Welcome to another awesome Student Success Story here at Horkey HandBook!
Why do we share our students’ stories? Glad you asked!
It’s because we love featuring people who took the 30 Days or Less courses and actually got serious about working on their freelance career. Every story in the series is a little bit different from the others, and they’re all real journeys with unique insight and wisdom.
In this post we’ll hear from Kelly Huckaby, a successful VA who’s built a business around doing something she loves. Kelly’s ‘why’ for her business and how she’s making it work are truly inspiring…
Ready to hear Kelly’s story? Let’s do it!
Name: Kelly Huckaby
Website: The HOME Writer
Course enrollment date: April 1st, 2016 (I’m not sure if that’s good or bad!)
Business launch date: April 20th, 2016
Date hired by first client: June 3rd, 2016
Hours worked per week: about 12
Top three niches: Non-fiction book editing, blog editing, Facebook managing
Hi, Kelly! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
In a prior life, I was a writer. And then I had children and became a homeschooling mom, so writing was pushed to the back burner of life.
It’s now almost twenty years later and I’m ready to start working again, but my brain seems to have shifted gears. I do better with editing than with writing now, although I still love to write.
What about your business?
I market myself as a content editor and social media manager.
I can’t seem to read anything without finding a typo, so I’m putting that skill to use for my clients. I love Facebook, so I’m using that to my advantage as well.
Besides editing manuscripts (preferably non-fiction), I do blog posts: edit the content, set up SEO, add Twitter blurbs, make sure all the graphics, tags and categories are right.
I also schedule Facebook posts within a client’s page (used to use HootSuite, but found that Facebook doesn’t give those posts as much weight).
How did you decide to start freelancing online?
In September 2014, my husband was diagnosed with a chronic illness (CIDP, to be exact). We spent all of 2015 learning to live our new normal, which isn’t really normal and which we haven’t learned to do very well.
In early 2016, we talked about me getting a job to help pay the medical bills. (Each of his “treatments” costs just under $90K, and he gets them each month – yes, we have GREAT insurance!)
I knew I couldn’t get a job outside of the house because my husband is physically weak from his illness at times. He works from home, so I need to be there with him, in case he needs anything.
How many employers would give me a week off each month?! Not many, so I knew I’d have to be self-employed. We also knew that I would need to have a skill set polished and marketable in case anything happened to him.
How did you find 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success?
I had found a site that posts various work-from-home jobs, and Gina’s course about being a Virtual Assistant popped up in the newsletter one week. Having previously worked as an administrative assistant at my church, I knew I could do much of what a VA does.
After visiting Horkey HandBook and taking a couple of Gina’s free courses, I knew this was what I wanted to do.
How long did it take you to earn your course investment back?
Once I landed my second client – about ten days after my first client – the course was paid for and I had made a profit.
What was your biggest concern before you started your business?
#1 – Taxes. Would this be an extra stress at tax time, like my previous online book selling business?
#2 (It was a very close second!) – Phone calls. Would I need to make any? (I’m not a phone person … just let me type!)
What was the most challenging part about starting your business?
Bookkeeping is by far my weakest area. And phone calls. But, thankfully, most of my business is done through email.
How did you overcome this?
I printed out a ledger of sorts and used it like a checkbook to keep track of my income and expenses.
As for the phone calls, when my son moved out, I set up a second office in his old room because it’s much quieter in there! My office is directly below my husband’s office and connected by a spiral staircase. Because of the staircase, there’s no way to block sound between the offices, and with my husband being on the phone all day – he’s tech support – it’s hard for me to make calls in my office without his voice in the background. Moving to another bedroom to work has been wonderful!
What has been your biggest success since you’ve started?
Probably the time I had a misunderstanding with a client. I chose to remain calm and worded my emails very carefully so as to not sound threatening.
After receiving an email that stated I would not be paid (I always get half up front, so this was the second payment), I received another one five minutes later from PayPal showing I had received the money. To this day, I have no idea what happened between the client and I, as we’ve not spoken since. I’m just happy I was paid!
What has been your best paying project so far?
A non-fiction book manuscript about saving marriages. Not only was this the best monetary job so far, but I learned a lot just by reading the book. (Thankfully, my marriage has never been in jeopardy.)
What are you looking forward to in your business?
I’m looking forward to more social media work and learning more about SEO. Words fascinate me, and I love to play with them. I’m planning on adding “SEO Specialist” to my toolkit within the next 18 months.
What are you working on right now?
Besides my weekly VA client, my three non-fiction book clients have each reached out to me to edit a second book. So neat to know they have such confidence in me! I’m always in the mood to edit, whether it’s a manuscript or a blog post.
Kelly Huckaby is the HOME Writer, a virtual assistant dedicated to helping, organizing, managing, and encouraging her clients. You can usually find her at her keyboard, editing something — or on Facebook, managing various groups and pages. Learn more about how she can assist you in your business by visiting her website or contact her through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.