I want to share my story with you.
The short version is I went from lawyer to certified financial planner to success coach + entrepreneur. I turned my six figure student loan debt into a six figure business.
I did this knowing nothing about blogging or running a business. In fact, I always wanted to be a lawyer.
But everything changed when I started a blog.
The fact that blogging turned into my full time job is truly a testament to what is possible when you start a blog (side note – you can start a blog for $2.95/month with my link here).
Now I focus on helping creative, ambitious women master their mindset and make more money doing what they love.
Okay, here’s the long version of my story…
2004 – College
I went to college in 2004 at Wittenberg University.
My ACT score was low, but I wanted to go to law school, so I took my dad’s advice and went to his alma mater, Wittenberg University.
I wanted a smaller, liberal arts college to set me up for law school.
And it did. College was great, and I did really well.
I majored in political science, with minors in philosophy and theater.
I took out student loans for college. I didn’t really know anything about my debt all throughout school. I wasn’t an active part of the process.
When I took the LSAT to get into law school, I scored low.
I never doubted my ability to be a good lawyer. I just knew I had to get there, and I’d figure the rest out.
I had one of my favorite professors tell me that “maybe I wasn’t cut out for law school” based on my test score.
Thankfully, I had parents who told me I could be anything I wanted to be, so I thought this was laughable. I have always had deep-rooted confidence that I can do whatever I want and succeed at it, despite any obstacles.
So, I went to law school. And I was super excited about it.
2009 – Law School
I went to The University Of Dayton School Of Law for my first year of law school.
I did so well my first year, that I was in the top 14% of my class.
I decided to transfer to a top-tier law school. I transferred to The Ohio State University Moritz College Of Law.
During law school, I went back and forth between wanting to work for the government and a big law firm.
Ultimately, I decided a law firm fit my personality and work ethic better.
After law school, I didn’t have a job lined up but I wasn’t really that concerned. I knew I interviewed well and would get a good job pretty easily. My bigger concern was passing the Ohio bar exam.
For three months straight, I studied.
When the three-day exam came, I got sick that morning. But I went to take the test anyway.
I sat through the exam and made it out alive. 😉
A few months later when the results came out, I found out I passed.
I passed the Ohio bar and was officially a lawyer. It was great.
I got a job, just like I thought I would.
It was an entry-level attorney position at a pretty big law firm.
2012 – Lawyering + Student Loan Debt
Working at the first law firm I joined was okay. It wasn’t my dream job, but it was a really good start.
I met great people, networked a lot, and was at a really great firm.
About the same time, I started repaying my student loan debt.
I logged in to my accounts to get organized and had a huge surprise…
I was in a ton of student loan debt – $206k to be exact.
I was shocked and sort of pissed. I knew nothing about money, and I had no idea that I had this much debt.
I felt like I did everything right and was really confused at how this happened.
After the shock wore off, and after my “I’m going to be a rich lawyer” dreams were postponed, I decided I should probably learn about money.
I started listening to podcasts and reading personal finance books.
I learned a ton.
2014 – Starting A Blog
In 2014, I decided to start a blog about my debt so I could help other young, professional women with their money.
I knew absolutely nothing about blogging or business. I didn’t even read blogs!
But for whatever reason, it popped in my head to start a blog. So, that’s what I did.
I launched theFinancegirl.com with the idea that I would give simple, digestible financial advice to young professional women. I also wanted to talk about personal development, too.
I immediately started networking with other bloggers because I’m really social and extroverted, so this was natural for me to do.
I saw that some bloggers were making money blogging – something I didn’t know was possible.
Excited about this idea, I decided to start freelance writing. I didn’t have experience, but I went for it anyways.
And it worked.
I started making pretty good money from my blog while continuing to work full time as an attorney.
I made $8k my first year blogging (this was mostly from freelance writing).
Early 2015 – A New Job + Blog Growth
After three years at my first lawyer job, I got another job working at a new firm in a different practice area.
It was a promotion, and I was making more money, so I started putting everything I could toward my student loan debt.
I thought I was going to stop blogging, actually (no one really knows this!). I thought my new job would be amazing, and I’d no longer need it or want to blog.
Turns out this wasn’t the case – at all.
After a few months, I ended up hating the job so much.
