Holy Sh!t, I’m Self-Employed as a Solopreneur!


Solopreneur ImageHoly sh!t, guys.

Things got REAL a little over two weeks ago. That’s when I put in my notice at my day job and officially made the leap.

My side business is now simply my business. I’m self-employed as a solopreneur! It’s my new career. My work. And it feels absolutely amazing.

But let me back up for a moment. I know at the beginning of May, after a meltdown on my end, that I pulled myself together and determined that I would keep going. I would continue to work on my business on the side as I continued to work at my day job as long as possible.

I had every intention of doing just that. “Extra money” coming in every month was wonderful, and I knew it was helping us to get ahead financially.

But this came at a cost. In January, my work weeks went from about 40 hours to 60. As my side business ramped up, so did the time commitment, the effort I had to give and the energy I had to expend to keep up.

When I Knew I Needed to Make the Switch

For the last six months, I haven’t gone for a run. I’ve barely gone outside. I essentially shut out friends and family — although not intentionally, or for negative reasons — and 9 days out of 10, my schedule went a little something like this:

  1. Wake up.
  2. Take a cup of yogurt to eat at work as my computer powers on.
  3. Work.
  4. Come home.
  5. Work.
  6. Feel a rush of happy/the sudden realization that I’m starving as the sweetest husband in the entire world brings dinner to my office.
  7. Work.
  8. Go to bed.

My work load grew exponentially with my income. My work hours climbed to 80 hours, then, for most of April and May, 90 hours.

I really liked the extra money coming in and I was motivated to try and stick it out so we could keep having cash to use to further ourselves along to our financial goals.

But I also really missed my life. As the quote goes, my adventures in side hustles and growing my own business had taught me I truly could do anything. But there was no way I could do everything.

Making the Decision to Become Self-Employed and Run My Own Business Full-Time

Something had to give. I had to make a choice. So I chose my dream. I chose happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment. I chose a fresh journey, a new opportunity, and exciting experiences.

This wasn’t something I went into lightly. Even after I had made up my mind, I felt guilty. I thought things like, you just need to work harder! Your happiness isn’t worth giving up providing two incomes.

Ouch. That’s tough stuff, and writing out that thought here really makes it very obvious to me how cruel that inner voice can be.

I did have other thoughts that (mostly) silenced that awful voice in the back of my mind, thoughts that made me feel more confident that I was indeed choosing the right path.

My support group — friends, family, clients, and colleagues — all came from extremely different places, backgrounds, and experiences. They all had something valuable to say and gave me food for thought.

And yet, despite the variety, they all agreed on one thing: whatever my next move was, if I wanted to continue elevating my career and make progress I could be proud of, I needed to make a change and transition out of my day job.

So why not take on this adventure? Why not try working for myself and doing my own thing? I needed to move on, so this presented an excellent opportunity to give my all to a dream and make it work, make it a sustainable, legitimate reality.

Put that way, it seemed crazy not to jump on this chance. I believe in making your own opportunities. That’s what I’ve tried to do to get to this point, and it’s what I’ll continue to do as I learn, grow, and evolve in my career and my business.

My Life as a Solopreneur

I put in my notice on May 15th and my last official day in the office was yesterday, June 3rd.

I’m officially self-employed as a solopreneur. Says so on LinkedIn and Facebook and everything.

I run a content management and writing services business, and I specialize in helping busy entrepreneurs build better businesses for themselves. I handle all the back-end, administrative, and content needs for businesses so that biz owners can focus on what’s truly important to them: their clients.

It’s exciting and it’s terrifying and it’s a lot of other things all at once. But mostly it’s good stuff. I’m happy. Excited. Proud. Eager.

And so grateful to all those who helped make this happen. To those who gave me a chance to prove myself and to let my abilities shine. To those who allowed me the opportunity to grow my business by helping to make theirs a little better, a little easier to run.

To those who encouraged me the whole way. To those who extended their friendship, who celebrated every win with me and were genuinely excited and happy for me.

