Three years ago, Stephanie Trovato started her copywriting business as a side hustle to pay for day care. Today, she’s earning more than a quarter million dollars a year. Not everyone wants a business like that. But everyone can learn from someone who has built that business. We asked Steph to share how she did it, and this is what she told us:
All Work and No Play Makes Steph a Cranky Mom.
I could sit here and tell you that 2022 was an incredible year because my business brought in $338,000.
I could sit here and tell you that making that much money is life-changing.
I could sit here and tell you that being self-employed brings flexibility you don’t know you need until you have it.
And while all of that is true, it’s not what made 2022 such an incredible year.
To address the obvious, YES, I made a lot of money this year. I officially started my business in December 2019 with the hopes of making enough money to cover daycare expenses and then some. I had been working in a full-time marketing role and part-time as a waitress. I set my 2020 goal at $35,000, a modest yet attainable goal.
Well, we know what happened in 2020…
Furloughed and bored, I took it upon myself to dive into my business head first while navigating the uncharted waters of stay-at-home orders with a husband, a puppy, and a 3-year-old daughter. I officially quit my job in August of that year and rounded out my first year of business at $152,000.
I began year two, by niching down into fields I enjoy writing for and continued to pretend like I knew what I was doing while getting used to remote work life. By the end of 2021, my income hit $218,500.
We sold our house, bought a new house, and enjoyed life a bit more. But I WAS SO TIRED. I worked up until the last day of the year, we had been through a sh*t ton of ups and downs in our personal lives, and I still didn’t feel like I had any sense of what I was really doing or any firm grasp of my business. I was very much still in reactive mode — thank you, pandemic.
I started 2022 with some firm goals. No working on weekends or nights. Take time off without doing any work. Invest in myself and my business. Make more time for life. Those are all great to write out on paper, but actually working towards them is hard AF.
I started by investing in a high-level copywriter mastermind (Think Tank), and it was the mirror I didn’t know I needed. It allowed me to see my business from a different perspective—faults and all. It tore down the layers of insecurities, fluff, and unknowns to give me a harsh look at what my business was and what I wanted it to be (spoiler alert: they weren’t the same).
Some of the ways I worked towards these goals include: investing in Think Tank, taking two CEO self-retreats to focus on my business, firing almost all of my clients, leaving my laptop at home during vacations, no calls on Mondays or Fridays (unless I absolutely have to), developing systems and processes (I use Trello, but the tool doesn’t matter, it’s about the process), investing in private coaching with a mindset coach, waking up early, promising myself I would only work the hours I said I would, turning off notifications and deleting apps while on vacation, and so much more.
When I took my first CEO retreat in May, I spent three days focusing on my business, high-level goals, a list of dream clients, and measuring my progress through the year so far. It was eye-opening, and I left there feeling refreshed and ready for the next six months. From there, I really did the work. I focused on retainer clients, getting to work with teams I really enjoyed, and focusing on what I’m best at.
The months that followed were hard and filled with ups and downs. But they were also the months I’ve felt most content and consistent in my business. I hit numbers I never thought possible, had my routine nailed down for the most part, and was proud of my client roster. I’ve ended the year at $338,000, but in reality, SO MUCH MORE.
More important than the money is balance.
I learned that numbers aren’t my only source of inspiration. Yes, it’s great to make good money—I’m not going to tell you otherwise. But money doesn’t do much for you if you’re constantly stressed out, burnt out, and unable to enjoy the rest of your life.
This year has taught me balance. We took multiple family vacations (sans laptop), I was at the bus stop every morning and every afternoon, and I’ve stuck to the schedule I promised myself. This December, I sat back and realized just how much I’ve accomplished and how good I felt. At the end of 2021, I was so stressed and so concerned with hitting my numbers and getting my client work done. I didn’t give myself a moment to recognize my achievements or celebrate my wins.
So when December came around this year, I realized just how much of a shift I’ve made. I started the month with my second CEO retreat and took time to reflect on my notes from the previous retreat. And WOW, was I a different person just six months prior. It was then that I really saw how much I’ve grown as a person and a business owner. I went into the end of the year feeling content, truly grateful, and excited about my client projects and my business. I’ve learned to take time to celebrate wins of all sizes, give myself space when I’m not feeling my best, stop guilting myself for bad days, and put myself first as best as I can.
I could go on forever about how 2022 changed me for the better. A better business owner, a better mother, a better wife, and a better friend, but I’ll leave you with this. Making money is great. Setting goals is great. But doing the work is the only way to get to where you want to be. How you choose to do that is up to you. Be honest with yourself, be vulnerable, and be accepting of the change.
Are there days when I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing? Absolutely. But as someone who never planned on being a business owner and making this kind of money, I can tell you that it is possible. It’s not luck or chance. It’s about figuring out what will make you happy in life and then doing everything you can to get there.
And having Rob and Kira on your side doesn’t hurt.
Stephanie Trovato is a copywriter for SaaS, eCommerce and MarTech Brands. She specializes in blog posts and web copy. Her work has been featured on Oracle, EverNote, HubSpot and now The Copywriter Club blog.
If your copywriting business is consistently earning $4K (or more) and you’re ready to grow, you belong in The Copywriter Think Tank. If you’re not quite there yet, check out The Copywriter Accelerator.