The older I get, the quicker life seems to fly by. Days seem like hours and a month can seem like a week sometimes. I still can’t believe we’re halfway through 2015.
When time flies like it has been these past few years, it’s common to get caught up in the daily happenings of life and forget about your underlying goal. Don’t forget what you’re shooting though.
What do you really want out of life? Why are you going to work for each day? And more important, are you investing in yourself and your future?
As a personal finance blogger and a pretty frugal person by nature, I’m usually the type of person to question a purchase or hold off on spending money on something for a while, but I’ve never ever tried to compromise investing in myself and my future.
I have all these dreams and aspirations and I want to be successful now, not when I’m 60. As I scroll down my Facebook timeline and see my peers having ‘the time of their lives’ spending money on tattoos, fancy dinners and new cars, I know that I’m shooting for a much bigger goal and I’d much rather invest in myself professionally and in my future.
Here are a few ways that I’ve been doing this.
I Found a Way to Go to College
College isn’t the end all be all anymore. A college degree can definitely increase your career opportunities and help you land a good paying job, but there are plenty of people who became successful without college degrees.
For me though, college was a must and the fall after high school graduation, I registered for classes at a local college, then transferred to a university. I knew I wanted to major in journalism all along, so I signed up for financial aid, applied for scholarships and got a second job.
Despite all my efforts to reduce the cost of college, I still took out student loans. I definitely could have done a better job with trying to graduate from college debt free, but $20,000 in student loans was actually worth it to me because I saw it as an investment to learn and experience everything I could about my industry through my professors and my coursework.
Two months after college, I was grateful to land a job in my career field that pretty much tripled my income. I know that not all college grads are able to land jobs right away, but I was determined to make my investment work for me and I’m so happy it did.
Starting a Blog
I know you’re probably wondering how I got from hustling through college and landing my ‘semi-dream job’ to starting a personal finance blog. While my college years truly transformed me and clarified the underlying goals I had for my life, I was at my lowest point financially during college.
I was extremely broke all the time, digging deeper into student loan debt and scared to death that I wasn’t going to become successful and reach my goals. I was blowing my money on crap that I thought would make me happy and while it did for a moment, the ‘great’ feeling never subsided.
Growing up, my family never really had much money despite me thinking we were well off when I was younger. My parents still live paycheck to paycheck and I’ve never really experienced the feeling of not struggling financially.
For a journalism class back in college, one of my assignments was to create a blog. I’ll never forget my professor who sent us a link to some of the best blogs of 2012 and low and behold, Get Rich Slowly was on the list. I checked out the blog and instantly became hooked.
Pretty much everything I wanted to know about personal finance was there. The writers on the blog were working toward changing their lifestyle and reaching financial freedom just like me. I binge read for days getting up-to-speed on credit, debt, saving etc. and even purchased some finance books and started making changes to my life. The blog I made in that class didn’t last, but I continued to educate myself about personal finance.
Last year I realized, even though I had a great full-time job, I still felt unfulfilled because I couldn’t write about things that were most important to me at work. I decided to invest some of money in starting a self-hosted blog of my own to document my personal finance journey and help others.
Starting my blog was one of the best things I could have done and while it is time-consuming to run and manage a blog, I’d spend hundreds of thousands of hours blogging throughout my lifetime just so I can maintain that feeling of fulfillment that I feel when I share helpful details and write about topics that I am truly passionate about.
Starting a blog helped me realize that college is only a starter package intended to help get you on the right path. Afterward, you can’t expect things to fall into your lap. You have to work hard to find what makes you happy and helps you earn more money.
Related: How Much Does it Cost to Run a Blog?
I Got a Writing Mentor/Coach
As I was setting this blog up late last year, I ran across another personal finance website called CatherineAlford.com run by Cat Alford. I started reading about her and quickly learned that she made a living from freelance writing.
SAY WHATTTTTTT?!?!?!?!?!? Almost all my life I was told that writing was a dying career and I would most likely never make any good money from writing professionally. The worst part is that I actually believed that advice and settled for the idea of earning less money for the rest of my life.
At first I definitely started scoping Cat out. She’s been blogging and working as a freelance writer for years and her freelance writing career really took off when she moved to the Caribbean with her husband so he could attend medical school there. Cat has two adorable 1-year-old twins and she supports her whole family off of her freelance writing income. The best part about her inspiring story, was that she remained humble and was eager to share what she learned and help others find success with freelance writing.
I saw that she was offering a course to help teach aspiring writers how to get new clients and become successful freelance writers. I jumped on the opportunity to get on her waiting list and starting saving up for the course. At that time, I had a little voice inside me that kept reminding me: When you run across someone successful who is willing to help you become successful as well, you pounce on that opportunity.
That’s exactly what I did. When you think about it, out of all the people that you’ll run across in life that have become successful at what they do, they all have one thing in common: working with a coach or mentor to get started on the path toward success.
Instead of waiting around for a $1 raise each year at my day job, I made the conscious decision to invest in Cat’s course and give myself a raise by establishing myself as a freelance writer and working from home.
Now I make extra income to help pay off my debt, build up my emergency fund and improve my financial situation. The best part is that I get to do it all from the comfort of my home so I don’t have to leave my son for extended hours and I can work while he’s sleep.
Some of the best things I learned from Cat during the course include:
- How to find good-paying clients and send the right pitches to land jobs
- How to price my services and organize my side hustle as a profitable business
- How to brush off rejection in this industry by remaining confident and fueling my drive with the help and support of the other writers in our group
Recently, Cat has revamped her course and it’s now called Get Paid to Write For Blogs. It’s a series of video modules aimed to help guide students step-by-step through the process of establishing a profitable career as a freelance writer. This course is extremely valuable and in addition to the lessons, Cat includes bonus videos from other successful freelance writers.
Cat answers all the common questions about freelance writing in this course and shares all her secrets and tips that helped her get published on sites like The Huffington Post and The Simple Dollar.
If you’re interested in investing in your future as a freelance writer, you can sign up for the course through my link here. My link is an affiliate link, but honestly, I’d be sharing information about her course even if it wasn’t. If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that I NEVER promote anything really, but I’d feel morally incorrect if I didn’t share information about something so crucial to my success with freelancing.
The course has paid for itself again and again over these past few months and my freelance writing business is continuing to grow.
What is Intentional Living?
Intentional living is living a lifestyle that’s in line with your values and beliefs and making conscious decisions that positively affect your future. It’s so important to keep learning, keep evolving and not to sell yourself short just because something costs money. Investing in yourself is all about moving forward in the right direction.
I’ve been practicing intentional living before I even knew it had a name. I believe it’s so important to realize that opportunities just don’t always fall into your lap. They certainly didn’t for me. I had to branch out and carefully plan and calculate each move I made whether it was the college I attended and how I planned to save money on tuition, starting a blog and even taking Cat’s course.
This post is a part of the Get Paid to Write for Blogs Course Launch! Get Paid to Write for Blogs is a brand new course created by Cat Alford of CatherineAlford.com. Cat makes a full-time income from writing for blogs, and this course will teach you how to do the same.
Stop Worrying About Money and Regain Control
Ready to regain control of your money? Take the first step with this free starter pack which includes:
- 2 Monthly Bill Calendar templates
- 1 'Start Paying Off Your Debt' Checklist
- 1 'Drastically Cut Your Expenses' Checklist