It wasn’t just the hours, which were totally consuming and demanding, but it was the stress of the work during those hours.
It was horrible for me.
I didn’t know I had a limit to my hustle until I took this job. Think Wolf Of Wall Street but for law firms.
I found out pretty quickly law firm life was not for me.
Because I was really liking finance and blogging so much, I looked for ways to break into the finance industry and decided on becoming a financial planner.
I thought helping people manage money would be a great alternative to law.
I also wanted the expertise for my blog. If I was going to be a finance blogger, I wanted to know the technical side of what I was talking about.
I started building up my blog income and freelance writing clients.
I started writing for The Huffington Post, Forbes, and some other big sites.
I also started learning the basics of affiliate marketing from the strategy I learned in Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing.
Because I knew I wanted to quit law, I was thinking about ways to make more money. I was still committed to paying off my debt, and I knew quitting law for financial planning would mean a huge pay cut.
My plan was to work as a financial planner and grow my business income on the side to supplement the cut in salary. Then, use that money to repay my student loan debt.
Summer 2015 – Quitting Law + Becoming A Financial Planner
I quit my career as a lawyer in June 2015, and I started working as a financial planner. I started over in this new career as an entry level hire, making half what I made as an attorney.
Financially, it was tough.
But mentally, it was totally worth it.
I was happier. Much happier.
The financial planning firm I got into was great. It was a fee only registered investment advisory firm that managed over $1B in assets under management.
I learned from some the best advisors in the industry.
Because of the pay cut, I downsized and moved into what I like to refer to as a jail. It was an older apartment that looked like a prison from the outside.
Here’s a look…
Despite the outside, the inside was actually super cute, and it was in walking distance to all my favorite things, so it was worth it to me.
I continued to grow my blog during this time.
My firm knew about my blog and it had to approve all my blog posts through their compliance department. This was hard for both of us – me and the firm – because of the time commitment and their need to be over-involved in my blog due to the Securities And Exchange Commission regulations.
Fall 2015 – FinCon + Winning A Blogging Award
That year, I attended FinCon – a financial planning conference for bloggers.
I was super excited and nervous to go. As soon as I got there, it was immediately better than I expected in so many ways.
I met all my “online friends.”
The best part was feeling so understood. There is nothing better than feeling like you’re a part of a community of the right people. The people who get you and understand you.
Not only that, but I won an award for Best New Personal Finance Blog.
It was awesome.
2016 – Passing The CFP Exam + Quitting Freelance Writing
At the same time my blog was growing, I was growing in my career, too.
I took the certified financial planner exam to become a CFP in the spring of 2016.
I failed the first time I took the exam, which totally sucked.
It was so hard to hear people say things like “but you passed the bar exam – how did this happen?!”
I sat for the exam again in the summer of 2016. This time, I passed the test.
After the test, I felt relieved. I was done with the formal education and test taking that I needed.
I could finally focus on my blog more without distractions.
I made the decision to quit freelance writing. I even quit writing for Forbes.
I realized if I wanted to make more money, I had to go all in on my own business instead of helping other people build theirs (which is basically what freelance writing is).
That year – my second year blogging – I made about $30k blogging. This included freelance writing, display advertising, and affiliate marketing.
It was pretty awesome for me to see that I was actually creating a solid income online while working full time when I knew absolutely nothing about how to do it just two years prior.
I went to FinCon in the fall of 2016, and it was amazing.
2017 – Starting YouTube Channel + Six Figure Blogger
In 2017, I continued to grow my blog.
I was featured in CNBC, which was really cool.
I decided to start a YouTube channel because I found that I personally connected with people so much more if I saw them on video.
I spent a lot of time on YouTube learning the ins and outs of using the platform. This led to finding Create and Go.
I emailed Lauren, one of the co-founder’s of Create and Go, and asked her if she thought someone making $3k-ish per month would still be a good fit for the Six Figure Blogger course they advertised. She said yes.
I took a chance and bought Six Figure Blogger.
I went through the course, and was so blown away with what I learned.
Finally, I found a course that told me exactly how to create a monetization strategy for my business.
I slowly started to implement everything I learned.
I started by improving my affiliate marketing strategy to be more advanced and focused on email marketing.
I started writing my first digital product to sell on my blog – an eBook.
