my F.I.T.S. (Freelancer In The Spotlight). Elna and I met by fluke. When she grabbed my blogging ebook, 20 Blog Post Must-Haves, she noticed my address was in Thunder Bay, the same city where she lives!

Elna reached out to me through social media, and we connected instantly. Now we meet regularly at Starbucks to discuss our highs and lows, our businesses, and our lives. (We sometimes annoy the other patrons, too… but we have fun doing it!)

Meet Elna Cain

During our last meeting, we took some pictures. Here they are:

Elna and me at Starbucks


Elna at Starbucks


Me at Starbucks


 Elna by fire

Today’s F.I.T.S. entry is a bit different from past ones. Elna let me interview her! What’s awesome is that she has some REALLY GREAT TIPS for you, too!

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Earn THOUSANDS A Month like “F.I.T.S.” Series #freelancewriter Gina Horkey

FITS Series Freelancer Gina HorkeyFITS Series Welcome Image
Today’s F.I.T.S. (Freelancer In The Spotlight) is Gina Horkey, creator of one of the best courses for new freelancers that I’ve come across! I met Gina through Elna Cain, a freelancer who lives in my city, and who created an equally awesome course called Write Your Way to Your First 1K. Elna and I regularly get together at Starbucks, and she will be featured in the F.I.T.S. series next month.

Before I turn things over to Gina, however, I want to ask you one question: Did you pick up your free gift yet? Get it when you subscribe to my author newsletter. (Yes, I’m shamelessly promoting my author website, folks!)

Now that my shameless self-promotion of my author site is out the way, please welcome Gina Horkey to center stage.

Gina Horkey headshot

Take it away, Gina!

How I Got Into Freelancing

Once upon a time I dreaded going to work each day.

I worked for almost a decade as a financial advisor and had a thing going. My husband had recently quit his job to become a stay-at-home dad to our two toddlers, I worked less than 10 miles from home, made a good salary and had a lot of future potential in my career.

Despite all that I had going for me, I felt unhappy and unfulfilled. I’m a doer, so when I notice a problem, typically I want to fix it ASAP. Working in finance was my first “real career.” I had wanted to quit before, but I don’t like feeling like a failure (and that’s what I imagined quitting would feel like).

Try, Try Again

So instead of immediately looking at alternative career paths, I tried to throw myself further into my work and look for ways to be happier in my current career. I enrolled in the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) program and proposed a plan to buy into the larger practice that I worked as a part of.

I went through and passed the exam for the first of six courses (it’s kind of like getting a Master’s degree, but specific to the world of personal finance) and started the second on investment planning. That’s when I realized this is NOT what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was good at it – I just wasn’t passionate about it.

I liked working with clients and helping them to achieve their goals, but it wasn’t enough to keep me there for the next 20-30 years. I wanted and needed more!

Trying Something New

Once I was finally honest with myself about what I really wanted, I gave myself permission to look into other options. I turned to my trusty friend Google and started a haphazard search that ultimately led me to Leaving Work Behind and Tom Ewer.

I really connected with Tom and his story about leaving his former career behind to become a successful freelance writer. I’ve always liked to write and have spent many daydreams wishing I was a published author. I’m fairly intelligent – why couldn’t I do this too?

So I submerged myself into the wonderful wide world of freelance writing. I took a course, launched my own website and blog and started pitching for jobs. Within two months, I had an unpaid writing gig writing for the Huffington Post and my first paying client. I was ecstatic!

All In

When I commit to something, I typically see it through. My friend Shannon once told me that I’m the only person that she knows that actually does what I say I want to. I took it as a compliment!

For example, I said I was going to run a full marathon – I did (I’m NOT a natural runner). I said I was going to write a book – I did (I just never got to the second draft). I said I was going to quit my job – I did (but I’m getting ahead of myself here).

As I mentioned, I have two toddlers and a wonderful husband. I also was working full-time (but only four days per week). I had people to answer to and that depended on me – financially, emotionally and who needed my attention – and lots of it!

So, I had to be extra diligent about my working schedule. I would get up at 4:30 in the morning (thankfully I had the foresight to auto-brew some coffee) and work on my freelance writing business for an hour or two each morning. I also got to work on Fridays and would get a babysitter from time to time on the weekend when I could (my husband was working weekends on a large building project for my parents at the time).

I was diligent, focused and made the most of the time that I had. My “why” for starting this whole writing business was so that I could continue to provide for my family (I’m the breadwinner) and try to find a better long-term career fit for me. And I wanted writing to be it!

Teaching What I’ve Learned

Within the first six months of launching my freelancing business, I was making over $4,000 per month. Someone suggested that I should start thinking about launching a product and at first I blew it off. Who was I to launch a product so soon?

But then I started to review the notes I had taken from the beginning of my new business. I realized that by documenting my journey, I had created a blueprint of sorts that could help someone else launch a successful freelance writing business. So I did what I did best – took action and started writing.

For the month of November, I wrote at least one new lesson each morning. What I had at the end of the month was a 30 day course to help aspiring writers launch a web-based freelance writing business.

Gina Horkey E-course cover

I decided to make it into a “take at your own pace” email course. Meaning you purchase and get lesson one delivered to your inbox immediately. You determine when to get the next lesson by hitting the “done with lesson” button at the bottom of each email. In essence, someone could take it in a month, in a few days or stretch it out longer if they’d like – it’s up to you!

[Tweet “New to #FreelanceWriting? Check out this step-by-step outline to getting started!”]

Where I’m at Now

I currently have a very diversified freelance business (in April I earned more than $7,500). Writing is still at the core of it, but I’m also a virtual assistant to two very successful webpreneurs, my course is doing well and I actively coach almost 20 other freelancers (writers, web designers/developers, editors and more!).