I have been absolutely blown away by the amount of support and love I’ve been shown by people I admire, by people who are so crazy-talented and fantastic at what they do, by people I’m endlessly appreciative of — it’s amazing that any of these people take even a moment out of their busy days to be happy on my behalf, to extend a helping hand, or to simply be there for me to talk to (or, in some cases, just talk at!).

My life as a solopreneur has only begun, but I already know it is going to be nothing less than one hell of an adventure and an experience.

Thank you to every single person who helped me write this post. I cannot properly express how much you all mean to me.

Oh, yeah, and don’t forget — if anyone needs a writer or a content manager, I think you know who to contact ;)

Have questions about becoming a solopreneur, or about how I officially made the leap to self-employment? Don’t hesitate to ask in the comments!


65 Responses

    • Kali Hawlk

      June 5, 2014 1:05 pm

      You hit the nail on the head with that equal measures thing. So very true!
      Thanks for the positivity and well-wishes. Very much appreciated.

  1. Charlotte

    June 4, 2014 7:25 am

    Congratulations, Kali!! It’s been so inspiring watching you build your business over the past few months, seems like it happened so quickly! You’re an extremely talented writer and smart business woman and I have no doubt you’ll succeed at your new endeavour. Keep up the GREAT work! xo

    • Kali Hawlk

      June 5, 2014 1:06 pm

      Quickly is right!! It’s been crazy but in a super good way. I SO appreciate all your support, Charlotte. Your comments and kind words always brighten my day, and it means a lot. Cheers!

  2. E.M.

    June 4, 2014 7:44 am

    Congratulations, I’m so happy for you!! I’m so glad you chose to focus on your happiness, too. While extra money is great, making too many sacrifices isn’t! I hope you get to enjoy having some free time now =).

    • Kali Hawlk

      June 5, 2014 1:08 pm

      Yay, thanks girl! You’re the best! I really appreciate you helping get me through last month — no way I could have done it without you. Cheers!

  3. Shannon @ Financially Blonde

    June 4, 2014 8:03 am

    SO excited for your Kali!!! You have had this as your goal for a while now and sometimes you just have to go with your heart and what your gut is telling you to do. It takes balls to make the leap, but you are now on the amazing roller coaster ride of self-employment. Congrats!!

    • Kali Hawlk

      June 5, 2014 1:12 pm

      Thank you so so much, Shannon! Big hugs to you — I’ve appreciated all your kind, encouraging, and supportive words you’ve provided for me here. It’s all meant a lot and I love knowing you’re in my corner!

  4. Andrew Kirschner

    June 4, 2014 8:42 am

    Wow, what a GREAT post, Kali! Your adventure hits so close to home in striking detail. It sounds like you have an unwavering support system, which is so so SO important to solopreneur success. I can’t wait to see how you do! :-)

    • Kali Hawlk

      June 5, 2014 1:14 pm

      Thanks so much, Andrew! You’re absolutely right, my support system continuously blows my mind with how incredible and wonderful they are. And I agree, that is critical to success as a solopreneur. I owe a whole lot to everyone around me.

      And hey, I’m pretty excited to see how I do, too! Hopefully it will be mostly good news but I do hope to share that and the bad, and the ugly. I learned a lot from watching others so I hope I can do the same for someone else wanting to grow their own side business, too.

    • Kali Hawlk

      June 5, 2014 1:18 pm

      Thanks, Will!

      Yes, I felt TREMENDOUS pressure to match my day job income with my side business before I quit/took my own work full-time. Even though I could afford to take a pay cut, I didn’t feel comfortable switching until I knew my own work was A. sustainable and B. netting me enough to match my take-home pay from my day job. I waited until my side income was consistently MORE than my day job so that after accounting for higher taxes/loss of benefits, I would be taking home the same amount of money at a minimum. I’m slightly above that mark right now and hope to earn more now that I can focus solely on my own endeavors.

