Home Office
Home Office

I Freelanced My Way to Freedom

by Torrey Holman 2 years ago in career

Where There Is a Will

I Freelanced My Way to Freedom

My introduction to making my living completely online began in 1996. I was a single mother and struggling to make ends meet and win "Mother of the Year" award amongst my friends and family. I never got that award from anyone, just a lot of opinions on what I should have done, what I needed to be doing, etc., etc., but in putting in the time and overtime of being a parent, especially a single one, I learned one valuable lesson- where there is a will, there is a way.

I don't even remember when or how the first survey came, or from what company. I do remember back then, it was all handwritten. I'd filled out a survey and mailed it back in. Little did I know, that event would be the turning point in my life.


A nine-month-old baby. Freezing temperatures. Negative bank account. And a diaper rash. Yeah, you could say it wasn't a good day. My one-bedroom apartment was just one apartment length from the section mailbox, but there was a pool directly in front of my door. I mean literally. You walked out of my door onto the sidewalk and immediately into a five-feet deep pool. Whose idea was it to build like that?

This frigid day, as I said, I had no money, a nine-month-old baby, who had for the first time developed a diaper rash. Not only that, but did I mention I was out of diapers? I worked temp agencies and had been on a three-day assignment the previous week. It was now Friday, payday, and I needed that check—little though it were—like I needed air to breathe. I had to check my mailbox. It would be there. It just had to be. But how was I going to get my mail? I was a brand new mother for the first time and leaving my daughter for any amount of time unattended was simply not acceptable. But I needed that check. I could have run out to the mailbox area, but what if something happened just that quickly? I would never have forgiven myself. Crying. I could hear her crying. She was so uncomfortable. What was I to do? I went to the bedroom to the low sofa bed on which she lay and removed the last remaining barrier between my daughter's bottom and a dry bed. Did I mention I also had no w/d hookups in the house? If she decided to go at that moment, we'd be sleeping on the carpeted floor night, that was for sure. The crying continued. I need ointment, and diapers. I NEED THAT CHECK! Getting up off the bed to go into the living room, I noticed something, with the bedroom door open, I could see straight to the front door. If it were open, I'd be able to see straight to the mailbox area. That was it. I quickly put on my shoes and grabbed a heavy jacket. Turning up the heat, I placed my daughter smack dab in the middle of the bed at the head so she'd not be able to get down before I came back. Opening the bedroom door I ran to and out the front door, around the pool and to the mailbox. Looking back to check I could see that my daughter was still on the bed, although she was trying to climb onto the back of the sofa headboard. Hurry! Opening the mailbox, was an envelope I recognized from the agency—my check! But also another small flat box—what could it be? Running back inside my apartment and quickly turning off the heat I sat on the end of the sofa bed and began to cry. Now that I had my check in hand, I had another problem. How to get to the store. It was too cold to walk, but I had no other means of getting there. Public transportation had a stop right out front of my complex, but that would mean we'd have to wait in the cold, and, my daughter didn't have another diaper! So I sat and thought for a few moments, and prayed.

The Box

After nearly 15 minutes, I picked up the mail I'd laid on the end of the bed, might as well see what that week's take-home earnings looked like, and see what was in the box. Opening the letter containing my check I gave a gasp of surprise. The check was close to $260 more than I'd expected. Quickly counting my hours and then multiplying them by my hourly pay, I couldn't figure out where the extra had come from. I noticed a slip of paper in the envelope and pulling it out I read “Congratulations! You've earned a bonus sign up! Refer family and friends to us and earn more! Thanks for being a valuable contributor to 'XYZ Staffing.'” Yes!!! I'd forgotten all about that little perk, and it couldn't come at a better time! I grabbed the box and began to open it when I felt small hands touching me in my back. My daughter was trying to climb up on me. I tore open the top of the box and pulled out something encased in plastic. A diaper?? No! Really? Yes! A single diaper, made for kiddie pools! I knew without a shadow of a doubt, God loved us! Looking back into the box I pulled out a copy of the handwritten survey answers I'd mailed in and a lone crisp $5 bill. I knew from that moment on, no matter how long it took, or what I had to do, I was going to keep answering surveys and looking for other survey companies to sign up with.

Persistence Paid Off

That is where it began. I never looked back. Throughout the years I'd leave work and go home, grab my daughter, get on the lone computer located in the business center, and using the spotty connection that was available at that time, seek out every survey company I could find and sign up. Some years after that I purchased a computer of my own and began taking surveys online every day, usually all day, because my daughter had started school but she was sickly. I was always being called away from a job by her school or daycare, so I lost the ability to work for many of the temp agencies I'd signed up with and worked for. Paid surveys were the only income I had coming in. Before long, it was other things and sites, writing/blogging, data entry, HITS, PTCS; you name it, I've probably done it. I did go back to traditional employment for a while, but after busting my butt working from home in what could hardly be called a "job," I knew I had it in me to make a living completely online.

It's been 22 years now, my still "only" child celebrating just a day ago, and guess what? I went on to earning my Bachelor's and then my Master's, all over the internet. I have worked for several start-ups and big businesses from home, and now work for a photography studio start-up based in another state—completely from the comfort of my own bedroom, on my laptop. So if you're thinking you can't make it, think again!

Where there is a will, there is a way! If I can, I know you can!

How does it work?
Read next: Why Denny's Is the Perfect Starter Job for a Cook
Torrey Holman

Online freelancer with a masters in IT, mother to 1, oldest of 8. I enjoy dabbling in writing, website building, personal finances, cooking, music,and most recently, physical fitness. If I can think it, I can write it.

See all posts by Torrey Holman