Creating a product, running a blog, posting YouTube videos, and maintaining a life outside my blog and career became a juggling act. But it was one that was worth it for me because I saw the income potential and was committed to growing my business.
Fall 2017 – A Tough Time + FinCon
In October 2017, my world changed.
I thought I was going out of town for the weekend to get engaged.
Instead, the guy said he couldn’t get engaged and left. I never talked to him again.
At the time, it felt like it was the worst thing happening.
Somehow, I went to FinCon a few weeks later.
Since FinCon was in Dallas that year, I connected with Lauren and Alex from Create and Go. This was the start of new friendships and one of the reasons why I continue to go to conferences. Getting around people doing what you do is so powerful.
January 2018 – Making $45K Blogging + My First eBook
By the end of 2017, I made $45k blogging, which led me to publish my first eBook – How I Made $45K Blogging In 1 Year While Working Full Time.
About at the same time, I started noticing my day job as a financial planner wasn’t unfolding the way I imagined.
My firm started not liking that I had a side hustle. Their position was that you can only be committed to one thing at a time, so I needed to choose. They didn’t tell me I had to quit blogging, but they made it clear it wasn’t a long-term option to do both.
I didn’t agree with this. My thinking was they paid me a certain amount, and I needed to make a lot more than that amount to repay my debt, which is what my side business was for. I was being resourceful and liked doing both.
About that time, I decided to go all in on my business.
I started taking my blog super seriously.
It reminded me of law school. A season of total commitment. And I was okay with that.
February 2018 – The Best Time Of My Life + Marketing
As the year went on, I dove head first into personal development.
I read books and listened to a ton of podcasts.
One podcast was The Life Coach School podcast.
I listened to over 200 episodes in a matter of weeks.
My life instantly was better. My mindset improved, my happiness improved, my productivity improved.
Truly, I can’t put into words the type of growth I experienced during the first quarter of 2018. It was amazing.
Because I completely changed my life and became this new and improved version of myself, everything improved in my life.
My work, my blog, my relationships with friends – everything was just better.
This led to creating 2 more eBooks in 3 weeks total this time.
- Budget Spreadsheet Bundle (budget templates)
- Dream Year: How To Achieve Your #1 Goal This Year And Feel Good Doing It (goal setting book)
After finishing The Life Coach School podcast, I started listening to the I Love Marketing podcast from the very beginning and it resulted in a huge shift in my business.
I finally started to understand marketing and how to run a business.
I started refocusing my blog toward my new theme – “design your dream life.”
I decided to go to Traffic and Conversion Summit with Lauren from Create and Go to improve my business strategies even more.
And that changed everything.
March 2018 – T+C Summit + The Decision
I flew to San Diego for the 2018 Traffic and Conversion Summit, and I met Lauren there.
I was also going to sign a new lease to renew my apartment in Columbus while I was there (I was just waiting for them to send it over to me via email).
I talked to Lauren and other entrepreneurs about my job, side hustling, my student loan debt, and my living situation.
They unanimously said I should not renew my lease. They said I needed to work on my business full time and should leave Ohio.
I was immediately concerned about my decision to renew my lease. I felt it in my heart like these people were right. They had the results in their lives that I wanted in mine. I knew they knew what they were talking about.
I’m a big believer in getting around people doing what you want to be doing and taking advice from people who have the results in their life that you want in yours.
I made the decision in California – while at the conference – that I was going to quit my job, blog full time, and move out of Ohio.
This was a huge decision that I didn’t take lightly, but I knew I needed to make it while out of town so that my mind wasn’t in my environment where I was most comfortable (following your dreams is not comfortable!).
So, that’s what I did. I decided to quit being a financial planner and run my business full time.
I also asked my cousin if I could move in with her for a couple months until I build my business more. That way, it wouldn’t be so much change all at once – quitting, full time business, and moving out of state.
She agreed, which was amazing.
April 2018 – Quitting + Moving In With My Cousin
With the decision made to quit my job, I got to work on my first blogging course.
I got super serious about my business on a whole new level. I was getting up at 4AM to work on my course before work. I was also working on it during lunch in my car.
Within six weeks, I created my first course – Design Your Dream Life Academy.
It was awesome.
The best part is how many people have told me how much they love the course, and how they’re using it in their lives to improve their mindset, productivity, time management, and goal setting.