      • Will @ First Quarter Finance

        June 5, 2014 1:29 pm

        Holy cow, that’s awesome!!! Not having to go to another job plus not having to commute… your income will skyrocket!

        Amazing. Inspiring post. I’m definitely keeping a closer watch on your life now. Creeper alert, indeed. :)

  5. Tonya@Budget and the Beach

    June 4, 2014 9:37 am

    Congratulations Kali!!! I knew it was coming but I wasn’t sure when. I need to get to your email too. Anyway, 90 hours is insane, even for someone who is young and maybe can handle that. I sure can’t! I’m sure you will love it and things will go great. You have the drive!

    • Kali Hawlk

      June 5, 2014 1:20 pm

      Thank you Tonya!! I definitely couldn’t handle it for longer than I did it. I was going nuts and was just so DONE with everything. When I was walking around going “eff this, eff that, eff that person over there” I knew it was time to make a change ;)

      I appreciate the encouraging words as always — and now I owe you an email!!

  6. Melanie @ My Alternate Life

    June 4, 2014 9:46 am

    Kali, I am so proud of you! You are an amazing young woman with so much drive and tenacity. I’m happy your dream is coming true, and you can rest. 90 hours/week is insane! Try to rest and recover this week, then go conquer the world and report back, ok?

    • Kali Hawlk

      June 5, 2014 1:21 pm

      Definitely taking a little bit of time to just do nothing this week :) It’s been freakin’ AWESOME to be able to cut back on the work and I’m excited about getting a new routine in place.

      Thank you, thank you, thank you for your wonderful comment. I can’t tell you how much your kind words mean to me.

  7. Girl Meets Debt

    June 4, 2014 12:33 pm

    Congrats Kali! I knew it early on that you were going to do big things with your blog and I’m so happy I was right. :) You are going to kill it now that it’s your full time gig!

    • Kali Hawlk

      June 5, 2014 1:24 pm

      Aw, gosh, that means the world to me! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you rooting for me and being so kind and complimentary from the beginning. Big hugs your way, girl!

  8. anna

    June 4, 2014 3:18 pm

    Congratulations, Kali!! You are definitely very motivated and ambitious that it emanates through your writing, so I know you’ll continue to be successful!

  9. Melissa

    June 4, 2014 10:04 pm

    Congrats Kali!! I can’t wait to hear more about your journey! Any advice you can share about approaching clients for social media management? I just can’t wrap my head around it!

    • Kali Hawlk

      June 5, 2014 1:26 pm

      Thanks, Melissa! Short answer to your question: do some research, find the brands that are totally sucking it up at social media, and contact them directly to provide the solution they need. Give them a quick rundown of how you can make things better/easier for them — they’ll be impressed that you know your stuff.

    • Kali Hawlk

      June 9, 2014 10:53 pm

      Thanks girl — I’m so excited for you as well! Please keep me up-to-date on your experience with being self-employed and working on Young Finances full-time :)

  10. Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr

    June 9, 2014 6:52 pm

    Congratulations, Kali! This is HUGE news! I’m so proud of you and I know you’ll do magnificent. I am exhausted just looking at your old schedule. I like money but I figure that if I don’t have the time to enjoy it, then something not quite right. You’re working so hard and you deserve to be happy at the same time. It sounds like now you’ll be able to do both. Can’t wait to hear more about your new successful life as a solopreneur.

  11. Daniel

    June 10, 2014 10:10 pm

    Congratulations! That’s an exciting transition to finally be making. Looking forward to hearing how much better your daily schedule gets in your new career!

  12. KK @ Student Debt Survivor

    June 13, 2014 11:54 pm

    Awesome news! You work so hard, I know big things are coming your way. I know some day I’ll want to work for myself. Working for “the man” is pretty tiring and frustrating sometimes, but there are also some benefits (literal and figurative). When the tiring outweighs the benefits, I’ll make the transition to working for myself :-)


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