Welcome to the series Smart Success Stories! I want to introduce you to Gina Horkey. She is rockin’ the millennial work at home mom life. Gina is the owner of Horkey Handbook and making a living for her family online! She has consistently been increasing her income ever since she started her business in 2014 most recently earning over $20,000 in July!
Her story is inspiring and encouraging to me as a work at home mom starting a new blog! Check out her interview below.
1. Please give us a little background on yourself, how you started Horkey Handbook (what gave you the courage to start your own business), and how it’s going for you right now.
Hi, I’m Gina Horkey – a self-identified married, millennial mama to two toddlers from Minnesota.
After a decade in personal finance (as a support person and advisor myself), I decided that’s not what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and started looking into alternative career options via Google. Long story short, I happened upon freelance writing for the web, gave it a try and added virtual assistant services a few months later.
Oh and I was the breadwinner, so I had to build this new business on the side of my full-time job to make sure it was viable before putting in my notice and leaving work behind.
It’s going well. I just published August’s income report and was happy to see my gross income come in at almost $23k, despite a rocky start to the month.
2. What exactly do you offer with Horkey Handbook. Can you explain this more for those who are unfamiliar with the product/services?
Sure! Horkey HandBook started as a portfolio of writing samples as I was building my freelance writing career, but grew into a place where I advise new or aspiring freelancers on how to start and grow a new online business.
I have resources on everything from breaking into freelance writing or virtual assistant work, to setting up a new, branded blog and website to productivity tips and tutorials on how to create better blog graphics. Basically anything and everything you can think of to get started doing business online and growing it from there!
3. What is the major benefit of using Horkey Handbook courses?
I’m ALL about action.
I don’t want to just teach you some stuff and leave you on your merry way. I want to teach you some really cool stuff (but only what you need to know, not everything that exists on a certain topic) and then I want to show you how to put it into action and keep you accountable to getting it done.
Because let’s face it, learning is great, but you won’t get anywhere until you start doing stuff. And it’s okay to make mistakes. Turns out that’s how you learn even faster!
4. What stage would you say your business is at and how long did it take you to get to this point?
Hrm… interesting question!
Let’s call Horkey HandBook a “sophomore” in online business. I’ve been blogging since 2010, but didn’t start working online until early 2014. I like to think I know A LOT, but I’m sure there’s always more to learn!
One thing I’ve done well though is surrounded myself with people much smarter and much more experienced than me. I think it’s shortened my learning curve immensely. And I’ve also taken my fair share of online courses and have had a slew of paid advisors/mentors/coaches, whatever you want to call them.
5. How does social media & blogging play a role in your business?
I probably wouldn’t have a business without them!
Blogging is how I first grew an audience and how I now communicate to them. Social media is a tool to start new relationships and get the word out. Blogging at least once every week (I only missed this once in the last 2.5 years) is what’s really helped me to grow my business – consistency is key!
6. What is your favorite part of owning your own business?
Unlimited income potential and flexibility of schedule!
I love being able to work harder (or smarter) and make more money. I also enjoy not having to ask for a day off or to schedule a doctor’s appointment!
This last winter (and this coming one too) we spent six weeks in South Padre Island, Texas. Right now I’m on a two week road trip with my family. We wouldn’t be able to do either of these things without the aforementioned perks!
7. What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about starting a business?
It’s the same advice I give EVERY TIME. 😉
Just get started. I’m serious, take Nike to heart and JUST.DO.IT! You won’t know if you don’t try, right? And you’ll NEVER be 100% ready. So dive in, start learning, start doing (again, nothing happens without action) and figure stuff out as you go!
8. Give us your favorite place to go for business advice books/websites/podcasts.
Here are my three current favorites:
- The Smart Passive Income podcast (Pat’s podcast episodes are my jam when running!)
- Anything You Want by Derek Sivers (I listened to this via Audible in one weekend painting my new office!)
- Videofruit’s blog (Bryan Harris’ really in-depth stuff will blow your mind!)
Bio: Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama to two precocious toddlers from Minnesota. Additionally, she’s a professional writer and online business marketing consultant with a decade of experience in the financial services industry. Gina enjoys helping other freelancers gear up to quit their day jobs and take their side hustles full-time via her website, Horkey HandBook.