I made $5k in 5 days from my launch, which was super exciting.
I knew my commitment was to grow my business and that clarity combined with a plan was everything.
I put in my notice at my job and finished working there a month later.
Quitting was scary, but I knew it was the right decision, so I didn’t let the fear stop me.
My financial planning firm was super supportive. I really appreciated that.
I was on the So Money podcast around this time, too. It’s always a treat to do podcast interviews, and I’m super thankful to be invited to do them.
Two weeks later, I put everything I owned in storage and moved in with my cousin a few miles away.
I was officially a full time business owner. Super fun.
May 2018 – Becoming An Online Entrepreneur, A New Opportunity, Celebrating Success
I hit the ground running and loved working as an online entrepreneur.
I also had a super cool thing happen.
I couldn’t stop thinking about The Life Coach School. I wanted to be trained by Brooke so I could hone in on my personal development skills and learn how to coach people (I have always seen my career go down the path similar to Tony Robbins).
The problem was that her coaching program was $18,000.
Since I’m committed to getting out of student loan debt, I couldn’t justify the price to myself. But I knew in my heart I had to take this program.
So, I pitched her ideas of how I could work for her to earn my way into the course.
At first, she said no.
I accepted without asking any details. I immediately went all in.
I started working for The Life Coach School on content projects (writing ebooks, editing content, etc.). I did this part time for the entire summer (20-25 hours per week).
Everything I implemented with Six Figure Blogger and that I learned through my marketing podcasts was started to pay off in really big ways.
I finally hit six figure blogger status by making over $8,333 per month.
I had a few months where I made over $14k per month.
To celebrate being the first success story from Six Figure Blogger, Alex and Lauren took me to Fort Lauderdale because those are the kind of people they are – super generous and amazing.
While we were there, we connected with Michelle Schroeder (Making Sense of Cents) and her husband, Wes Gardner. I cannot tell you how awesome it is to be around other bloggers and have them as friends.
It was a blogger vacay for the books. Super fun.
I also had a fantastic interview on the She Did It Her Way podcast that I’ve received SO much positive feedback from (more than any interview I’ve ever done!).
I continued to focus on learning marketing, and I read two books by Russell Brunson that have been complete game changers in my business. The books are…
- Dot Com Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online
- Expert Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Creating a Mass Movement of People Who Will Pay for Your Advice
After that, I launched my second course, Blog With A Full Time Job, and I made $10k in 5 days! It’s everything I know about blogging, and I’m super glad I can help people start their own blogs now and avoid all the mistakes I made in the beginning.
The feedback from the course has been amazing.
I’m so glad I can help so many people start sides hustles and make money blogging so much faster than I did.
I joined a coworking space with one of my favorite humans ever, Miriam Ballesteros, and enjoyed every bit of being an entrepreneur this summer.
July 2018 – Making $20k!
I had a record-breaking month in July 2018!
It felt surreal at the time.
It was super exciting personally to reach this level of income, but more also, I felt like I was helping sooo many people with their goals and businesses, having sold so many courses.
Knowing that I’m serving my audience and making a difference in their lives is more rewarding than anything.
I am so grateful to hit this milestone.
Entrepreneurship is a wild ride. It’s the most challenging and most rewarding.
At the end of August and beginning of September, I went to six days of coach training at The Life Coach School. I learned how to coach while I was there.
It was an absolutely incredible experience.
The very next week, I moved to Chicago! I’ve been living the city life since then, and I’m totally loving it.
I went to FinCon 2018 the week after that (it was the busiest September of my life!). I got to see so many good friends. It was a blast.
I love my business, and I’m so excited for the future.
After I complete all the additional coach training requirements, I’ll get certified as a Life Coach in December. Then as part of the program, I get ongoing business training for the next year.
I also plan to launch a monthly group coaching program in the next year.
I want to help as many people as possible.
I’m focusing on helping creative, ambitious women master their mindset and make more money doing what they love.
I’m also launching a podcast called Design Your Dream Life.
I’m seriously excited for what’s next!
That is it for now! That’s my story. It’s ongoing and ever-evolving.
I’d love to hear from you! You can email me here.
Want to join over 20k+ creative, ambitious woman? Add your email to the form below, and I’ll send you weekly tips on how to master your mindset and make money online!