Today I’m honored to feature another breadwinning, six figure woman interview with Miranda Marquit. She responded to my call on the FinCon Facebook page for people to interview, and I’m certainly glad she did. Her story is a fascinating one, and everyone can learn a lot from her. She’s a single mom to her teenage son, has a history of running her own freelance business, and currently writes for Student Loan Hero remotely. She’s been able to design a flexible lifestyle that works for her and her son, and saves/invests automatically for the future while still leaving enough for a great life today. It’s all about balance!
Now let’s learn more about Miranda!
Tell us about yourself!
I’m a freelance writer and the Senior Writer at Student Loan Hero. I’m a single mom to my 15-year-old son. We live in Idaho Falls, ID. We do a lot of travel together (when my son has school breaks) and we enjoy outdoor activities like bike riding and camping. I love to read fantasy and science fiction, and enjoy practicing the piano and guitar. I’m as geeky as they come, and you can often find my son and me watching superhero movies or playing board games. CMO note – it’s like we’re the same person. Except for the guitar part.
Let’s get some details – how much money do you make, and how long did it take you to get there? And are you a millionaire or are you on the way?
I’ve been earning six figures for several years. It took me about five years to grow my freelance business to the point where I made six figures. Since starting with Student Loan Hero, I’ve dropped some freelance clients, but I still make six figures a year. I’m not sure if becoming a millionaire is my goal. I’ve set up a remote work situation where I have multiple streams of income, and I enjoy my life. I travel several times a year, am able to pay for my needs and many of my wants, as well as give to causes I believe in. I invest (including in tax-advantaged retirement accounts) and plan for the future, but my main goal is to design a lifestyle I like right now.
How did you get started in the workforce?
After finishing my master’s degree in journalism, I began applying for online writing jobs. I worked for content farms and catalogs on a freelance basis, and worked on other projects, building my portfolio. I also spent two hours a day looking for work on job boards and tweaking my resume. I did low-pay jobs, built a reputation, and persisted.
How did you get from where you started to where you are now?
My first big breaks came while I was covering science topics. I was able to leverage my past as a science major with my ability to write. That landed me a regular gig. Additionally, my ability to produce content quickly and accurately helped me build a reputation and receive referrals. I also used my network of contacts from journalism school to get occasional freelance pieces in magazines and other publications. In the end, I gravitated toward money, providing retirement and currency content for corporate blogs.
I moved to independent blogs, at one time staff-writing for 20 blogs. As my reputation improved, I returned to corporate blogging and started writing for company newsletters. I started my own blogs and podcasts, and started earning money through those ventures. Finally, a year after my husband asked for a divorce, I decided to take a remote job with Student Loan Hero. Preparing to help my son navigate high school left me concerned about freelancing. So, in a move that surprised my friends and family, I began working for a paycheck for the first time in 12 years. However, I still believe income diversity is important. I’m building my own properties and I continue to freelance on the side.
Where do you want to go in your career – and your financial life?
Right now, my big goal is to get my son through high school. It doesn’t seem glamorous, but it’s my main focus. For the most part, I’ve managed to create a life I enjoy. I volunteer, I travel with my son, I have a fulfilling job, and I get to build a business and work on invigorating projects. I would like to shift more resources to my businesses, though. While they are profitable, they aren’t reaching their potential. When I feel like I’m in a position to take more risks (after my son graduates high school), I hope to focus more on my businesses. I am making room for them now, to build them, but my divorce two years ago, and my need for stability for my son, make me more nervous than I used to be about taking big leaps of faith.
What’s the biggest challenge in being a breadwinning mom? What’s the best part?
- The biggest challenge is balancing work requirements with my son. Sometimes I put him off a bit to finish a project. Additionally, I travel for work a couple times a year, and that means he stays with his grandparents. The mom guilt is strong when I end up prioritizing work over my son. We get time together most days, and we have other ways to make memories, but that doesn’t make it much easier.
What do you see as the key to earning such a high salary?
- Being in a position to take advantage of opportunities. I’ve worked hard, but that hard work has gone toward helping me prepare for opportunities. When luck shows up and works in my favor, I’m ready for it. Being able to pair hard work with opportunity has been the key.
Have you ever experienced issues in the workforce because you’re a woman? What did you do in response?
I discovered a few years in that my male counterparts were being offered higher rates for their freelance articles. When I started raising my rates to match the market, I got push-back that my male counterparts said they were surprised to see. I kept pushing, though, seeking out new clients that were willing to pay my rates, and refusing to work with clients that didn’t see my value. It took time to get to that point, though, because sometimes I needed the lower-paying work to pay a bill. Once my reputation was established, though, and once I stuck more to my guns, I began earning more.
Chief Mom Officer is primarily a personal finance blog – tell us about your saving and investment strategy
I mainly write about money, and it has been great in helping me research different strategies to make the most of my resources. My main strategy has to do with making sure I have financial systems in place to live the life I want. I use automatic contributions to my charities. My retirement account is funded automatically. I also use taxable investment accounts for other goals. For example, I put money in a “travel” fund each month. It is made up of stock and bond index ETFs. When I want to go on a trip, I pay with a credit card (for the points) and then sell some of the investments to pay off the credit card. This allows me to accumulate points for a future trip, and it lets me be constantly saving up for travel along the way. I love indexing, and use it as a strategy to help me achieve most of my short-term and long-term goals.
What’s the top three pieces of advice you’d have for someone just starting out in the workforce, struggling with their career, or just looking to improve how they handle their money?
- Start by looking at your values. Figure out what matters to you so you can bring your spending in line with your priorities. Focus on what’s important, and reduce spending on what doesn’t matter to you.
- View money as a resource. It’s a means to an end — not the end itself. Instead, it can be a resource that helps you build the life you want. Once you know your values, you can set goals based on those values and start using your money to achieve those goals.
- Look for ways to boost your earning power on top of cutting costs. Too often we get stuck trying to cut. However, you get to the point where you can’t cut anymore. Increasing your income can help you take charge and get ahead.
Where can people connect with you?
Find me at PlantingMoneySeeds.com and StudentLoanHero.com. Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/plantingmoneyseeds/ and Twitter and Instagram: @MMarquit
CMO Here Again
Thanks so much to Miranda for stopping by to share her story! I love what we can learn from her story – set up multiple income streams to help reduce financial risk; save and invest automatically for the future but don’t forget to live life today; and make sure you get paid what you’re worth, even when others push back on you.
Be sure to leave Miranda a comment!
If you haven’t already, be sure to swing by my one-stop shop page for Breadwinning moms, featuring all my prior articles and interviews (plus some updates on prior interviewees!). Know someone that would be perfect for this series, or is that you? Hop over to my “Be Featured!” page to access the request form.
Be sure to follow my blog for more great posts via e-mail or WordPress, or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter and say hello! You can also check out what I’m buying or baking on Instagram, what I’m pinning on Pinterest, or the latest books I’m reading (or want to read) over on Goodreads.