I quit my steady job and started freelance writing career

Four years ago, I was knee deep in homework, incident reports, and data related to the 110 seventh graders I taught in Baltimore City.
Burned out and overworked, I clocked 90 minutes to and from work each day in addition to the 13-plus hours that teaching, lesson planning, administrative meetings, and parent contact required.
I was earning a decent living for a 25-year-old at $45,000 a year, but I had to grab the corners of my wooden desk each morning and pray for the strength to get through the day.
As any inner city teacher can attest, your workday is often filled with strange and sometimes violent events that become the norm for you. It can take a horrific toll on your mental stamina. After earning a master’s degree and completing half the coursework for my PhD in public policy, I was a teacher who had no interest in teaching anymore.
One day, my car was hit by a madman on North Avenue in Baltimore, who then chased me down the street and tried to follow me to work. Combined with the exhaustion and teaching five hours straight without a break each day, I realized I never wanted to step foot there again.
After leaving Baltimore, I accepted an office job as a marketing associate while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. As an academic and tutor for numerous students, I had always been told I was a good writer. After Googling “how to become a freelance writer,” I submitted a few bids on the job board for Elance. My goal was to score some extra cash to help support me and my boyfriend, an officer in the US Navy.
Where that experience took me is something I could have never imagined. That first year, I supplemented the $40,000 from my office job with $12,000 in freelance jobs, mostly blogging for attorneys and writing lesson plans for educational companies. Elance profiled me as a success story, setting up a photo shoot in DC to chronicle my experience for their homepage, sitting on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. I had cracked the code to working for myself and getting paid to do something I loved – writing.
Not feeling confident enough to jump ship, I spent nights and weekends working for my clients for 12 months before launching out on my own, carefully analyzing income patterns to determine if this was viable. During that time period, I earned about $50,000 from freelance projects and recognized the serious potential of taking this full time.
Pennington now earns six figures a year.
Laura Pennington
In August of 2013, I started working strictly for myself. Over the course of the next 18 months, some incredible things happened. I landed a $50,000 contract to do editing work and surpassed the six figure mark annually.
I took four months mostly off, working less than 10 hours per week during the “slow season” for freelance writing. I’ve discovered that from November through the end of January is when a lot of people are busy, celebrating the holidays, or traveling. This flexible schedule allowed me to study for and pass my doctoral qualifying exams for my public policy degree, recover from surgery, and spend six weeks on vacation.
All of a sudden, I could take breaks and days off when I wanted. I could pay off the $3,000 of credit card debt I had from my master’s degree. I was finally able to stop driving my grandmother’s 1984 Chevy Cavalier and buy a new car. I could quit working at 2:00 if I was done for the day. I had zero office drama or coworkers to complain about. I successfully took all of the skills I had from academia, teaching, and working in corporate America to put together marketing campaigns and content for clients every corner of the globe. From websites for Australian motorcycle fanatics to America’s biggest personal injury law firms, you can find my ghostwritten work all over the internet.
The experience prompted many of my friends (and not surprisingly, some of the teachers I used to work with who had since fled the profession) to ask how I did it. So I launched two coaching programs, an introductory course for $1,997
and Six Figure Writing Secrets for $3,997
, teaching other people exactly how to build part-time and full-time writing enterprises from the comfort of their own homes.
It is liberating to help other people work towards their dreams and realize their full potential as freelance writers. So far, I’ve walked nearly a dozen people through these programs, allowing several of my clients to leave their day jobs and pursue writing full time. It’s also allowed me to scale my hours per week to between 20-25 and have an additional revenue stream directly from my courses.
While the financial freedom is great, it’s truly the fact that I get to call the shots and structure my life around my needs that makes this so exciting.
Laura Pennington is a PhD candidate, entrepreneur, and writing coach. You can find her at sixfigurewritingsecrets.com

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