I love that my business is varied – it keeps it fresh and interesting. It can be challenging at times too, as there are a lot of irons in the fire at any given time and my attention is diverted. Honestly, I NEVER feel like my to do list is complete and find myself overwhelmed from time to time.

I try to keep it under control by planning my days and weeks as best I can (using the Pomodoro technique) and try to focus on the next right thing. Feelings of overwhelm can often lead to fear, freezing up and inaction. The key to overcoming fear lies in the answer to this ancient proverb:

“How do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time!”

So I urge you, keep moving forward, keep doing the next (hopefully right) thing and don’t let fear get the best of you. My mantra for the year (feel free to steal if it resonates with you) is:

Why Not  Me, Why Not Now?

Why not you, why not now? What have you got to lose?

Author Bio:

Gina Horkey 3D ebook cover


Gina Horkey is a writer for hire, with a background in personal finance. She also offers coaching services and really enjoys helping other freelancers gear up to quit their day jobs and take their side hustles full-time. Please stop by Horkey HandBook and say hello and download a free copy of 8 Tips to Start Your Freelance Career off on the Right Foot!


And don’t forget to grab her super-helpful course!

(She’ll give you the opportunity to make some money at the end of it, too!)





[Tweet “Learn how to make money as a #freelancewriter this year. Get set up here.”] [Tweet “Thanks @horkeyhandbook for creating this awesome #freelancing course!”]

Freelancing Tips From Kirsty Stuart #freelancingtips for #freelancers

Kirsty Stuart logo

Guilt often eats me up, and today is no exception.


Yesterday, I spent time with my niece, nephew, sister, brother-in-law, and parents. It was Family Day! 🙂

Family Day was originally created to give people time to spend with their families but it also provides a day off between New Years Day and Good Friday as they are approximately three months apart.


Because I’ve been making a few decisions regarding both of my websites and business, I’ve been too busy to prepare blog posts for you.

I even posted on my social media accounts I wasn’t going to publish a new post for you this week.

But, darn it, the guilt I felt just wouldn’t allow me to get away with NOT posting something.

So what I decided to do is simply share with you two great posts written by Kirsty Stuart, a freelance writer. If you’re not following her yet, I suggest you do so!

Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, too! 😉

Much-Needed Freelancing Tips

Here are the posts she wrote that are must-reads:

10 Tips on Marketing Yourself as a Freelance Writer Online

How to Use Pinterest to Promote Your Freelance Writing Business

Enjoy! 🙂

And don’t forget to share! 😉

Check out the freelancers in the “FITS” series:

Some Life Updates and Info about Freelancing from #freelancewriter Lorraine Reguly

An Interview With “F.I.T.S.” Series #freelancewriter Elna Cain

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Candace Simonson

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter DD, an Addicted-to-Heroin #Freelancer

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Alicia Rades

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Corinne Kerston

F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Ali Luke

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Joe Warnimont

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Brian Morris

F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Janine Ripper

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Harleena Singh

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Crystal Nay

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Christy Birmingham

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Tom Bentley

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter William Ballard

“F.I.T.S.” SERIES: Featuring #freelancewriter Deevra Norling

7 Reasons for the FITS Series on Wording Well (with results!)

If you want to raise your freelancing rates, read How to Ask for a Raise (and Get One!) from your #Freelancing Client.

If you want to know why you should be gathering testimonials you can use on your website, read about The Power of Client Testimonials.



7 Reasons for the FITS Series on Wording Well (with results!)


Lorraine_Reguly_ Sept_2014_photo

I decided to do the Freelancer In The Spotlight series for several reasons. 7, actually, to be exact.

7 Reasons Why I Created the FITS Series

You might be surprised at a few of these reasons! Be warned!

One, I wanted others to know that I wanted to offer them freelancing tips, but didn’t really have a lot to offer them from my own experience since I’m still “new” to this field.

Two, many people who subscribed to my newsletter indicated that they wanted to receive such tips.

Three, I wanted to take a break from blogging for a while and having others write posts for me seemed like a great way to do this. By inviting them to help me out, I was able to have a bit of a rest.

Four, I wanted to get some new readers to my blog and by having guests share their FITS post with their followers, that target audience was reached with minimal effort on my part.

Five, I wanted to experiment with the offer of free editing in exchange for a comment/backlink/etc. to find out who might become a future client of mine. (I’ve since revised the “requirements” for the “contest” to win free editing. Please read them, and enter the current contest… if you dare!)

Six, I wanted to strengthen the connections with other freelancers. I’m pleased that I’ve been able to feature:

Seven, I wanted to learn a few tips myself! 😉

What I Learned as a Result

In addition to the tips I picked up from the contributing freelancers, one of the things I learned as a result is that most people are happy to make a new connection.

Another is that the people I invited to be a part of the series were enthusiastic and excited at the prospect of having a “guest post” on my blog.

Reaching out to others is not difficult; it simply takes a bit of guts and a well-crafted invitation — something that is hard to say “no” to!

I also learned that I liked having a bit of a break from blogging. Sure, I had to approve the comments, but I didn’t reply to each and every one. I let the FITS do that instead!

Feedback Needed on The FITS Series

Do you like reading the FITS posts? Should I continue with them on a monthly basis? (So far, I plan to, publishing FITS posts on the first Monday of each month. Tomorrow’s featured freelancer is Deevra Norling.)

What are the types of things you still need to know about freelancing?

Tell me your thoughts on the FITS series in the comments. Ask questions, too, if you like.

I’m here to help.

But I need to how to help you.

Let me.

Give me feedback on this issue, please.