About two years ago, I had a lightbulb moment. My cousins were in town with their son and my husband and I had taken them out to show them downtown Nashville.

We went all out – a juicy steak dinner, a stop at one on the many singer/songwriter bars, and then on to Broadway to honky tonk till the cows came home. (It was actually us that went home…we aren’t as young as we used to be!)

Back to the lightbulb: my cousin’s wife had just left her job to be a full-time influencer. I HAD to know more! We chatted more about it that night and then over DM’s in Instagram for a few months after that. I still reach out to her when I’m stuck because she is so far ahead of me that she has BEEN THERE.

Getting Started Blogging

As the two of them were growing their followings, I started learning more about the world of online business and blogging. My first purchase was a domain name and website hosting for a mom blog that I ended up doing away with earlier this year. (No regrets, in case you haven’t read that post yet!)

A few months later, the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit from Ultimate Bundles went on sale. I snapped it up immediately because I want to know ALL THE THINGS. I was able to learn so much from this one purchase that it was almost overwhelming because I didn’t actually have a plan.

I was working full-time as an HR Specialist at my corporate job, trying to fit in time for blogging and learning about blogging along with all of the already hectic “life stuff” like being a mom, making sure we had dinner each night, and dealing with my newly diagnosed chronic illness.

When Life Started To Fall Apart

Yep, that’s right. The same month I purchased the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit, ready to go full-speed ahead at my brand new side hustle, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. It sucked. But I have always been an overachiever and thought I could handle it. Handle the stress, handle the workload, and still come out on top. It didn’t go quite like I had imagined.

I was in tears every morning trying to get myself to work while in constant pain.

I was in tears trying to explain to my boss yet again why I was late.

I was in tears trying to navigate rush hour traffic to pick up my girls at two different schools before the after-care closed for the day.

In the midst of navigating daily life, I was also constantly undergoing lab tests, exams, and seeming endless new medicine combos to try and get my fibromyalgia under control (and to make sure I wasn’t dealing with another condition).

I was falling apart at the seams.

One particular Sunday when we went grocery shopping, I came home incredibly sore and tired. More than usual. But it was the next morning that my life would change forever. I couldn’t get out of bed. Literally.

This Is Not The End

I knew when I called my boss that it would not be well received but I couldn’t walk so going to work wasn’t exactly an option. I had begun what would be a 3-week flare-up of my fibromyalgia and endured a ton of tests and submitted paperwork back and forth with work and my doctor to try and get FMLA leave approved (even though I already had been approved for intermittent leave under ADA).

The day after Valentine’s I received a call that they had terminated my employment the day before for inadequate paperwork and not communicating regularly regarding updates to my condition. I had communicated with them 3 business days prior and my doctor was out of town due to a death in the family but whatever.

I had been so sick that I couldn’t deal with tracking down the things they needed from me, and after I was fired I was too depressed to fight. I didn’t get to use my extended sick leave, my insurance was terminated as of the last day I worked (which meant none of those doctor visits and tests were covered), and they contested my unemployment.

I felt defeated, betrayed, and lost. I had been pushing myself SO HARD, and trying to prove to my boss that having fibromyalgia didn’t make me a lousy employee. Except it did.

I don’t remember anything from the two weeks after being fired. Nothing. Except that two days later, my flare was over. I could’ve gone back to work. But it was too late.

Good Things Will Come My Way

I had some really awesome cheerleaders to help pull me out of my funk and realize that good things really would come my way. My family was amazing, but there was also a group of women online who really encouraged me during this difficult time. In January I had joined a group called The Society of Women Winning Online, led by one of my blogging mentors – Jen Snyder. She also has a free Facebook group that gives incredible advice and support.

The relationships I built in this group and Jen’s motivating and inspiring advice helped me realize that I really could make a living online and NOT deal with the fear of losing my job again.

Sure, I wanted to work from home…eventually. But I got fired. Fired from my dream job. And I believed it was THE END.

But I have built a business online.

Cultivated clients, colleagues, and friends.

Continued to do what I knew (HR) and added in things that I love (business coaching, blogging).

My Business Brilliance Bootcamp has over 500 students enrolled, and it’s increasing each day. I’m even planning a challenge soon to encourage even more to enroll!

I Tried Everything, And It Worked

So what’s the big secret to taking your side hustle to a full-time income? Don’t stop.

My blog wasn’t getting traffic quickly enough, so under Jen’s advice, I started offering services. I did SEO, coaching, sales page design – you name it, I did it.

I was writing reviews on Capterra for Amazon gift cards. I was participating in research studies on User Testing and User Interviews. Everything felt so randomly pieced together but it was enough money to keep us afloat.

And then I started wondering if I could make money doing HR online. I mean, that was what I was doing before. It’s what I had certifications in. So why hadn’t I thought of it sooner?

I joined Upwork and started putting in bids for proposals that interested me. I got my first client within a week, and she is still with me to this day. I started making enough money to branch out and try even more things online.

I built my first paid course and it was even included in the 2018 Genius Blogger’s Toolkit – an amazing thing for getting my name out there and helping more people by sharing what I know about the strategy side of building a business.

I continued to put in proposals on Upwork and was making about half of my previous income within a few months.

As of January 2019, one year after I last worked in my corporate “dream job,” I have fully replaced my previous salary and am on track to make even more this month. I also had my first paid sponsored post in January as an Instagram micro-influencer.

It was certainly a hard year, but it has been worth it. My health has improved, I get to spend more time with my kids and my family, and I am able to do work I love every single day.

My blog itself isn’t making me this money yet, but my business is. And there’s a big difference. That’s what I want to teach. What I want to share with my audience.

You can use what you already know to build a business online and expand on it as you gain new knowledge and skills. I can’t wait to help you succeed!

Haylee Galloway

4 Comments on How I Took My Business From A Side Hustle To Full-Time Income

  1. Hi Haylee- just discovered your blog, nice to meet you! Love what I’ve read so far and a lot of what you’re doing I hope to be doing one day too. Maybe we will become friends. 😊

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