Aspiration & Struggle
The Perks of Working From Home: An Unlikely Journey to a Blogging Empire
For many people, working from home full time is a desirable choice because it allows for a flexible lifestyle, including more time with your family, and can eliminate the stress and costs of commuting. Building a career this way, however, isn’t easy to pull off, and the journey tends to have many twists and turns. This was the case for Catherine (Cat) Alford, who has built a successful career as a blogger and freelance writer. Cat is a mother of twins, and working from home while taking care of her children illustrates the dedication she has to meet her goals.
Moving to the Caribbean
Cat writes about personal finance, so you might think she has a solid background in finance or marketing. Her passion in school was actually history, however; she envisioned having a long and successful career at a museum.
“I couldn’t imagine that I’d be doing the job I have now ten years earlier,” she says. But after her husband was accepted to a medical school program in the Caribbean, she had a choice to make: Stay home and further her career in history, or take a risk and spend a few years in the Caribbean. She chose the latter.
Finding a Career Fit
Living in the Caribbean made it difficult for Cat to find work that was relevant to her degree. “It’s hard to get a job in the Caribbean when your expertise is the American Civil War,” she says. “It’s not really a hot topic down there.”
Cat had to find some other way to make money, so she turned to writing, something she has always enjoyed doing. She’d started a blog about a year before her big move, and she began to pick up freelance projects as well. She put in four to five hours of writing work per day on top of her job at a Caribbean university.
“It was the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life, but I was extremely motivated,” she says.
Quitting the Day Job
Cat ended up doing so well with her blog and her work for clients that she eventually earned more from writing than from her day job—double the amount, in fact, although she admits that she “got burned out from all that working.” Then something even more amazing happened: Cat found out she was pregnant with twins. This strengthened her resolve to make a living from home; she wanted to raise her kids, but she didn’t want to give up working.
“I knew that with my level of income from my writing jobs and advertisers that I wouldn’t have to work a traditional job anymore. So when the semester was over, I left my job,” she explains. Quitting your day job to focus on working from home is a big leap, but it’s one Cat felt she was ready for. In a short period, Cat has built a successful personal blog, a freelance writing career, and a fast-growing coaching business.
“I’ve been self-employed for 16 months now, and it’s been an amazing ride,” she says of the experience. “Being self-employed is very different from getting steady paychecks, and the work can be grueling. However, I get to play with my kids in the middle of the day, take a vacation in the middle of the week, and have control over my own life and schedule.”
For more tips from Cat and information about her freelance coaching program, check out her personal blog, BudgetBlonde.